Name Your Price

I like to help people, and trust that most people are reasonable and fair.

Download and try the software for zero fee, if find the software useful then please return and make a suitable payment. Full copyright applies to the software unless a license is identified. The license is typically either GPL, MIT, or Creative Commons. Such licenses do not mean the software is free from fee, it means the end-users have certain rights (freedoms) and also responsibilities.

Conrad created most workbooks typically starting on a Friday evening and working over the weekend, and having something useful by Monday (roughly 25 hours). From that point the workbooks and other software developed further, on an as needs basis.

Simple straightforward calculation worksheets simply created whilst working through design calculations as and when needed: basically takes as long to do the calculations with a spreadsheet, as it does to do the calculations with pencil, paper and a pocket calculator. It can be faster, given that many design problems involve trial and error, and at least two trials required. With an electronic workbook (eWorkbook), only need to write out the calculation sequence once, then experiment with parameters, reach the result, then print out and issue the calculations for the final trial.

So as a starting point, consider how long would take to do the calculations with pencil, paper and pocket calculator. This time multiplied by your hourly rate is approximately the current market value for the calculations. The market value for doing the calculations is going to decrease, the market value for knowing what calculations to do, when and why is the task with the real value. This is important because the 40 hours to do calculations can be reduced to 5 minutes.

Estimating Time

The effort required to use a eWorkbook is variable. If you use the workbook daily on repetitive projects, even though the workbook may contain a hundred or more parameters, when moving from project to project may only be changing around 10 parameters. Working through the workbook may thus take 5 minutes, no matter if the handwritten calculations took 40 hours or 400 hours. However if the workbook is only used occasionally it could take 2 hours or more reading through the calculations to refresh memory of relevance. Whilst if looking at a eWorkbook for the first time it could take 5 hours or more to test and validate the calculations.

For further consideration I have estimated that it takes around 5 seconds per used cell. It is for short formulae, and a setout which consists of 3 cells per variable: first for the variable name, second for the value and third for the units. It ignores long formula, descriptions and explanations (these can be estimated from typing speeds in words/minute or characters/minute). {NB: My time estimate is only based on multiple trials of setting up calculation of the formula M=w*L^2/8. Which requires a block of 9 cells. A cell formula with more than 2 cell references would take longer. Since formula can contain function names, operators and constants, a rough estimate is 5/2=2.5 seconds/item. Where an item comprises a single cell address and a single operator }

The maximum number of cells I have across an A4 sheet is 18, and therefore permits a maximum of 6 variables. Using 10 point text the maximum rows is typically 65 (refer to worksheet for Kleinlogel formula), thus maximum of 6×65=390 variables/page. Scientific notation typically requires two cells be merged thus only 4 variables across a page. Long variable names also require two or more cells, and if descriptions provided then only get 1 variable per row. Thus a single variable takes from 5×3=15 seconds, to 5×18=90 seconds to input. Or 1.5 minutes per row, or 1.5×66=99 minutes/page. All of which ignores the time required to work out the actual content of the page. {NB: Assumption is: if the contents of a single cell spreads across multiple cells, then the time to input in one cell is near equivalent to time to input portion of total contents in each cell the content overlaps.}

Assuming a simple vertical format, and no more than 10 variables per formula, including the resultant, also assume single blank line between calculations. Then 66/11= 6 calculations/page, with total of 60 variables at 15 seconds each gives total of 15 minutes/page.

For simple calculations there is no need for forethought or prior study, typing the calculations up is second nature, and the estimates above should be close. For other situations there is significant prior study and forethought required before start calculations, the total time required therefore would be from 2 to 5 times those estimated above.

If you are a student then now is a good time to start keeping track of how long takes to do various calculations and other tasks. For example 1 hour tutorial with 5 questions: thus expect average of no more than 12 minutes each. Or review the books 6 minute solutions published for the American FE/PE exams. From the structural solutions book, I’d estimate about 12 minutes to 18 minutes per A4 typed page.

Consider Why You Need and What You Intend on Doing?

The above has provided a few methods for estimating the time required to set up calculations in a spreadsheet. It ignores the time to write VBA code, build user interfaces, and add condition checking.

Suppliers and Manufacturers

If you are a supplier or manufacturer of manufactured structural products (MSP’s), then a significant amount of effort is required to transform the available spreadsheets into product configurators. You should probably be looking and MRP, MRP II, MIS and ERP systems first, before considering structural calculations driving a custom product configuration. Using spreadsheets is a relatively inefficient approach, however we can assist in integrating the calculations into other more suitable software. Contact

Designers and Engineers

If a designer (engineer or otherwise), then expect you have already estimated time to do the calculations for the job you are currently working on. Easiest and fastest approach would be to open MS Excel and get typing. My workbooks would only be suitable if seeking a quick answer to something with which you are fully conversant. If not fully conversant, as in do not know the required calculation sequence, do not know where to start, as is common with AS4600, then in the category of student.


If you are a student then likely to have problems with my spreadsheets as I do not present the detail of every calculation, much of the calculation is hidden behind the scenes in VBA code, or cell formula. I don’t present every formula, as I don’t believe it is necessary for day to day calculations, and presentation of such can drown out the required decision variables.

Teachers and Educators

For teachers this can be seen as a good thing, as the student is presented with a blackbox, which they have to figure out. For which purpose ExcelCalcs XLC could be useful with respect to cell formula, but not with respect to VBA functions. Anycase with XLC the formula in a cell can be presented alongside for checking. If not interested in fancy formatting then can write own VBA function to present cell formula.


The way I would check blackbox software is with calculations in MS Excel, thus by the time I have done the checking I wouldn’t need the software, unless it provided something more than presentation of the calculations. An example would be a AS4100/AS4600 design module built into structural analysis software.

Why are You Looking for Software?

So why are you looking for software, more importantly why are you looking for spreadsheets? This is especially important if working for a large consultancy, or manufacturing organisation because the bigger question to ask, is why doesn’t the business have such software already: as in the main they have had more than 20 years in which to set up their own electronic calculation sheets?

If the answer is that your past calculations are in MathCAD then try SMath. If past calculations in MatLAB then try, Octave, Scilab, or FreeMat or switch to Python. If haven’t been using spreadsheets in the past then probably don’t want to in the future.

Alternatively convert the MatLAB code to VBA/LoB and then use MS Excel or LibreOffice Calc to present the report. Can also try writing VBA code to automatically convert source code into Excel worksheet calculations. Yet another alternative is convert MS Excel worksheet into VBA or other high level programming/application language.

Since my workbooks are dependent on a VBA technical library, the spreadsheets can be bypassed altogether, and so can convert the functions for use in other calculation environments, or use in stand alone applications. However the required sequence of calculations is typically set out in a worksheet not VBA code, so a stand alone application would require converting the worksheet.

Where as if you a designer, you can just call the appropriate functions in the required sequence in your own MS Excel worksheet and present a report your own way. For example the following article (Using Technical Library and Database for Cold-Formed Steel Design to AS4600), presents various worksheets for calculations to AS4600 just using the technical library.

Uniqueness of Calculations: Personal Style

The point is I don’t want everybody else’s calculations looking like my calculations, so I haven’t released the workbooks with the intent that they can just be downloaded, numbers stuffed into them, and a report printed out to be included in a project. The workbooks are presented as a foundation on which people can build workbooks best suited to their needs.

Product Configurators

My interest is the use of calculations to drive decisions, and getting those calculations behind the scenes in product configurators or other decision tools: for which purpose pretty reports is of secondary consideration, on screen dashboards are more important.

So once again download the workbooks at zero fee, try them out, and if find them useful, return and make a suitable payment. The license for the software is either: GPL, MIT, or Creative Commons, if not identified then full copyright applies.


If you need the software customising, or calculations integrating into something else then please contact. {Email is preferred means of first contact}