Time series for SOFA'95 diskette

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Instructions for use

AS in the past two years, The State of Food and Agriculture 1995 includes a computer diskette with time series data for about 150 countries, along with FAOSTAT TS software for access to and display of the time series.


FAOSTAT TS software provides quick and easy access to structured annual time series databases. Even inexperienced computer users can use FAOSTAT TS. No spreadsheet, graphics or database program is required. FAOSTAT TS is fully menu-driven, so there are no commands to learn. Users can browse through and print graphs and tables, plot multiline graphs, fit trend lines and export data for use in other programs.

FAOSTAT TS is trilingual
(English, French, Spanish) and uses a standard menu format.

FAOSTAT TS software is in the public domain and may be freely distributed. The data files accompanying the software, however, are under FAO Copyright and users must attribute FAO as the source. FAO can provide only very limited support to users of this software and the accompanying data and cannot assist users who modify the software or data files. FAO disclaims all warrants of fitness of the software or the data for a particular use.

Technical requirements

FAOSTAT TS softvvare requires an IBM or compatible PC with a hard disk, DOS 3.0 or higher, 300 KB of available RAM and graphics capability. Graphics support is provided for all common graphics adapters(VGA, EGA, M CGA, CGA and Hercules monochromes.

FAOSTAT TS will print graphs on Epson dot matrix, Hewlett-Packard and compatible laser printers. To use

FAOSTAT TS with other printers, users can enable their own graphics printing utility before starting the program. One such utility is GRAPHICS. COM in DOS 2.0 or later releases.

Because of its use of DOS graphics modes, if FAOSTAT TS is run under MS-Windows or OS/2, it should be set to run in a full screen DOS session.


Before running FAOSTAT TS you must install the software and data files on your hard disk. Installation is automated through the INSTALL. BAT utility on the diskette.

A C:\SOFA95 directory is created and, after installation, you will already be in this directory.


The use of a command-line option may help. You may try to start FAOSTAT TS with the -E parameter to disable its use of expanded memory (type SOFA95 -E) You may also force the use of a particular graphics or text mode by typing its name as a parameter (for example, -EGA would force the use of EGA mode graphics).

Language choices

Navigating the menus

The main menu bar consists of FILE, DATA, GRAPH, TABLE and HELP menus. Most menu options are disabled until you open a data file.

After you have made a menu selection, the menu will redraw and highlight a possible next choice'.

Key Action
F1 - Help: Displays context sensitive help text.
ESC - Escape: Backs out of the current menu choice or exits the graph or table currently displayed.
ALT+N - Notes: Displays text notes associated with the current data file, if the text file is available. This text may be edited. Notes will not appear while a graph is displayed.

ALT+X, ALT+Q - Exit: Exits FAOSTAT TS immediately, without prompting.


Opening a data file

If a current data file is open, loading in a new file will return FAOSTAT TS to its defaults (time trend, no trend line, no user-specified units or scalar). Only one file can be loaded at a time.

Once you have made a file selection, all the menu selections are activated.

Selecting a data series

Use the DATA menu to select or modify a data series or to fit a statistical trend.

Select a data series by choosing the name of a country and a data element from the scrolling menus. The first entry displays a list of country names, the second entry displays a list of data item names and the third displays a list of data element names.

If you type the first letters of a name in a list, the menu selection bar will jump to the matching name. For example:

Displaying graphs and graph options

The GRAPH menu allows you to view the data in chart form. You can display time trends and table or column profiles. Options under the GRAPH menu change the data series shown as well as its display.

For example, to show a plot of the data selected:

Graph action keys. You have several options when a graph is displayed:

Press ESC to exit the graph and return to the main menu.

Fitting trend lines

Charting profiles


Select DISPLAY from the GRAPH menu, and the profile will be drawn.

The initial profile display is for the last year of historical data. To change the year, use the Arrow keys. Press F1 for help.

By selecting TOP MEMBERS instead of SELECTED MEMBERS, FAOSTAT IS will sort the values in the file and display a ranking of table or column values.

Viewing tables

Series data

Trend data

Exporting data

Select VIEW to check the table width before printing.

TOWS or down columns. The default is down columns.

Making notes

DOS shell and exit

The DOS SHELL option under the FILE menu returns you to the DOS prompt temporarily but keeps FAOSTAT TS in memory. This is not the normal way to exit the program. It is useful if you need to execute a DOS command and would like to return to the same data file. The data file itself is dropped from memory and reloaded on return, so default values will he in effect.


The ALT+X or ALT+Q key combinations are short cuts to exit the program from almost any screen.

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