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Instructions for use

As in past years, The State of Food and Agriculture 1997 includes a computer diskette containing time series data for about 150 countries and the necessary software, FAOSTAT TS, to access and display these time series.


FAOSTAT TS software provides quick and easy access to structured annual time series databases. Even inexperienced computer users can use FAOSTAT TS, which does not require spreadsheet, graphics or database programs. FAOSTAT TS is fully menu-driven, so there are no commands to learn. Users can browse through and print graphs and tables, plot multiple-line 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 may 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 for the software or data for a particular use.

Technical requirements

FAOSTAT TS software requires an IBM or compatible PC with a hard disk, DOS 3.0 or later version, 300 KB of available RAM and graphics capability. Graphics support is provided for all common graphics adaptors (VGA, EGA, MCGA, CGA and Hercules monochrome).

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 version.

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.

• To install from drive A: to drive C:

Insert the diskette in drive A:

- Type A: and press ENTER.

- Type INSTALL C: and press ENTER.

- Press any key.

A C:\SOFA97 directory is created and, after installation, you will already be in this directory.


• To start the FAOSTAT TS software, if you are not already in the C:\SOFA97 directory (as after installation):

- Change to this directory by typing CD\SOFA97 and pressing ENTER.

- From the command prompt in the SOFA97 directory, type SOFA97 and press ENTER.

A graphics title screen will be displayed, followed by the main menu screen.

If FAOSTAT TS does not start, graphs do not display correctly or the menus are difficult to read, your computer may not be compatible with the default functions of FAOSTAT TS. The use of a command-line option may help. You may try to start FAOSTAT TS with the -E parameter (by typing SOFA97-E) to disable its use of expanded memory. You may also force the use of a particular graphics or text mode by typing its name as a parameter (e.g. -EGA would force the use of EGA mode graphics).

Language choices

The initial default language for FAOSTAT TS is English. To change the default language to French or Spanish:

- Go to the FILE menu.

- Select LANGUAGE using the ARROW key (¯) and pressing ENTER.

- Select your choice of language and press ENTER.

The language selected will remain the default language until another is selected.

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.

Navigate the menus by using the ARROW keys (­¯«) and make a selection by highlighting an item and pressing ENTER. To back out of a selection, press the ESC key.

• If you have a mouse, menu items can be selected with the mouse cursor. The left mouse button selects an item and the right mouse button acts as the ESC key.

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

• Several shortcut keys are available throughout the program:

Key Action

F1 - HELP: displays context-sensitive help text.

ESC - ESCAPE: backs out of the current menu choice or exits the current graph or table.

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.


• You will see context-sensitive help displayed at the bottom of each screen. Press F1 for more extensive help on a highlighted option.

• Select HELP from the main menu to access the help information. Introductory information on the software, help topics and an "About" summary screen are available from the HELP menu.

•The HELP menu options call up the same windows obtained by pressing the F1 key at any of the menu screens:

- FAOSTAT TS displays the top-level help page.

- TOPICS lists the help contents.

- ABOUT shows summary program information.

Opening a data file

• To display a list of FAOSTAT TS data files:

- Go to the FILE menu.

- Select OPEN.

All of the FAOSTAT TS data files in the current directory are displayed. Initially, only SOFA97 will be present. Other FAOSTAT PC data files, version 3.0, can be used with FAOSTAT TS.

• Use the ARROW keys to highlight the file you wish to view and press ENTER to select it. Files are shown with the date of their last revision. You can also highlight your choice by typing the first letters of the filename. The current search string will appear in the lower left corner of the list.

• You can change the default data drive and directory from the file list by selecting the directory or drive of your choice.

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 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:

- Type NEW to skip to New Zealand.

- Press ENTER to select the highlighted name.

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:

- Go to the GRAPH menu.

- Select DISPLAY.

Many options to modify, save or print a graph are available only while the graph is on-screen. Remember to use the F1 help key for a reminder of your options.

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

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

• Press F1 for help on the graph action keys. The help box lists the choices available while a graph is on-screen. You must exit the help box before making a selection.

• Press the ARROW (­¯) and PAGEUP, PAGEDOWN keys to change the series displayed.

• The plus key (+) allows you to add from one to three additional series to the one displayed. Press the MINUS key (-) to remove a series. To create a multiline chart:

- Display an initial series.

- Press the + key to add subsequent series to the chart.

• Press A to display a table of the axis data with statistics. Press T to show a table of the fitted trend data, the residuals and fit statistics (if a trend line is selected, see below).

• The INS key permits you to insert text directly on the graph. While inserting text, press F1 for help on your text options. You can type small or large, horizontal or vertical text.

• To print a graph, press P and select your choice of printer from the menu. The print output is only a screen dump of the display, so the quality is limited.

• To save a graph for later printing or viewing, press S. The graph image will be saved in the common PCX bitmap format. You can use the PRINTPCX program or other software to view or print multiple images later. PRINTPCX also permits you to convert colour PCX images into black and white images suitable for inclusion in a word processing document.

Fitting trend lines

• To fit a statistical function to a data series, select FIT from the DATA menu. The options under FIT allow you to select the type of function, data year limits to include in the fit and a final projection year for a statistical forecast.

• By fitting a trend line (selecting the option under FIT) with a projection (selecting PROJECTION under FIT), a statistical forecast can be plotted. Use the + key to add a new data series to the graph, which can be made with only a few key strokes.

Charting profiles

The options under the GRAPH menu allow you to change the year span or style of the graph display (options LIMITS and STYLE, respectively), or to switch from a time trend to a table or column data profile (VIEWPOINT). The VIEWPOINT option is an easy means to compare data for a particular year.


• If you want to change from a time series display to a country or item profile display for a given year, select VIEWPOINT from the GRAPH menu. 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.

• For a tables profile (profile of data across countries), you can either choose the tables to be displayed or let FAOSTAT TS select the top members and array them in order.

A limit of 50 items can appear in one profile. By selecting TOP MEMBERS instead of SELECTED MEMBERS, FAOSTAT TS will sort the values in the file and display a ranking of table or column values.

Viewing tables

• The TABLE menu allows you to look at data in a tabular format and to define subset tables that may be saved and imported into other software packages.

- Go to the TABLE menu.

- Select BROWSE DATA to view individual data tables from the current file.

• When viewing tables, a help bar appears at the bottom of the screen. Press PAGEUP or PAGEDOWN to change the table displayed or press ALT+1 or ALT+2 to choose from a list of tables. Use the ARROW keys (­¯«) to scroll the columns and rows.

Series data

• The | SERIES DATA option under the TABLE menu displays the last data series selected, including summary statistics. This is the series used to plot a graph. To change the series, you must make a new choice from the DATA menu.

• The SERIES DATA screen can also be displayed while you are in a graph by pressing the letter A. If more than one series has been plotted, only the last series is shown. The range of years used for the series and statistics can be adjusted through the LIMITS option under the GRAPH menu.

• To view country or item profile lists and statistics, select VIEWPOINT from the GRAPH menu. You can quickly see a list of the tables with the greatest values (for example, countries with the highest commodity consumption) by choosing a table profile from VIEWPOINT and selecting the TOP MEMBERS option. Then select SERIES DATA from the TABLE menu to view the list or select DISPLAY from the GRAPH menu to plot a chart.

Trend data

• If the FIT option has been selected (from the DATA menu) for a time trend, then the values composing the trend can be displayed with the TREND DATA option. Summary statistics for the original series and for the trend as well as residual values are included. The list scrolls with the ARROW keys, and you can toggle between the axis and trend data with the A and T keys.

Exporting data

• The EXPORT option under the FILE menu allows you to export FAOSTAT TS data into other file formats or to create custom tables for viewing or printing. By selecting EXPORT, you will jump into another set of menus.

• To select the tables and columns you want to view or save, go to the DATA menu. You must mark your choice of options with the + key. To undo all your selections quickly, select RESET MARKS.

• To arrange, view, save or print data, go to the options under EXPORT (in the FILE menu):

- FAO TABLE creates a table with data from the last four available years.

- VIEW displays a temporary text file of the data selected. It is a convenient way to view a subset of the tables and columns in a FAOSTAT TS file and can also be used to see the effects of the ORIENTATION or LAYOUT selections before using the SAVE or PRINT option.

- SAVE displays a list of file formats to let you save your data choices in a file. You will be prompted for a file name. If you need to export FAOSTAT TS data for use with other software, use this menu item. The WK1 and DBF file format selections are not affected by the LAYOUT options (see below).

- PRINT prints your current table and column selections. Many printers cannot print more than five columns of FAOSTAT TS data. Select VIEW to check the table width before printing.

- LAYOUT allows you to display years across rows or down columns. The default direction is down columns.

• To get back to the main FAOSTAT TS menu or to clear your selections and create more tables, go to the RETURN option.

Making notes

• To read or edit textual information on the current data file, select NOTES from the FILE menu. You also can call up the Notes box by pressing ALT+N at any of the menus. The option NOTES allows you to read or edit text associated with the data file.

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 be in effect.


• To exit FAOSTAT TS:

- Go to the FILE menu.

- Select EXIT.

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

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