Most Impressive Excel App?

What’s the most impressive Excel application that you’ve seen?

Today I had an opportunity to revisit Ivan F. Moala’s ImageToXcel, and I spent some time looking at the VBA code. It gets my vote. Yowsers!

Other nominations?

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40 thoughts on “Most Impressive Excel App?

  1. I would put Jon Peltier’s Waterfall Charter and other chart utilities in the category of impressive Excel Apps. It’s one thing to make Excel do something cool. It’s another to directly affect productivity by making Excel do something useful. The ultimate compliment for any developer is that their creation is valuable to users. My analytical services team has definitely found Jon’s utilities valuable.

    Jon, you can give me your $20 later.

  2. I would say Sam Radakovitz on date pickers recently featured on msdn excel blog found at http://officeblogs.net/excel/samradDatePicker.xla

    Though it has its disadvantages like clearing the undo stack and some other still when you first see it you feel its a master piece. (He hasnt revealed the code not sure why.) When I showed it to some of my friends they never felt it was done in plain excel vba + win32 API.

  3. I like Ron de Bruin’s EasyFilter. It enhances and adds multiple options to give the user some very powerful options to manipulate data all within one dialog box. I have found that EasyFilter saves me a tremendous amount of time setting up advanced filtering schemes and has proven very useful and greatly increases productivity when extracting or filtering data in Excel.

  4. My vote goes to ASAP Utilities. Almost every tool is useful to me (in Accounting)and I have added many of them directly to my own primary toolbars. They save SOOOOO much time & effort. Well done Bastien!

  5. Echoing the support for ASAP. I don’t go a day without using one or two of the functions.

  6. Image to excel in an amazing bit of coding, the use of APIs to manage the bit maps vith VBA is staggering.

    I have seen some very powerful modelling tools built in excel, one I recently saw was a simulated annealing tool, used for facility location problems, very smart.

    It’s a question without a real answer though, there’s loads that impress me.

    [Power pak’s not too bad I guess ;-)]

  7. The Excel add-ins that I use the most (besides my own) and would be hardpressed to live without:

    Rob Bovey’s Chart Labeler
    Jan Karel Pieterse’s Name Manager
    Jan Keral Pieterse’s AutoSafe

    Honorable mention:

    Andy Pope’s Button Editor
    John Walkenbach’s PUP and Chart Tools
    Bastien Mensink’s ASAP Utilities
    Frontline Systems’ Solver

  8. Thanks for the honour of mentioning Name Manager Jon and Alex.

    Mind though, that Name Manager is as much my development as it is Charles William’s!

    A tiny little addin I use every day is called “Work Menu” by JE McGimpsey. That one gets my vote.

  9. John Walkenbach’s PUP Utilities, I also purchased the source code and learnt so much from it

  10. Ist : Tie between Asap_utilites and FastExcel(containing Name Manager)
    2nd : PUP6
    3rd : FindLinks.xla
    4th : Morefunc.xla

    Regards
    Kanwaljit

  11. I would give up everything if I could keep DataLinks (bizintelligenceinc). I have to repeatedly pull data (SQL, Oracle, csv, ODBC, etc) into Excel from other sources and this tool builds the connections and the SQL queries then exports into refreshable Excel data tables. I never had to learn any programming or SQL.

  12. The Essbase add-in for Excel is the most impressive for me. Its easy to use, easy to program, fast to run and v powerful. And it opens up a whole new world of data analysis.
    cheers Simon

  13. Hi all,
    I definitely vote for ASAP (worksheet) and MZTools (VBA).
    And a special vote to Waterfall Chart Utility from J. Peltier.

  14. Rob, thanx for the Rap…I will have to buy you an Epic Pale Ale next time I am over your way.

    I use PUP every day and Jon Peltier’s Waterfall Charter is a big time saver

    Hui…

  15. People are confusing impressive with productive. Impressive doesn’t have to be productive!

    Impressive has to elicit a “Wow!” response as in “Wow! How did s/he do that?” or “Wow! That’s in Excel?” Visit the web sites of — off the top of my head — Stephen Bullen, Andy Pope, and Ivan Moala.

    Along those lines, a long time ago John Walkenbach shared the work of someone who sketched art in Excel. That too was impressive; even after I reverse engineered it, it left me shaking my head about how she did it. Was it productive? No. Was it practical? No. Was it impressive? Yes!

  16. But all these apps mentioned *are* impressive in their own right. Impressive is what one chooses it to be. By nature, these people are mentioning the apps that affect their lives the most.

    An application that saves me loads of time is impressive to me. An application where I say “Damned…I should have thought of that” is impressive to me. An application that does something I’ve never seen Excel do before is also impressive to me.

    Maybe I’m just too easy to impress. By the way, I see that this post has 19 comments…very impressive.

  17. Not sure if this counts as “Excel app”, but the iMacros Scripting Edition worked GREAT for us to submit data directly from Excel to the web and also to update Excel content directly from websites (and Intranet)
    For a VBA programmer, the VBA/iMacros integration is very easy to use.

    Link: http://www.iopus.com/imacros/excel.htm

    John

  18. I’ve found several “wow” type Excel apps in the book “The Spreadsheet at 25?. After visiting the book’s site and viewing the examples live, I’m curious if other apps of this type exist or have been collected elsewhere.

  19. I am with Tushar. If we are talking about productive then the stuff mentioned are all at the top of the pile. I think I have seen a couple of threads here about that very topic. But for sheer WOW factor I would go with Ivan’s stuff. What he as done would never even cross my mind in 100 years. If it did I would dismiss it as being darn near impossible if not completely impossible. When you see it done and you realize what must have gone into it… WOW!

    Oddly it reminds me of Obfuscated C. That is a contest that is run annully to see who can write the most convoluted C code to perform the simplest or most bizzare task in the oddest way. My personal favorite was a peice of code that when run with no parameters generated a Fibonacci sequence. If you passed it a text file it would reverse the text file. Here is the amazing part. If you passed it it’s own source code to be reversed you could compile the new (reversed) source code and now it would perform Integration. Code that compiles both forwards and backwards performing different tasks… WOW! Certainly not useful but just plain WOW!!!

  20. I asked the same question on Aaron Bloods website. I was impressed by Andy Popes scrolling marquee (no VBA). A fully functional 3D kitchen design program I found on the web somewhere (haven’t found it since but it was all in Excel). Aaron has also done some darn clever stuff with plotting intercept courses for moving objects.

    I obviously need an impressive Excel add-in that will automatically bookmark impressive workbooks whenever it hears me say wow!

  21. I use PUP and ASAP along with SPREADSHEET ASSISTANT
    these three get my vote for the most wow, all three make my life easer.

  22. The most useful I have ever come across has to be VBScroll by Shahin Gasanov. It saves me untold amounts of time, frustration, and money in the swear-tin. I hate using scroll-bars!!

  23. VBScroll? What’s the deal with using the mouse wheel in the VB Editor? There was a time when it didn’t work for me. Then I updated my drivers and it worked fine. That was two computers ago. Haven’t had a problem since.

    Do people still have a problem with mouse wheel scrolling in the VG Editor?

  24. John –

    The first computer I bought for my programming business has never needed any help scrolling in the VBIDE. I wondered what all the fuss was about. When I bought a new mouse, the driver installed by the mouse software suddenly broke VBIDE scrolling, so I rolled back to the previous driver. The scrolling came back, and no other mouse functionality was lost (as far as I could tell).

    Every computer I’ve bought since (three I think?) has needed VBScroll. Go figure.

  25. I’m not sure if you’ve seen any of the Pacman simulations out there. There’s one I’ve seen that uses cell background coloring to make the whole board and a macro to run the game and update the board. Not useful in a business sense but still one of the more impressive Excel apps I’ve seen.

  26. Wow: Dr Brian’s Bezier curve fitting program blew me away.

    No VBA: Stephen Bullen’s Auto-Expanding Chart had a huge impact on how I setup my spreadsheets.

    Presentation: Charley Kyd’s Excel Dashboards changed the way I present data to senior managers.

    Utility: John Walkenbach’s PUP application and source code is the most best integrated and most instructive suite I have used.

    Time: Chip Pearson’s Time Zone API is an extraordinary piece of work.

  27. I use this tool InfoCaptor which is a Dashboard software. It connects to Excel and other databases. I setup all the queries and set it to autorefresh. Its pretty handy.

  28. This page is a nice consolidation of Excel apps so I continue to come back to post when I come across new things.

    Barra Enterprise Platform (a database application for investment returns) has a powerful Excel connection tool.

    I also recently came across ExcelDNA which — in addition to furthering the merger of VBA, .Net, C#, and, well, all code platforms — could make it easier to interface directly to dll’s without all the DBA permissioning headaches:
    http://exceldna.codeplex.com/

    Overall though, I’d second Simon Murphy’s choice. Essbase’s Excel add-in is incredible.

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