QueryCell is an Excel add-in that let’s you use SQL statements against tables in a workbook. I downloaded the trial and tested it out. Here’s what I found.
Email on Download QueryCell requests your email when you download the trial. Sam Howley is the owner of the company and a regular at the Joel on Software discussion boards, so I know that he has considered this. But I wondered what you thought about it. Would you give your email to download a trial? I think Sam has a compelling statement on his download page
Please provide your email address and in two days time I will send you a single email asking you what you thought.
If someone goes through the trouble of convincing me there will be one email, I’m inclined to believe it. You can download QueryCell without giving an email, although it wasn’t not totally obvious to me that that was possible. So, would you give your email to download a trial if it wasn’t required?
Download 8.3MB download. That’s big, I think, for an Excel add-in.
Install It installed without a hitch.
Menus In 2007, it has it’s own Ribbon tab. In 2003, it creates a one-button toolbar that shows/hides the app. I’m very protective of my screen real estate and I would prefer a menu item, or at least a choice. The other problem I have is that no matter where I move that toolbar, it gets put on its own row when I restart Excel. One button on one row doesn’t work for me.
Trial The trial period is 30 queries. We just talked about trial periods. I like trials that are limited in the number of uses rather than the number of days. That allows me to try it at my leisure. I’m not sure if 30 queries is enough, though. I experienced some anxiety after I had run three. I thought “Oh sh*t, I’m going to be out of queries so I better be careful.” If this was my software, I would make the trail 60 queries or 60 days, whichever is longer. What can I say, I’m a trial liberal.
Trying it out
I started with a pretty easy SELECT statement. I put double quotes around the S% and it threw an error, but didn’t charge me for a trial. It was a nice error too. It told me what the problem was and how to fix it.
Tip : use single quotes for literal strings in SQL not double quotes eg. WHERE CODE=’PAID’ not WHERE CODE=”PAID”
Once I fixed my syntax, it put the results on a new sheet.
Next I ran the same query except I checked the “Mark Results” box. This selects the records in place rather than generating a new recordset. This is a very nice feature.
Finally, I wanted to JOIN a couple of tables. As I was typing my SQL statement, I noted that there was a field list on the right side and it was selecting the fields as I typed so that I didn’t have to finish typing them. I almost never type table names in the SELECT part of the query but it was easier to do it in QueryCell than not. Having one letter table names helped, but the autocomplete was nice.
I won’t bore you with the results of the JOIN query, but it worked flawlessly.
Tutorial As I was playing, I thought Sam should offer a ready-made workbook with some examples. And there, under the help menu, was just such a workbook. It’s a great tutorial and it would have served me well to spend a few minutes with it before I started playing on my own.
Other I mentioned the 2003 toolbar on it’s own row problem above. I noted a few other things.
When I was typing my SQL statement and using the autocomplete, I kept pressing tab but it wants me to press enter. I don’t know why tab seems more natural to me, but it does.
There are tabs along the bottom of the main area, but it’s not totally obvious that they are there. They only have borders if you’re hovering over them. I figured out they were there when I got that error message. I thought I had lost my query, but it was on another tab and I was able to click back to it. I think I’d have to work with QueryCell a little more to see if I like the tab interface.
Don’t try to enable the Analysis Toolpak add-in while the QueryCell window is visible. It crashed my Excel every time. If I hide the window, no crash. I’ll be interested if anyone else has that problem or if it was just me.
When I was ranting about screen real estate earlier, it may have seemed strange that I didn’t mention how much screen QueryCell takes up. I should be screaming myself stupid about it, but it didn’t really bother me. I’d seen the screen shots so it wasn’t a surprise. And for a tool like this, I guess I felt like it was appropriate. This isn’t something you would have visible all the time, just when you’re using it. Having said that, I have two monitors, so why not let me use them. Let me put QueryCell on one and Excel on the other.
All of the windows withing QueryCell are resizeable. It’s really a polished, well-done app.
The cursor doesn’t change when hovering over a hyperlink, but I stand by my polished statement above.
Conclusion I’m very impressed with this add-in. It costs $40, which seems reasonable to me. My litmus test for trying a program is if I start thinking of ways I could use this in my normal work. If you have legacy monster Excel workbooks like me, this add-in would be money well spent (other than it would delay you getting that data out of Excel and into a proper database).
Free Who looks out for you like DDoE? Nobody, that’s who. Sam has graciously given me a license to give away. If you download the trial and like it, send me an email with QueryCell as the subject before the end of the day October 19th. I’ll pick an email at random and send you a full license key for your free copy of QueryCell.