Make me an Excel rockstar!
April 11, 2014 7:18 AM   Subscribe

What are some of the most useful Excel add-ins that you use on a daily basis?

I spend an inordinate amount of time with Excel. My job at its core is data analysis, and making graphs/presentation (feel free to recommend addins across functions/uses if you find them generally useful).

A list of addins that I have used and really like:

Fuzzy lookup addin
Crystal Ball

Bonus points for addins that are free/open source, integrate well with Access, Word and Powerpoint, and just generally blow your socks off in terms of what they accomplish, and make you a lot more efficient.
posted by rippersid to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 62 users marked this as a favorite
OpenSolver rocks.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 7:57 AM on April 11, 2014

It's not an add-in per se, but learning VBA programming has by far been the most powerful skill I've learned in & around Excel. Definitely meets the "make me more efficient" criterion.
posted by jeffjon at 8:03 AM on April 11, 2014 [6 favorites]

Best answer: ASAP Utilities is pretty great.
posted by Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific at 8:13 AM on April 11, 2014

jeffjon has got it. The other big benefit of learning VBA is that the workbooks you build can be used by people who haven't installed all the fancy third-party plugins. (Apologies if you're already a VBA wizard -- it wasn't clear from your question.)
posted by paper chromatographologist at 8:21 AM on April 11, 2014

Response by poster: I am not a VBA expert but I am learning. It's just hard to find projects small enough on a regular basis to keep me proficient :(

Any tips would be much appreciated :)
posted by rippersid at 8:25 AM on April 11, 2014

Best answer: Along with the aforementioned ASAP Utils, I also purchased a license for the Ultimate Excel Suite from A lot of the utils are dupes of ASAP and what is already in Excel, but Ablebits streamlines and and adds other features not available. Well worth the cost if you use Excel for a living.

Another item (which is not an add-in at all really) that helps is to keep a single workbook around with tabs of handy formulas. Generally I get requests for tasks and when something works out, I keep an example in that library. Granted, all this stuff is found online, but having a particular example that fits a need exactly where you want it is a real time saver.
posted by lampshade at 12:08 PM on April 11, 2014

XY Labeler is incredible, for labeling charts.
posted by chrispy108 at 3:08 PM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

I second JeffJon. With a little scripting (and help from user groups) you can make your own macros. I made macros that would open 20 URLs at once, break mega spreadsheets into dsmaller sheets or workbooks, import a remote text file, link or unlink URLs and concatenate page names and base URLs. There were a few others too.
posted by Calzephyr at 11:46 AM on April 12, 2014

Response by poster: I installed ASAP utilities. This is what Excel should have had built in. I recommend it for anyone who does anything with Excel.
posted by rippersid at 7:40 PM on May 3, 2014

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