File Send To

Not every Excel application can be distributed by simply sending the file to the intended user, but many can. You'll find that you have numerous options available for distributing your Excel application, and most are as simple as clicking File ^ Send To to send the file to the intended recipient. Contrast that to installing traditional applications.

As you may know, installing traditional applications can be problematic on multiple levels. First, you must create a setup program just to install your application. You have to be sure that any dependent files are installed on the system and if they aren't, you have to install them too. Often, these dependent files are shared files known as dynamic link libraries, or DLLs. Managing DLLs on a system is frustrating at best. What happens is that many applications are dependent on a specific version of a DLL. When a new application is installed, occasionally the new application overwrites an older version of a DLL with a new version, breaking other applications that depend on the old version. When software that has run flawlessly in the past suddenly stops working, suspect number one is the last software package that you installed.

The second problem is that many organizations have strict, sometimes draconian, policies regarding the installation of new programs or the modification of any programs already installed on the computer. Often these policies are for good reason. However, for smaller, departmental type applications, these policies mean that more work is involved in dotting all the i's and crossing all the t's than it takes to develop and test the application.

Sadly, I have worked with many departments that are not pleased with the "customer service" they receive from their own IT departments and are loathe to do anything that places them in a position of being increasingly reliant on IT. By developing an application using Microsoft Excel or one of the other Microsoft Office products, you can fly under the radar, so to speak. Occasionally this tactic is used by project sponsors to develop a proof of concept and demonstrate the potential value of solving a particular problem. Once others see the potential, you'll find that it is much easier to obtain the necessary approvals to develop a traditional application.

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