About Excel Utilities

A utility isn't an end product, such as a quarterly report. Rather, it's a tool that helps you produce an end product, such as a quarterly report. An Excel utility is (almost always) an add-in that enhances Excel with new features or capabilities.

Excel is a decent product, but many users soon develop a wish-list of features that they would like to see added to the software. For example, some users who turn off the grid-line display want a feature that toggles this attribute so that they don't have to go through the tedious Tools ^ Options command. Users who work with dates might want a pop-up calendar feature to facilitate entering dates into cells. And some users desire an easier way to export a range of data to a separate file. These are all examples of features that will probably never find their way into Excel. You can, however, add these features by creating a utility.

Utilities don't need to be complicated. Some of the most useful ones are actually very simple. For example, the following Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) procedure is a utility that toggles the grid-line display in the active window:

Sub ToggleGridDisplay()

ActiveWindow.DisplayGridlines = _

Not ActiveWindow.DisplayGridlines

End Sub

You can store this macro in your Personal Macro Workbook so that it's always available. For quicker access, you can assign the macro to a toolbar button, a new menu item, a right-click shortcut menu, or a keystroke combination.

Several of the examples in Part IV are actually utilities — or can easily be turned into utilities.

0 0

Post a comment