Productive Microsoft Excel Add-Ins
There are many Microsoft Excel Add-Ins available for Free that can make you more productive. This article will show you how to find and install them on your local copy of Microsoft Excel. You can also install them in you Office365 copy of Excel as well.
What is an Excel Add-In?
An Excel add-in allows you to extend Excel application functionality across multiple platforms including Office for Windows, Office Online, Office for the Mac, and Office for the iPad. Use Excel add-ins within a workbook to:
- Interact with Excel objects, read and write Excel data
- Extend functionality using web based task pane or content pane
- Add custom ribbon buttons or contextual menu items
- Provide richer interaction using dialog window
You can find Excel Add-Ins by clicking on the Insert Tab and selecting the Store icon. Then click on Store Tab within the Apps for Office pop-up window. This will show you all of the Excel Add-Ins.
There are many categories of Excel Add-Ins to chose from. Take a moment to browse some of the many categories. Maybe search for something you are interested in or a function you have been needing to do a task like create interactive charts. You can either type in a search word in the search dialog box or simply click on one of the categories.
Excel Add-In Categories
For the purpose of this article we are going to install the Microsoft Azure AI Machine Learning Add-In and then perform sentiment analysis on some tweets. Don't worry, it's not as scary as it sounds. In the search dialog box search for "machine". You should see the following screen. When you find it click on the Add button to install the Add-In.
Twitter Text Sentiment Analysis
The Azure Machine Learning Add-In will install and give you two options. Please select the Text Sentiment Analysis.
Now, let's download some sample Tweet text data. You can download it from this link and simply copy and paste it into your existing blank workbook sheet. Once you paste in the Tweet data you can start the Text Sentiment Analysis solution by selecting the data range, specifying where you want the output to start (ie: B1 in our example), select Auto Predict, and clicking on the Predict button.
Now, Excel will send your data range out to the Azure AI Machine Learning application for text sentiment analysis processing and return the results to you starting in the Output cell you specified. Here is what our results look like.
Wow! Just like that you can get a sentimental sense of how people are feeling in what they are saying! Now, why don't you try this on your own personal Twitter feed or better yet that of your organization? It's easy. Here are the steps.
- Go to your Account settings by clicking on the profile icon at the top right of the page and selecting Settings and privacy from the drop-down menu.
- Next to Your Twitter archive, click the Request your archive button.
- When your download is ready, we'll send a notice via push notification (if you have Twitter for iOS or Android installed on your mobile device).
- From your settings, you can click the Download archive button under the Download your data section.
- Twitter will also send you an email with a download link to the confirmed email address associated with your Twitter account. Once you receive the email, click the Download button while logged in to your Twitter account and download a .zip file of your Twitter archive.
The download will be in the form of a CSV file which you can pull into an Excel workbook sheet. You can then start to perform a sentiment analysis on all of the tweets and responses.
The Azure AI Machine Learning Add-In is just one of many examples of productivity solutions for Microsoft Excel. Now that you know where to find the Excel Add-Ins and how to install them go ahead and try some of the many other ones that are available and get productive!