Introduction

When working and collaborating on large spreadsheets, a lot of time is wasted on painstaking manual editing and double-checking results for typos and human errors.

Welcome XLTools Suite - a set of Excel productivity apps to simplify daily routines and common operations. All apps are bundled in a single tab and work on Windows, Mac, iOS and Excel Online. XLTools Suite saves you 80% time and 100% frustrations!

Inspiration

In our team, we have been using Excel for years. At some point we decided to share our know-hows. That is how XLTools add-in was born. Initially we created it as a VSTO-based add-in written in C#. The product became very successful. So far, XLTools has been downloaded 167,000 times and installed on 45,000 unique PCs across 146 countries.

However, VSTO work only on Windows. That is why we were so exited when new the cross-platform JavaScript API appeared. We implemented a subset of the most successful tools from our VSTO add-in and made them cross-platform and mobile friendly. But JavaScript API 1.0 had some limitations:

VSTO add-in had a custom tab in the ribbon UI, while the new apps were "hidden" on the "Insert" tab There was no way to build single suite of tools, same as we had built with VSTO With the JavaScript API 1.1 it all changed. We were very excited with the possibility to create custom tabs and add-in commands for the Excel ribbon UI as well as the ability for central deployment. We decided to build XLTools Suite - an app that bundled all our tools into a single tab.

What it does

No matter expert or beginner, XLTools Suite are Excel apps you can actually use daily. Within a single app you get:

Calendar - dates editing in Excel made easy. As it always had to be. This useful date picker makes date entry and formatting super simple.

Data Cleaning - clean bulk data in a few clicks: redundant spaces, line breaks or non-printing symbols, change text case, etc.

Unpivot Table - redesign crosstab, or 2D tables to a flat list in Excel quickly and accurately.

SQL Queries - run SQL queries in Excel and directly against Excel tables: SELECT, JOIN, DISTINCT, GROUP BY, WHERE, SUM, etc.

Export to CSV - convert Excel tables or selected ranges to plain text CSV with custom delimiter and without closing the primary Excel file.

Columns Match - match columns against each other or benchmarks and calculate the exact match percentage.

Creation of XLTools Suite is truly beneficial for end-users. Instead of adding each app separately, the entire set is added at once, and all tools are readily available from one tab. As developers of productivity apps, we appreciate every possibility to reduce the number of steps required from the end user. We believe productivity begins with the inner drive to do every little thing just a bit easier!

How to try it

While XLTools Suite is under review and not yet available in the AppSource, you can try it as a side loaded add-in. Here is what you need to do:

Download and save XLTools Suite Manifest file Log in to your Office365 account: https://portal.office.com Open Excel Online and create a new document or download our sample document On the Excel ribbon go to Insert -> Office Add-ins -> Click Upload My Add-in (right top corner) -> Select XLTools Suite Manifest file and click "Upload" Now you should see new "XLTools" tab on you Excel ribbon. Enjoy! Note: Due to limitations of the current API (read the next section) the "Calendar" button will not insert the calendar pane itself yet, it will open the calendar app page on AppSource instead.

Challenges I ran into

While add-in commands support task pane apps, they do not yet support content pane apps yet.

What's next for XLTools Suite for Excel 2

We have submitted XLTools Suite to AppSource and waiting for it to be published We will continue to migrate most successful tools from our VSTO add-in to XLTools Suite We would like to improve our marketing and sales in corporate sector, we hope Hack Productivity 3 and Microsoft can help us with it

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