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Spreadsheet Migration

Excel is a great tool, its so powerful and flexible. But there are some projects where it is not the best choice. Also as applications grow and develop sometimes something that worked well on a spreadsheet actually out grows it. This could be simply needing more than 256 columns or more than 64k rows, or it could be more subtle, with the model just becoming difficult to manage or modify or even to calculate.

Spreadsheets are good when:

  • Initial development time is critical.
  • Current skill set is heavily Excel biased.
  • The number of problem variables is small.
  • The maths is fairly complex (from a business point of view).

Spreadsheets may not be the best choice when

  • Multiple simultaneous users are required.
  • Large amounts of data are analysed.
  • Robustness and security are a priority.
Probably the most frequent reason for migration we see is to enable multiple simultaneous users to access common elements of the model. There are several ways to achieve this, and we discuss these early on with the client to assess which is likely to work best in any given scenario.
The second most frequent reason is that the Excel model has grown too unwieldy and therefore difficult to manage and difficult to validate. Often we can maintain most of the benefits of Excel whilst just moving a few key components to a more appropriate platform (generally either a database or compiled components such as COM DLLs). This usually maintains much of the user interface, thereby protecting the investment in training, whilst improving performance and reliability.
Another common reason is that a spreadsheet is being more widely distributed and there is a need for increased robustness and security. In this case a 'Visual Studio Tools for the Office System' (VSTO) solution may be ideal, having much of the flexibility of a VBA approach, but with centralised control, powerful updating and enhanced security.

We can work on-site or off-site, although there is usually a need for regular meetings for guidance and updates. Most of the work is generally undertaken on a Codematic development machine for two reasons:

1. Our machines are set up with a full suite of best of breed developer tools, some of which are not available commercially.

2. Using a none client PC shields the corporate network from any risks during development, where, for example security settings may need to be relaxed temporarily during certain stages of development.

Please contact us with any questions.


Upcoming Events:

25 January 2012 - UK Excel Developer Conference - London

Products for sale:


Office 2007 FileSearch replacement logo

New information about the missing FileSearch feature in Office 2007 and details of our pragmatic solution (Current price GBP 30.00)


worksheet password remover logo

Instant Excel worksheet protection remover and password recovery (Current price GBP 15.00)

Classic Ribbon Tab

classic ribbon for office 2007 logo

Add Excel 97/2000/2002/2003 compatible menu structure to Excel 2007
(Current Price GBP 10.00)


Products coming soon:

Link Manager

(Find and control external links in Excel Workbooks)

Due by Q1 2111.

XLAnalyst Pro

(Excel VBA based spreadsheet auditing tool)

Due before the end of 2111.

This page was last reviewed on December 21, 2011

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