Patch Up Excel's Shortcomings

SAN FRANCISCO (07/24/2000) - It's the end of the fiscal year, and you're trying to make budget projections for the upcoming year. But you're spending most of your time writing new formulas to tell Excel how to perform the calculations.

The add-ins on this week's list will help you maximize Excel's functionality and increase your productivity.

Perform math calculations on any range of cells with Spreadsheet Assistant, a shareware program that has more that 180 ways to enhance Excel. Construct budgets, make cash flow projections, or prepare business plans with Exl-Plan.

Double-check for spreadsheet errors with Spreadsheet Detective, a program that checks math and identifies inconsistencies in cell data. Next week, we'll provide troubleshooting add-ins for Word.

- Spreadsheet Assistant: Don't settle for what comes in the shrink-wrap. Add more than 180 functions to Excel spreadsheets with this utility. Fill entire ranges without having to scroll to move your screen, and add sticky notes anywhere in your worksheets for quick reminders.

- Edwin's Power Tools: Expand Excel with text-manipulation functions, 3D formatting, and a unit-conversion utility. Use this shareware to insert columns between existing columns, select special regions, split groups of words into individual cells, and perform other actions.

- Cell Math: Perform a range of mathematical functions in your spreadsheet without using Excel's preset formulas. You can create formulas that will round the values in all cells to two decimal places. You can also perform simple mathematical operations throughout a spreadsheet, such as increasing the value of all cells by 5 percent.

- Excel Recovery: Protect your spreadsheets with this software, which recovers cell data, text, numbers, and formula values, and restores the structure of multi-sheet files. An easy-to-use interface allows you to access programs from a Recover button in your Excel File menu. This version offers enhanced data recovery, improved processing, and bug fixes, and supports Windows 95/NT/3.11 and Excel 97/95/5.0.

- JEM 2000: This handy suite of 30 utilities adds 180 additional functions to your Excel toolbar, including improved worksheet navigation and the ability to apply commands to multiple workbooks.

- Spreadsheet Detective: This Editor's Pick checks the mathematical formulas in your spreadsheets for inconsistencies and errors. The program then shades the errors, so it's easy to make corrections. This version includes a workbook data flow summary, named range dialogs, and a new sensitivity reporting feature.

- XLStat: This software increases the productivity of Microsoft Excel with a variety of different utilities, including data analysis, modeling, testing, and data management.

- Exl-Plan: Team this application with Excel to prepare business plans for one to five years ahead. You can also use Exl-Plan for strategic and corporate planning, business restructuring, and financial appraisals.

- JWalk Enhanced Data Form: Pump up Excel's Data Form command, which lets you use a worksheet database. This add-in handles any number of records and fields, includes an Undo button, and displays Excel records in dialog boxes that are always visible on-screen. Note: Enhanced Data Form will not work with Excel 5 or Excel 95.

- Extended Date Functions for Excel 2000: Many users are surprised to discover that Excel can't work with dates prior to the year 1900. The Extended Date Functions add-in corrects this deficiency and allows you to work with dates in the years 0100 through 9999. Note: This add-in will not work with Excel 5 or Excel 95.

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