New Ways to Build Excel Addins

New Ways to Build Excel Addins

Were you using Excel, way back in 1993, when VBA was  introduced in Excel 5.0? Now, there are new ways to automate Excel, and a great opportunity to learn more about them, at the Develop Excel conference in London, on October 18th.

Why Go to Develop Excel?

Why should you go to the Develop Excel conference? This one-day event is a rare opportunity to:

  • Learn about the changes the Microsoft is making to the Excel platform and APIs – directly from the Microsoft employees
  • See add-ins and solutions that you can build with these new platforms
  • Talk with other Excel developers, and the Microsoft developers

This is a non-profit conference, and you can get free admission, or make a contribution to help cover the event costs.

The event will be held at Microsoft's new London Reactor site, so it's worth going, just to see that!

Moving From XLM to VBA

It's always challenging to learn new development skills, but worth the effort, if you want to keep advancing.

The last big change was when we moved from Excel 4 macros (XLM) to the new VBA, but that was 25 years ago, so you probably don't remember that struggle.

My Switch to VBA

I wasn't writing Excel macros back then, but I did have to switch from WordBASIC to Word VBA, in the middle of a big project. Way back then, we had giant reference books, instead of Google.


Excel VBA Update

In early versions of Excel VBA, some XLM functions weren't available, so Excel 4 macros are still supported. In Excel 2010, most of those missing functions were added to VBA 7.0.

Eric Patterson, from Microsoft's Excel team, wrote about the Excel 2010 VBA improvements, and showed the new properties and functions you could use.

Office Extensibility

I'm sure it will be challenging to move to these new automation methods, but the Develop Excel conference will be a great way to get started, or expand your skills, if you've already started.

If you're not sure whether to attend, I've put a couple of videos below, with Office Extensibility demos.

And then, push yourself out of your Excel programming comfort zone, and sign up for Develop Excel!

Microsoft Build 2018

In the video below, from the Microsoft Build conference in May 2018, there's an intro to Office Extensibility, and 12 demos of what you can do.

As the presenters point out, there's lots of opportunity for developers.


Here's the video, and I've put a couple of timeline notes below it.

NOTE: Audio starts at the 4:30 mark.

Timeline Notes:

16:07 – Demo of Flow in Excel

38:14 – Excel Custom development demo. Custom Functions, JavaScript APIs, and custom visuals.

An advantage to these Custom Functions, over VBA, is that they can be used in Excel online, where VBA macros don't work.

Build Office Add-ins for Excel

Here's another video that shows how to build one of the new-style add-ins for Excel. There is a demo starting at the 9:16 mark.

Register for Develop Excel

Don't wait too long, if you'd like to attend the Develop Excel conference.

  • Take a look at the Agenda, to see the full day of sessions.
  • See the session details – don't worry if some (all?) of the topics look confusing! Get an overview at Develop Excel, and learn the details later, with the Office Add-ins documentation from Microsoft.
  • Learn about the speakers – they've been working in Excel for years, just like you
  • Read about the pricing options for this non-profit event. They just need to cover the event costs, so make a contribution if you can.

Then, when you've decided to attend Develop Excel, go to the registration page, and click the link. And look – you'll get lunch and beverages too!


2 thoughts on “New Ways to Build Excel Addins”

    1. That number is for "users authenticated" each month, so probably counts all the logins each month. That might include Office, Windows, SharePoint, and other programs. There was no audio at that point in the presentation, so I'm not sure!

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