6 Free Excel Add-Ins
Excel has free add-ins that easily install and use that can improve your reporting, data analysis, and make your life a lot easier.
This post will showcase 6 of the top free add-ins you can use right now to improve your workflow.
Let’s get right to it!
Before we jump into the add-ins, we need to understand the process of installing and managing add-ins in Microsoft Office.
Using Excel for our demonstration (this is done the same way in most other Office applications), select the Insert tab then click the Get Add-ins button.
This will launch the Microsoft Store where you can search and install any add-ins you may need.
If you are interested in add-ins based on purpose, you can select one of the listed categories on the left to narrow your scope of offerings.
Be aware that many add-ins are free, but some may be offered as a preview where certain functionality is restricted until a license is purchased.
When you click MY ADD-INS, you will see a list of your currently installed add-ins.
Selecting the My Add-ins button (below Get Add-ins) will also present the above list.
Uninstalling an Add-in
If you need to uninstall an add-in, select the Options icon (three stacked dots) and select Remove.
Now let’s try some of these amazing add-ins!
The QR4Office add-in is a super-easy to use QR Code generator that allows you to generate QR Codes for a variety of different objects:
- Websites (both secure and unsecured)
- Email addresses
- Telephone numbers
- Text message addresses
- Navigation coordinates
You can customize the size and color of the QR Code and insert it into your Excel spreadsheet or any other open document.
Think of how cool it would be for your user to send you a text, visit your website, or even give you a call just by pointing their phone at the screen.
If you are providing links to videos on YouTube or Vimeo, you can make the link more interesting and easier to use by using the Web Video Player.
The Web Video Player allows you to embed thumbnail images of your video links that are also playable within the document, so the user doesn’t have to leave their current document to view the content.
This is great if you are providing instruction on the use of a document. The user can follow along with the video without switching between windows.
You only need to place the share link for the video in the setup window. If you wish to use some of the advanced features (like AutoPlay), a $5 donation fee is requested.
We now see a play window that can be viewed directly in the document or expanded to full screen if greater detail is needed.
This makes it much more likely that users will view the video if they are visually enticed to see what’s behind the thumbnail.
The Visio Data Visualizer is now built directly into Excel. As of a recent Office update (September 2020), what was once an add-in is now a native feature found on the Insert ribbon in Excel.
If you are running an older build number of Excel, you can still manually add the Visio Data Visualizer per the below instructions.
The Visio Data Visualizer allows you to insert Visio-style flowcharts and organizational charts into your Excel document.
With just a click you can have a flowchart along with sample data inserted into your worksheet.
The sample data is easily reconfigured to meet your specific needs. If you need to add more items to the flowchart, just add more data to the table and click the Refresh button in the chart.
An entire library of shape types is available via a convenient dropdown list in the table.
Another feature is the ability to create a Web-based version of the diagram for viewing in Visio for the Web.
Once opened in Visio for the Web, you can save the file as a PDF, print the diagram, or save it as an image file.
If you want to learn about all the new enhancements and features of the Visio Data Visualizer, click here or better yet, point your phone at the following QR Code (generated in Excel).
This add-in is so popular, it exists as a pre-installed button on the Insert ribbon.
The People Graph inserts an infographic that is easily customized with your data.
By setting the infographic to “look” at your data, you can pick a style and generate easy to read information visualizations that are far more interesting than plain numbers.
The infographic will update automatically when the values are changed.
PRO TIP: If you turn your source data into a proper Excel Table (CTRL-T), the infographic will update when new items are added to the list.
There are 336 different combinations of styles, colors, and shapes to choose from so you can get just the right look for your data.
The result can be saved as an image file to be used in any application.
The Mini Calendar and Date Picker add-in makes entering dates and times quick and easy.
By selecting a cell in a worksheet, you can click any day in the mini calendar and the date will be added to the cell.
The date picker has many configurable options, such as:
- Changing the calendar’s size and color
- Setting the position of weekends
- Displaying the week numbers
- Highlighting dates used in a sheet range
You can also insert the current time with just a click.
Bing maps can take data centered around geographic regions and display it as a map chart.
The data can be filtered to allow users to focus on certain areas.
Bing Maps allows you to customize the chart types and colors, as well as display a traditional map or a satellite view map using satellite images.
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