Best Add-ins for Extra Features in Microsoft Excel

01
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Add Even More Free or Premium Tools to Microsoft Excel

Customize Microsoft Excel with Add-ins for Extra Features
Customize Microsoft Excel with Add-ins for Extra Features. (c) andresr / Getty Images

Add-ins can expand what you can do with Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, by bringing additional features right to the interface.

This means that you can add additional menu items and tools that should be available for any new document that you create. Or, in other cases you will only see these additional tools when you decide to look them up in your Add-ins library of downloads.

Many of these add-ins are third-party solutions you can download or install through the Microsoft Store, which can be accessed from right within later versions of Excel, making it easy to work with your data.

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Of the many add-ins you can find, I've collected this fast list of those I would suggest considering first.

Some require an affordable fee but many are free, so jump in and learn how you could be getting things done faster, thanks to add-ins for Excel.

 

02
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Create Infographics with People Graph Add-in for Microsoft Excel

People Graph Add In for Microsoft Excel
People Graph Add In for Microsoft Excel. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

Ever wondered how people make their spreadsheets look more like infographics?

At first, you may think tools like these are available for programs like Word only, but Excel is actually an intuitive place for authoring these types of data visualizations because often it draws from a set of values.

For example, here's one tool that creates outlines of people, to help you represent your data in interesting ways: the People Graph Add-in for Microsoft Excel.

Find this by opening an Excel spreadsheet then selecting Insert. From there, choose Add-ins, and select Store. Once you download add-ins such as this from the Store, you can find them without visiting the store, because they've been added to your installation of Excel.

03
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Design Project Timelines with the Gantt Chart Add-in for Microsoft Excel

Gantt Project Planner Add In for Microsoft Excel
Gantt Project Planner Add In for Microsoft Excel. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

Project managers will love this Design Project Graphs and Timelines with the Gantt Chart Add-in for Microsoft Excel.

You can create these kinds of timeline graphs in Excel without using this add-in, or you may even want to create them using Microsoft Project. Or, look for pre-made templates in Excel by selecting File - New then searching by keyword.

But if you want a few extras, this add-in can be fun to look into. 

Find the add-in by selecting Insert - Add-in then searching for it in the Store.

04
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Gauge Display Add-in for Simple Data Infographics in Microsoft Excel

Gauge Add In for Microsoft Excel
Gauge Add In for Microsoft Excel. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

The Gauge Display Add-in for Microsoft Excel helps you create an interactive dial graphic based on your data.

Think of this as a way to call attention to specific data, or to show how changes to data affect the overall measurement of a given value.

You can select which range should be reflected on the gauge, making this a wonderful way to highlight specific information, trends, or outcomes.

To find this, select Insert - Add-in then search for this app in the Store.

05
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Visualize Data Using This Zoomable Office Map Add-in for Microsoft Excel

Office Maps Add-in or App for Microsoft Excel
Office Maps Add-in or App for Microsoft Excel. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

This is another fun way to map your spreadsheet data, and it's probably my favorite pick. I love this Zoomable Office Map Add-in for Microsoft Excel.

When you download it from within the Excel interface, you will select Insert - Add-ins - Store.

The look of this interactive map window is really fun, with a slight spycraft flair. You and those you share your spreadsheet with can zoom in and out, move the window, and move within the map window, giving you a lot of control over the view.

06
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Geographic Heat Map Chart Add-in for Microsoft Excel

Geographic Heat Map Chart Add-in for Microsoft Excel
Geographic Heat Map Chart Add-in for Microsoft Excel. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

Mapping can be more effective using this Geographic Heat Map Chart Add-in for Microsoft Excel.

This is a fun way to show data distribution through colors, especially if you are someone who likes to nerd out over spreadsheets.

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At the time of this writing, maps are available for the world or states within the USA. Hopefully, more will be added over time.

To find this add-in, search for it under Insert - Add-in. You may need to select Store to find the search field.

07
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Make a Mind Map Using the Mind-O-Mapper Add-in or App for Microsoft Excel

Mind-O-Mapper Add-in or App for Microsoft Excel
Mind-O-Mapper Add-in or App for Microsoft Excel. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

Mind maps can be a great way to display information for yourself or others. These typically involve a diagram of words or ideas, such as those gathered in a brainstorming session.

When paired with a spreadsheet, they can over valuable insight and perspective regarding a set of data.

To find this add-in, select Insert then Add-in. Once you have selected the option for searching within the Store, enter keywords for the Mind-O-Mapper Add-in or App for Microsoft Excel.

08
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DiffEngine X Text Comparison Add-in for Microsoft Excel

DiffEngine X Text Comparison Add-in for Microsoft Excel
DiffEngine X Text Comparison Add-in for Microsoft Excel. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

This DiffEngine X Text Comparison Add-in for Microsoft Excel is a great way to double-check words in different cells of a spreadsheet. The example featured here is pretty simple, but shows how you can compare strings of text against one another.

In this case, because the text is the same, the add-in returns a message stating that no differences were found. Note, however, that the two cells I chose did have different formatting even though the words were the same. This shows how this add-in does not compare formatting differences.

For that reason, consider using this tool if you have large strings of words or sentences you need to compare.

Find this app by selecting Insert - Apps, then searchin for it by keyword in the Microsoft Store.

09
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Integrate Google Analytics Using the Keluro Analytics Add-in for Microsoft Excel

Keluro Web Analytics Add-in for Microsoft Excel
Keluro Web Analytics Add-in for Microsoft Excel. (C) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

Some Google Analytics data can be brought into your spreadsheets using a third-party tool called Keluro Web Analytics.

This can be an interesting way to streamline how you access and report data, such as site traffic statistics.

This does imply that you will need both a Google Analytics account and a Keluro account in order to access this service from within Excel, after downloading the add-in.

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Here's a description from the download site, regarding how this add-in helps you monitor, interpret, and use information about customers visiting your online resources:

"Consequently, you will be able to improve your digital communication to convince a wider audience or to target a more specific group of people."

The add-in gives you options regarding what information to bring into your spreadsheet, meaning you can customize time periods and other factors in order to better understand key trends or data.

Find this app by selecting Insert then Add-ins from the Excel menu, then searching by key terms.

10
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SurveyMonkey Add-in for Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets

SurveyMonkey Add-in or App for Microsoft Excel
SurveyMonkey Add-in or App for Microsoft Excel. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

Working collaboratively with others in spreadsheets makes integrating a survey tool a good idea. Here's one that may work well for you personal, academic, or professional projects.

From the menu, select Insert then Add-in and search for this SurveyMonkey Add-in or App for Microsoft Excel in the Store.

The SurveyMonkey sign in loads right into the Excel interface, and from there you can create a poll or survey to send to others working with you on a given spreadsheet.

For example, in this student calendar template, you could propose a schedule then associate a survey with the information, allowing you to understand others' preferences and availability, or to build consensus.

11
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SmartCharts Add-in or App for Microsoft Excel

SmartCharts Add-in or App for Microsoft Excel
SmartCharts Add-in or App for Microsoft Excel. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

Take diagramming beyond the basics with this SmartCharts Add-in or App for Microsoft Excel.

You can search for this add-in by selecting Insert then Add-ins. When you search for this add-in by keyword, you should be able to find it, if it is available for you to download.

This brings in additional options for charting data in your spreadsheets. For example, you could chart sales in various countries, such that when you click on one of the bubbles with each country's flag in it, the sales data for that region is displayed. Pretty cool!

Presenting data in a more dynamic way could help you share your message more readily with others.

Note that this app allows you a free download, but after the trial you would need to purchase it to keep using these extra features.

12
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Populate Spreadsheet Data with the Random Generator Add-in for Microsoft Excel

Random Number or Date Generator Add In for Microsoft Excel
Random Number or Date Generator Add In for Microsoft Excel. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

You may find occasion to generate random numbers in a spreadsheet, to make something look more filled out until it is actually used, for example.

That's where the Random Generator Add-in steps in. You can generate content for a specific selection, to include integers, real numbers, dates, or even true/false values.

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Many users have tried a tool such as this in a Word document, and the concept is the same. Filling in pre-populated text allows you to see how the text will flow within the spreadsheet, before you take the time to craft the actual words or numbers, meaning this can be a time-saver.

Select Insert - Add-ins then search for this in the Store.

13
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Get Nerdy with This Audible Spreadsheet Data Add-in for Microsoft Excel

Audible Charts Music Making Add-in for Microsoft Excel
Audible Charts Music Making Add-in for Microsoft Excel. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

The Audible Spreadsheet Data Add-in for Microsoft Excel certainly gets points for creativity. This add-in allows you to turn a range of data into music, as described by the creator's tagline: "Visualize your data by hearing it." 

Sure, this little extra falls cleanly within the realm of novelty, but we all need a little more fun in our lives, right? Even if it's extraordinarily nerdy fun.

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So go ahead, pull out your favorite or least favorite spreadsheet and set it to music. You may find yourself addicted to this add-in!

Find this under Insert - Add-ins - Store.

 

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Grigg, Cindy. "Best Add-ins for Extra Features in Microsoft Excel." ThoughtCo, Jun. 1, 2016, thoughtco.com/add-ins-microsoft-excel-4038660. Grigg, Cindy. (2016, June 1). Best Add-ins for Extra Features in Microsoft Excel. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/add-ins-microsoft-excel-4038660 Grigg, Cindy. "Best Add-ins for Extra Features in Microsoft Excel." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/add-ins-microsoft-excel-4038660 (accessed November 19, 2017).