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Top 5 Free Excel Add-ins for Small Businesses

As a busy small business owner or entrepreneur, you’re probably already using Microsoft Excel to assist you with bookkeeping, keeping track of sales, or for data entry and storage. Microsoft Excel is admittedly a powerful tool due to its built-in functions and features, but you can take Excel to the next level by using Add-ins.
You should bear in mind however that Add-ins need to be installed first. In this post, we will review the top five free Excel Add-ins, for small businesses. In addition, we will cover how these Add-ins can assist you, in your day-to-day activities.

The Mini Calendar and Date Picker Add-in

There could be times when you need to create an employee timesheet or do calculations involving dates. Entering dates manually into cells can be a bit difficult and if you change the format accidentally, these dates could be displayed as serial numbers. So instead of manually entering the dates in Excel, you can use the Mini Calendar and Date Picker Add-in to pick a date from a calendar and insert the date directly into your spreadsheet. The Mini Calendar and Date Picker Add-in is available from the Integrated Store.

  • Let's see how to enter a date, by using the Mini Calendar and Date Picker.

1. To enter 2 February 2022 in cell C2. First select the cell.

Top 5 Free Excel Add-ins for Small Businesses - OnMSFT.com - October 17, 2022

2. Now select 2 February 2022, on the calendar to insert this date in cell C2.

Screenshot showing the date inserted in cell C2.

And there you have it, it really is that simple and takes the hassle out of entering dates correctly, in Excel.

The QR4Office Add-in

Many small businesses are already using QR codes as part of their marketing strategy. However, if you are not, consider starting to use QR codes. Since they facilitate speedier closing of sales and assist with increasing brand awareness.

In this regard, there is a fantastic Add-in called QR4Office, available from the Integrated Store. This Add-in will generate a QR code that you can use in Excel or save as an image.

  • Let's see how to generate a QR code by using QR4Office.

1. We will change the protocol to https:// by using the drop-down.

Screenshot showing the https:// protocol highlighted.

2. In this case we will enter www.onmsft.com, but you can use your own website or another link.

Screenshot showing the onmsft.com address, highlighted.

3. We increased the size to 150px by 150px. Scroll down to see the Preview.

Screenshot showing the Preview of the QR code.

4. Click Insert to insert the QR code directly in the worksheet. Alternatively, you can also right-click and save it as an image.

Screenshot showing the QR code added to the worksheet.

 

As simple as that.

The Visio Data Visualizer Add-in

If you need to create an organizational chart for your small business, then you can use SmartArt or Shapes in Excel. However, these methods can be tricky and time-consuming. The Visio Data Visualizer Add-in brings some of the power of Visio to Microsoft Excel. It will allow you to automate the organizational diagram creation process. In addition, you'll be able to easily update your organizational diagram with new staff members, as your business grows. The Visio Data Visualizer Add-in is available from the Integrated Store.

  • Let's see how to create an organizational chart, for a small hypothetical business using the Data Visualizer Add-In. Our hypothetical business comprises one shop owner, a general manager and two shop assistants.

1. Select Organization Chart, then in the Vertical option, click on the Create button.

Screenshot showing the Create button, highlighted.

2. You should see the following, which is an automatically generated organizational chart and table. We need to edit the table to make changes to the chart.

Screenshot showing the automatically generated table and chart.

3. So, we will start by editing row 2. Change the name to Bradley Johnson and the title to Owner.

Screenshot showing row 2 highlighted.

4. In row 3, we will change the name to Deborah Rogers and the title to General Manager.

Screenshot showing row 3, highlighted.

5. In row 4, change the name to Kevin Williams, the title to Shop Assistant, and the Role Type to Assistant.

Screenshot showing row 4, highlighted.

6. In row 5, change the name to Nicole Woods, the title to Shop Assistant, and the Role Type to Assistant.

Screenshot showing row 5, highlighted.

7. Delete the rows we don't need. This would be rows 6-8.

8. Click Refresh on the chart, to see the following.

Screenshot showing the created flow chart.

So, the Add-in really simplifies the creation and updating of organizational diagrams. To learn more about the Data Visualizer Add-in, please visit this post.

The Duplicate Remover Add-in

As a small business owner, you will frequently create spreadsheets to store customer details or lists of suppliers. These spreadsheets will often contain duplicates. Removing duplicates in Excel can be a bit of a pain. The Duplicate Remover Add-in addresses the issue of duplicate removal in a simple way. The Duplicate Remover Add-in is available from the Integrated Store.

  • Let's see how to remove duplicates from our list of Suppliers.

1. We have a list of suppliers shown in column A.

Screenshot showing the source dataset.

2. Now go to the Insert Tab and in the Add-ins Group, select My Add-ins.

Screenshot showing the My Add-ins option, highlighted.

3. Select the Duplicate Remover Add-in and click Add.

Screenshot showing the Add button, highlighted.

4. The Duplicate Remover Add-in should now be visible from the Excel Interface. It automatically detects the column of interest.

Screenshot showing the Duplicate Remover Add-in.

5. Click Next.

6. In the Choose what to find section, select Duplicates.

Screenshot showing Duplicates, highlighted.

7.  Click Next.

8. In the Choose what to do section, select Delete Rows and then click Finish.

Screenshot showing the Choose what to do section, highlighted.

9. You should now see the following.

Screenshot showing the duplicates removed.

10. You can now close the Add-in window.

The duplicates have been removed in a much simpler and more user-friendly way than some of the traditional methods.

The Flexfind Add-in

In order to use the Flexfind Add-in you have to download and install it manually. If you are unsure about how to do this, then please click here. The Flexfind Add-in was developed by Excel MVP Jan Karel Pieterse.

Flexfind makes searching for text strings and replacing them so much easier. When using Flexfind, you will get a detailed list of all instances of the string. As a small business owner, you may find that your company's name has been misspelt in various elements on your worksheet. You may have let another employee create the worksheet. With Flexfind you can do advanced replacements, such as replacing a company name in all the charts in your workbook. You can also replace your company's name in headers across sheets, if it has been entered incorrectly.

  • Let's see how to replace a company name, that occurs in the titles of all the charts on a worksheet. The company's name has been spelt wrong, it should be Company ADE instead of company AEE.

Screenshot showing the source dataset.

1. Go to the Home Tab, and in the Flexfind Group, click on the FlexFind icon.

Screenshot showing the Flexfind option, highlighted.

2. The Flexible find & replace utility Window should appear.

Screenshot showing the Flexible find & replace utility Window.

3. For Text to Find: enter Company AEE. For Text to replace with: enter Company ADE. Under Look In:, change from Book to This Sheet. Check the Objects Box.

Top 5 Free Excel Add-ins for Small Businesses - OnMSFT.com - October 17, 2022

4. Click the Find button to see all the instances of where the specified text string occurs.

Screenshot showing where all instances of the specified text string occurs.

5. Now click the Replace button. You should see the following Window, click the Yes to All button.

Top 5 Free Excel Add-ins for Small Businesses - OnMSFT.com - October 17, 2022

6. You should see all the charts now have the correct company name.

Screenshot showing all the charts with the correct company name.

An absolute marvel.

Wrapping Up

Excel Add-Ins can greatly increase your productivity and reduce the time spent on complicated tasks. Let us know in the comments, about your preferred Add-ins.

Find out more about what’s new in Excel here.

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