Technical people frequently respond to "I want an Excel spreadsheet"
with "Here is a CSV file."
But end-users are not talking about this:
They want this:
to see larger image.
to see larger image.
"Minutes after I read your ad, I
was called in by management to discuss how we can create spreadsheets
directly from our database. They were tired of having to import into
Excel. I downloaded the demo, and had spreadsheets being generated by
the following morning ... they love it! I have since added the option
to most of the key reports management uses. ... The most worthwhile
$200 we've spent! Well documented and easy to use. Keep up the great
- David Gordon, Information Manager, CardPak Inc.
I.T. people assume it's OK to provide a CSV file in response to a request
for Excel. But many Excel users, even those who just want basic formatting,
will spend many hours each week reformatting plain data that they get
from their I.T. department - and often the I.T. people have no idea this
is happening. Go ahead - ask your end-users what they do with the CSV
files you give them.
So when your users ask for an Excel spreadsheet, give them one that's
ready to use without post-processing.
It's said that 80% of end-users only use 20% of the
features in Excel - sometimes only colors and font changes. But there's
a major gap between a completely unformatted CSV file and even the small
subset of features that a typical end-user needs.
You can create real Excel workbooks which include:
- multiple spreadsheets
- column widths and row heights, defined or autofit to data
- merged cells
- formatted data values
- formulas with absolute or relative addressing
- colors, fonts, patterns, borders, and other style detail images
- ...and other features that people have come to expect out of the Microsoft
Documents created by NebulaXLite
work with OpenOffice and Google Docs too!
"I originally thought NebulaXLite
might be a nice tool to have but not much beyond that. We get asked
for a lot of information, invoices, and reports from hospital administrators,
practice managers, and physicians. The common theme is that they all
want their reports in a spreadsheet because that is what they are used
to dealing with. I did not realize how much time our staff was spending
generating CSV files and then manipulating that data to make it palatable
to the data consumers. Since we installed NebulaXLite I've been getting
almost daily emails from both staff and outside consumers that are receiving
the spreadsheets from NebulaXLite now, and they all love them. The staff
loves them because it has taken a tedious 3 step process and made it
one step. The outside folks love them because they are so much more
usable and attractive. It's become a real cost effective, time saving
tool for us in a short time."
- Steven P Douglas, Medical Billing Management Sytems
How? At the core of NebulaXLite is a Pick BASIC subroutine, callable
from your own code, so any MultiValue application can generate rich Excel
workbooks with attractive content.
Many years ago we offered NebulAnalysis which allowed definition of very
complex spreadsheets. It included charts, graphs, pivot tables, and many
of the other 80% of Excel features that most people don't use. The decision
was made to scale back and offer a simpler product that just did what
most people need.
The new NebulaXLite creates SpreadsheetML - an XML document with a good
deal of formatting, but not "the whole enchillada". When saved
as a .XLS file, this document will open as an attractive and fully functional
Excel workbook with one or more spreadsheets.
The following image shows a simple but attractive Excel workbook, completely
generated with NebulaXLite.
Click image to open spreadsheet!
to see larger image.
That spreadsheet was created with a Pick BASIC (DataBASIC) program
- the entire source for which is provided
NebulaXLite does much more than just decorate your data:
- Metadata fields include Company Name, Keywords, and Document
Title, Description, and Category.
- Care is taken to ensure Date and Time data are properly
stored in GMT/Zulu format.
- Default GMT offset from server is stored in the document.
- Default printing specs are embedded in the document.
- Each spreadsheet has a name. (CSV doesn't even permit
- The generating program can set the active spreadsheet
and cell which will be visible when the document is first opened.
- Units are properly converted among Points, Pixels, and
- Default masks are provided for common Date and Time values.
- Other common constant values are defined to minimize development
and runtime errors.
- And you may notice from the image above that documents
can be opened and manipulated in a browser too.
Once the XML is returned to the application code, the developer is free
to continue to change it before saving it to the host OS as a .XLS file.
NebluaXLite was written to run in most or all MV DBMS environments, can
be run over any Windows or *nix Operating System and -
NebulaXLite doesn't even need
Excel anywhere in the environment!
That's right - since we're generating XML, the only person who needs
Excel is the person viewing the finished document.
Nebula Research and Development offers a free NebulaXLite trial license
to developers. The trial software is fully functional but all trial licenses
have an expiry date stated on the download
More information can be found in the NebulaXLite FAQ.