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Excel 2011 supports UDFs?

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I had a chance (30 minutes) to play with Excel 2011 on the Mac OS X today. I was shocked to discover that Excel 2011 didn’t appear to support User-Defined Functions (UDFs) like Excel 2010 for Windows. My understanding was that this release would be one where it implemented Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) like Windows. Initially I thought it didn’t but I bought my own copy, did a full install with Visual Basic, and it appears that Microsoft has delivered. Oops, my bad for assuming the machine I played on originally had a solid installation. It appears to have had only a standard installation.

Watch out because UDFs fail with a #NAME! error on a standard install of Excel 2011. While they’re found in the Insert Function dialog in both cases, they only appear to work with a full installation. The downside for Insert Function is that, like Excel 2008, it has no quick poplist to narrow the function choices to groups. We have the big list once more.

Here are my test functions:

Function hello()
  hello = "Hello World!"
End Function
Function hellowhom(nameIn As Variant)
  hellowhom = "Hello " + CStr(nameIn) + "!"
End Function

I think I found the trick to get Excel 2011 recognize and run User-Defined Functions. Make sure you do a custom installation and check Visual Basic for Application. Anyway, you can test these functions like that shown below. Column A contains the text of the formulas (a preceding single quote does that), and column B contains actual function calls.

Enabling the Developer ribbon took a few moments when I got my own copy. I figured that updating this was better than making a new post on the blog and linking them. It’s a three step process.

  1. Navigate to the Excel menu item and select Preferences…, as shown below.

  1. In the Excel Preferences shown below, click the Ribbon icon.

  1. In the Show or hide tabs, or drag them into the order you prefer: box shown below, enable the Developer checkbox.

It’s awesome, now accountants and economists can switch to Mac OS X without having to host a virtual machine with Microsoft Excel.

Written by maclochlainn

November 4th, 2010 at 3:40 pm