Never E-mail Excel Files Again With This Game-Changing Tool

Your boss tells you to build a simple model, perhaps finding the break-even point for your business or forecasting the T&E cost for your cost center. You go build the model in Excel on a few sheets, carefully labeling the input cells and linking cells together to make sure the whole model works. You use various formulas like VLOOKUP, INDEX, MATCH, and OFFSET to make your model robust. You e-mail the model to you boss and he comes back with 10 edits to the way you are calculating the expected airfare or wants to introduce a new variable to the break-even analysis. Before you know it, your model is at version 9 and you are constantly e-mailing back and forth with your boss. Sound familiar?

Game of Thrones slap

Stop e-mailing me versions of an Excel file when you are simply changing one formula.


Yup, if you’re an analyst you may have encountered this at one point or another. Google Sheets definitely solves a lot of these problems since you are able to collaborate and edit your spreadsheet on the fly. However, if you are creating an advanced model with many different formulas and spreadsheets, you still may be better off using Excel to do the heavy lifting.

We came across a tool called Appizy based in France that converts your Excel workbook into a fully functioning web app for the cloud. Instead of e-mailing Excel files with different versions, you simply convert your Excel file in Appizy into a web application that can be used by all your colleagues or boss by simply sharing them the link to your app. The founder of Appizy, Nicolas Hefti, was working for a big company and developed Appizy to help solve a problem his boss at the time was having with sending Excel files back and forth. Nicolas created this simple solution to solve a problem for his boss, but ultimately it transformed into something much bigger which is why he started working on Appizy full-time.


A Basic Template For Splitting Costs With Friends

I recently came back from a trip with a bunch of friends and during the trip people bought dinners, snacks, and other group expenses. How many times have you gone on these trips and during the trip you just tell each other “we’ll take care of the expenses after the trip.” Makes sense right? You don’t want to have to deal with splitting the costs while you’re eating a bucket of 50 wings.

Undoubtedly, someone will get shafted if no one follows up with the costs and sets up a template for accurately splitting up the costs. I created a simple template that let’s you enter in your costs and indicate who in your group should pay for part of that cost. The model then tells you who owes what or who is owed something:

Splitting Costs with Frieds

Click on the image to download the template.


I did indeed put this into a Google Sheet and shared the sheet with my friends so they could easily enter in their costs to figure out who owes what. Many organizations don’t use Google Sheets, and would rather have a simple web app that let’s you share a URL to show someone how a model works in a visually appealing way versus opening up an Excel file.

How To Convert An Excel File On Appizy

It is a pretty simple process, you go Appizy’s website and first create an account. Select a .xlsx file you want to convert for step 1.

Step 2 is a little more complicated, since you need to make sure the settings for the conversion are properly set up. When you click on the Options link below the “Start Conversion” button, you’ll get a few options that are not super user-friendly, but when you hover over each option an info box pops up telling you more about that specific setting.

Appizy settings

For creating a web app, you want to make sure the “Conversion Type” is a Web Application. The Bootstrap layout creates more of a document that is not as interactive as a web app. Leave “Compact CSS” as Yes since this allows for speedier apps. The jQuery UI Tabs basically allows you to convert multiple sheets into different “tabs” on the final app versus simple links. Finally, if you want to give your teammates and colleagues the ability to edit the values in the web app, I would recommend leaving the String and Number checkboxes unchecked.

The result is pretty cool, Appizy is able to create a web app that is almost as functional as the original Excel file. There are definitely some UI and formatting issues that could be improved, but the final product is quite impressive. Here is the link to the preview of the app I created using the splitting_costs.xlsx template referenced above:

Appizy splitting costs template

As you can see, the two worksheets from the file are set up as tabs at the top. The formatting from the Excel file didn’t really make it through to the final product, and the SUMPRODUCT() and SUMIF() functions used at the bottom of the file do not work on the web app yet. After talking with the founder of Appizy, I found that he is incorporating more and more functions into the conversion process so more formulas can be accurately converted.

The front-end uses the awesome Bootstrap framework which allows Appizy to work really fast with slick animations.

Old Generation Spreadsheets Catch Up With Innovation On The Web

Excel has been around for more than 20 years and not much has changed in terms of the core functionality of the software. Web development, however, changes every day and Appizy seems like that bridge between old legacy software applications and the movement that “there’s an app for that” mentality most of us have adopted. The appification of our lives makes Appizy an interesting solution for businesses that require their employees to use these desktop-based software applications that need a quick face lift to make the desktop applications accessible over the cloud.