Excel and Analytica
Analytica plays nice with Excel and other spreadsheets. Even if you prefer to build models in Analytica, you may want to link it to spreadsheets. You may want to import input settings and data from a spreadsheet. Or you may want to save model results to a spreadsheet for others to review, share, or generate graphs.
There are several ways to read inputs from a spreadsheet into Analytica and write results back to a spreadsheet:
- Usually the simplest is to use standard Analytica functions that read from and write to Excel spreadsheets. These functions can open a spreadsheet, read from or write to a cell, cell range, named range, or worksheet. They can read and write formulas and formats as well as simple numbers or text values.
- In Analytica Cloud Player, these spreadsheet functions can prompt a user to upload or download a spreadsheet from or to their computer. For details see Spreadsheets in ACP.
- OLE linking lets you can link a cell or range in Excel with a corresponding Analytica variables. Any changes to the spreadsheet propagate automatically to the Analytica model, and vice versa. If both Analytica model and spreadsheet are open, each update to one propagates immediately to the other. If not, the update propagates when you next open the closed file (Analytica model or Excel spreadsheet). OLE is a standard Microsoft technology for creating live links among Microsoft Office products, including MS Excel and Word.
- COM Integration (Component Object Model) also lets you link Link from Analytica to Excel. It is another widely used Microsoft-developed method for communicating between Windows applications. Analytica's COM functions let you access just about all features of Excel and other Microsoft Office applications. See COM and Excel examples for how this works.
- You can also use ODBC, a widely used standard for reading and writing relational databases, to access Microsoft Excel.
Convert a spreadsheet into Analytica
If you have have a spreadsheet that is too cumbersome, opaque, or inflexible, you may wish to translate it into Analytica. You will end up with a model that is much clearer and simpler. The Analytica file is often 10 to 40 times smaller than the original Excel file -- even though you have added information in the form of visual influence diagrams and documentation, This dramatic reduction in size and complexity reflects a corresponding reduction in the effort to understand, test, communicate, and maintain a model. Translating a spreadsheet is also a powerful way to find inconsistencies or errors by comparing the results of the spreadsheet and the Analytica model. The translation process often surfaces errors that were previously hidden in the spreadsheet.
See the Excel to Analytica Translation for a step-by-step guide to convert a spreadsheet into Analytica. We have yet to find an Excel calculation that can't be converted into Analytica.
Excel to Analytica Mappings shows the Analytica function or expression equivalent for most Excel functions.