Features of XLL Plus for Visual Studio .NET 2003



The AppWizard builds a complete project under Microsoft Developer Studio. The user can decide whether to include various optional features, such as MFC (Microsoft Foundation Classes) integration and version information. The project is immediately ready to compile, link and run. All source files contain helpful comments and are ClassWizard compatible.

All functions required by Excel are added by the wizard. Build the new project and it will immediately be recognized by Excel as an add-in. The user can start writing add-in functions right away.

Function Wizard

The Function Wizard is a Developer Studio add-in, fully integrated into DevStudio. You can use it to specify an Excel add-in function's signature and help texts. It will write the skeletons of functions for you and make sure that they are properly registered and described to Excel. Later, if you add to or change the function's arguments, you can use the Function Wizard to keep the registration details in sync.

Arguments can be specified to be single cells, 1- or 2-dimensional arrays or free-form. You can also specify that all arguments contain certain data types, such as integers, strings etc. The Function Wizard will generate blocks of code that check all the function's inputs for consistency, and extract them into useful variables, such as STL collections.

The Function Wizard supports a full round-trip. If you change the signature of a function, only the wizard-generated code will be changed. Any code you have added to the skeleton yourself will be unaffected.

If your function contains more than 30 arguments, and is therefore too complex for Excel, you can use the Function Wizard to allow individual arguments to be grouped into arrays, and to generate code to split them up again at run-time.

On-line help is available from the Function Wizard, and several chapters of the User Guide are devoted to learning about its effective use.

Class Library

The class library contains a set of C++ objects which hide the complexity of Excel's data interface. In particular, the classes manage all memory issues. A set of virtual functions is provided so that the programmer can write event handlers for the opening, closing or registration of the add-in library.

MFC Support

Libraries can be built using the MFC build, so that they will be fully integrated with the Microsoft Foundation Classes, which makes it easy to use MFC windows and other classes from within your add-in.

COM Integration

You can implement virtual functions to trap most Excel application events, such as files opening and closing, user input, calculation etc. You don't need to write any COM code: the XLL+ framework handles all the work.

On-line Help

XLL+ on-line help is fully integrated into DevStudio, and appears within MSDN. As well as a full reference to all classes and functions, the on-line help also contains a User Guide and a Tutorial. There is also example code for all important methods.

Sample Code

Sample projects are provided to show you how to use all the features of Excel and XLL+. Walkthroughs take you quickly through the standard features of Excel add-ins. There are also smaller sample functions to illustrate all XLL+ methods and classes.