Navipane for Excel

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jethro's picture

Navipane contacted me to review their addin for Excel on this site.
I went to the Navipane website, downloaded, installed and used the Navipane addin for Excel. I noticed there a bunch of similar addins for other Microsoft Products, notably PowerPoint, Word and Access.

I am using Excel 2007 so this review relates to how I interacted with Navipane in that environment.

When installing you are required to have Excel closed.
The first thing I noticed after opening Excel again was that there was an addin menu called Navipane in the ribbon, and a resize able tabbed window had opened up on the right hand side of the Excel pane titled Navipane System.
The tabs listed are Home, Sheets, Favorites and History.

The active work books are listed in the home tab with a plus button. Once I clicked this it dropped down a whole bunch of items and listed the numbers in brackets (like Outlook does) specific to this workbook where relevant.
These included:

  • Comments
  • Lists
  • Names
  • Formulae
  • Auto Filters
  • Conditional Formats
  • Charts
  • Worksheets
  • And more

Where there are sub items the plus button appears and you can drop down a list of these. One of the spreadsheets I had open had 7189 formula listed. I thought I would click this to see how it handled. I expected it to crash Excel (not sure why) but it surprised me by taking about 2 seconds to display the scrollable list.
Navigating to items is simple, click the item in a list and the display changes to the selected item. Formulas, lists, worksheets - all worked great. Makes large workbooks very navigable by exposing these elements.

Sheets Organizer
The sheets organizer gives a view of all the sheets in the workbook, and allows you to drag and drop sheets to change their location. Nothing startling here, but it is a bit easier to use than the normal horizontal sheet tabs due to the more space available in a vertical format.
On a second look I noticed the additional actions available through some icons including:
Make an index sheet - very good - I used it on a file with 86 sheets and it took about 2 seconds to create an index sheet using hyperlinks to all the files sheets as well as some useful sheet information.
Sort - various sort options available to resort sheets in the workbook
Bulk Hide, Unhide, Very Hide, Print, Delete, Protect and Unprotect Sheets - this looks good - the ability to select multiple sheets and unhide them has previously been unavailable in Excel and very annoying too.

Of course there is a quick bit of VBA code that will bulk unhide all sheets in a workbook

Sub AllVisibleSheets()
Dim ws As Worksheet
For Each ws In Sheets
ws.Visible = True
Next ws
End Sub

I was initially unable to see how to use this feature without looking in the help. The help was very nicely laid out, context sensitive and gave me this information about favorites:
The favorites center allows you to keep a repository of frequently used workbooks, presentations or documents.
You can also organize your workbooks that are related into "groups" which are just like folders. Not surprisingly, the name for such entities are Groups.
The Favorites Center is very intuitive to us because it is drag-and-drop compatible.

Aha. then I noticed the little icons on the side of the tabbed window. These change with the selection. In Favorites you can add groups, files to groups, delete favorite files and groups and extract all favorite information to anew workbook. Probably not something I will use, but may be useful to some.

The history obviously only works from time of install, as it only displayed the files I had opened since installing Navipane. However it groups files back to 91 days or more. This is a far more extensive list than Excel's built in remembered file list.
From here the icons allow you to toggle history on/off, add or remove an item to favorites or extract to a workbook.

The Navipane Ribbon
the Navipane ribbon primarily item exposes the parts of the tabbed window by making them accessible from a clearly laid out ribbon view. It also includes options, help and a check for updates button as well as a make index page and data extraction buttons.

Navipane seems to be a very good Addin. I think I will keep it for now. The uncluttered interface (without a million confusing options) and the very good tools that were previously unavailable in Excel (bulk Unhide in particular) make it attractive to me.

My recommendation, download the Navipane addin for Excel and try it.


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trackt's picture

Nice review. It looks like a

Nice review. It looks like a very nice add-in

jethro's picture

Update - Navipane sent me a

Update - Navipane sent me a licence for the product after I wrote this review - I am enjoying using it and especially like the index page creation function. Note the trial version is fully functional but time limited.

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