Making Common Functions Available to Others in Excel


Excel is a powerful tool that allows users to perform complex calculations and analysis with ease. However, imagine the time and effort saved if you could easily share common functions with your colleagues or clients. Making these functions available not only streamlines work processes, but also fosters collaboration and efficiency. By sharing your knowledge and expertise, you empower others to utilize the same shortcuts and formulas, allowing them to work smarter, not harder. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of making common functions available in Excel and the benefits it brings to both you and those around you.

Key Takeaways

  • Sharing common functions in Excel saves time and effort for both individuals and teams.
  • Creating custom functions in Excel using VBA allows for flexibility and efficiency in calculations.
  • Adding functions to the Personal Macro Workbook provides easy accessibility and storage.
  • Methods for sharing functions include using Excel Add-ins and shared network drives or email attachments.
  • Using shared functions in Excel promotes consistency and saves time.

Creating Custom Functions

Excel is a powerful tool that offers a wide range of built-in functions to help users perform calculations and manipulate data. However, there may be instances where you need to create your own custom functions to meet specific requirements. In this chapter, we will discuss the process of creating custom functions in Excel and how they can be made available to others.

Using the Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) Editor

Excel's Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) editor provides a user-friendly interface for writing custom functions. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to use the VBA editor to create your own functions:

  1. Open Excel and press Alt + F11 to launch the VBA editor.
  2. In the VBA editor window, click on Insert and select Module to insert a new module.
  3. Within the module, write your custom function using VBA syntax. This includes defining the function name, arguments, and return value.
  4. Save your code by pressing Ctrl + S or clicking on the save icon.
  5. Close the VBA editor and return to Excel.

Example: Calculating Sales Tax

Let's consider an example of a custom function that calculates sales tax. Assume that the sales tax rate is 7%. Here's how you can write the custom function in VBA:

Function CalculateSalesTax(amount As Double) As Double
    CalculateSalesTax = amount * 0.07
End Function

Once you have created this custom function using the VBA editor, you can use it in any cell within your Excel workbook by entering =CalculateSalesTax(A1) (assuming the amount is in cell A1). The function will automatically calculate and display the sales tax based on the given amount.

Flexibility and Efficiency

Creating custom functions in Excel offers significant flexibility and efficiency. By writing your own functions, you can tailor them to specific needs and simplify complex calculations. Custom functions eliminate the need for repetitive formulas, making your spreadsheets more concise and easier to maintain.

Furthermore, custom functions can be shared with others, allowing them to utilize the same functionality in their own workbooks. This promotes collaboration and ensures consistent results across multiple users or departments.

Overall, the ability to create custom functions in Excel enhances productivity and empowers users to leverage the full potential of the software.

Adding Functions to the Personal Macro Workbook

In Excel, the Personal Macro Workbook provides a convenient way to store and access custom functions. By adding your own functions to the Personal Macro Workbook, you can make them available for use in any workbook without the need to recreate them every time. In this chapter, we will explore how to add custom functions to the Personal Macro Workbook and discuss the advantages of doing so.

Explain how to add custom functions to the Personal Macro Workbook in Excel

To add custom functions to the Personal Macro Workbook in Excel, follow these steps:

  • Open Excel and go to the "View" tab on the ribbon.
  • Click on the "Macros" drop-down arrow and select "Record Macro" to open the "Record Macro" dialog box.
  • In the "Record Macro" dialog box, enter a name for your macro in the "Macro name" field.
  • Choose "Personal Macro Workbook" from the "Store macro in" drop-down list.
  • Click on the "OK" button to start recording the macro.
  • In the Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) editor, write your custom function code.
  • Save and close the VBA editor to stop recording the macro.

By following these steps, you have successfully added a custom function to the Personal Macro Workbook in Excel, making it available for use in any workbook.

Highlight the advantage of storing functions in the Personal Macro Workbook for easy access

The Personal Macro Workbook offers several advantages when it comes to storing functions for easy access:

  • Consistency: By storing your custom functions in the Personal Macro Workbook, you ensure that they are consistently available across all workbooks. This eliminates the need to recreate the functions every time you start a new project.
  • Efficiency: With functions readily available in the Personal Macro Workbook, you can save time by avoiding the need to search for or recreate commonly used functions.
  • Portability: The Personal Macro Workbook can be easily transferred to other computers, allowing you to bring your custom functions with you wherever you work.

These advantages make the Personal Macro Workbook a powerful tool for managing and accessing custom functions in Excel.

Discuss the steps to enable the Personal Macro Workbook in Excel

To enable the Personal Macro Workbook in Excel, follow these steps:

  • Go to the "File" tab on the ribbon and click on "Options" to open the Excel Options dialog box.
  • In the Excel Options dialog box, select "Customize Ribbon" from the left-hand side.
  • Check the box next to "Developer" in the list of main tabs on the right-hand side.
  • Click on the "OK" button to save the changes and close the Excel Options dialog box.
  • Now, the "Developer" tab should appear on the ribbon. Click on it.
  • In the "Code" group, click on the "Record Macro" button to open the "Record Macro" dialog box.
  • Select "Personal Macro Workbook" from the "Store macro in" drop-down list.
  • Click on the "OK" button to start recording the macro.
  • Save and close the Personal Macro Workbook to complete the process.

By following these steps, you have successfully enabled the Personal Macro Workbook in Excel, allowing you to store and access your custom functions.

Sharing Functions with Others

When you've created custom functions in Excel that you believe could be helpful to others, it's important to know how to share them effectively. In this chapter, we'll explore various methods for sharing custom functions with others in Excel, including saving and distributing functions in an Excel Add-in file, using shared network drives, and sending functions through email attachments.

Save and Distribute Functions in an Excel Add-in File

If you want to share your custom functions with others, one of the most efficient methods is by saving them in an Excel Add-in file. An Excel Add-in is a file that contains macros, custom functions, and other code that can extend Excel's functionality. Here's how you can save and distribute functions using an Add-in file:

  • Create the Add-in File: Open Excel and navigate to the "Developer" tab. If the "Developer" tab is not visible, enable it by going to "File" > "Options" > "Customize Ribbon" and selecting the "Developer" checkbox. Once you have access to the "Developer" tab, click on "Excel Add-ins" and then "Browse" to select the file that contains your custom functions.
  • Enable the Add-in: After selecting the Add-in file, ensure that the checkbox next to its name is checked, and then click "OK". This will enable the Add-in, making its functions available to other Excel users.
  • Distribute the Add-in File: Once you have created and enabled the Add-in file, you can distribute it to others by sending them the file or making it available for download on a shared network drive or online platform. Users can then install the Add-in by opening Excel and going to "File" > "Options" > "Add-ins" > "Manage Excel Add-ins" and clicking on "Browse" to locate the Add-in file.

Benefits of Using Add-ins for Sharing Functions

Using Excel Add-ins to share custom functions offers several benefits, including:

  • Portability: Add-ins can be easily installed and used on different computers, ensuring that your custom functions are readily available to others regardless of their device or location.
  • Version Control: By distributing your functions through an Add-in file, you can easily update and manage the functions without affecting the users' files. This allows for better control over versioning and ensures that users have access to the latest versions of your functions.

Sharing Functions through Shared Network Drives or Email Attachments

If you prefer not to use Add-ins or if the recipients of your functions do not have the ability to install Add-ins, there are alternative methods for sharing functions:

  • Shared Network Drives: If you have access to a shared network drive, you can save your functions in a file and place it in a shared folder. Users can then access and use those functions by opening the file from the shared drive.
  • Email Attachments: Another option is to send the file containing your functions as an email attachment. The recipient can download the file, open it in Excel, and start using the functions immediately.

By following these guidelines, you can effectively share your custom functions with others in Excel, whether through Add-ins or alternative methods like shared network drives or email attachments. This allows you to contribute to a collaborative Excel community and help others improve their productivity and efficiency.

Using Shared Functions

Once shared functions have been made available in Excel, it is important to understand how to use them effectively. In this chapter, we will explore the steps to access and utilize shared functions, as well as discuss the advantages of using them.

Load and Activate Add-ins

Step 1: Launch Excel and open the workbook in which you want to use the shared functions.

Step 2: Navigate to the File tab at the top left corner of the Excel window.

Step 3: Click on Options in the left-hand menu to open the Excel Options dialog box.

Step 4: Within the Excel Options dialog box, select Add-Ins from the left-hand menu.

Step 5: Near the bottom of the Add-Ins window, click on the Manage drop-down menu and select Excel Add-ins. Then, click on the Go button.

Step 6: In the Add-Ins dialog box, click on the Browse button to locate the shared functions file (with .xlam extension) on your computer.

Step 7: Once you have selected the shared functions file, click on the OK button in the Add-Ins dialog box. The shared functions will now be loaded and available in Excel.

Advantages of Using Shared Functions

Utilizing shared functions in Excel offers several advantages:

  • Consistency: By using shared functions, it ensures that calculations and processes remain consistent throughout different workbooks. This reduces the risk of human error and improves overall accuracy.
  • Time-saving: Shared functions eliminate the need to recreate complex formulas or processes in multiple workbooks. By simply loading and activating the shared functions, users can save time and focus on other important tasks.
  • Efficiency: With shared functions readily available, users can quickly access and apply pre-defined functions, macros, or custom calculations. This enhances productivity and streamlines workflow.
  • Collaboration: Sharing functions across multiple users or teams promotes collaboration and standardization. It allows for seamless integration of functions into different workbooks, enhancing communication and teamwork.

By understanding how to use shared functions and recognizing their advantages, Excel users can optimize their workflow and achieve consistent and efficient results.

Best Practices for Sharing Functions

When it comes to sharing functions with others in Excel, there are some best practices that can greatly enhance the effectiveness and usability of these shared functions. By following these tips, you can ensure that your functions are easy to understand, use, and maintain, promoting collaboration and efficiency in Excel projects.

Ensure the Effectiveness and Usability of Shared Functions

When sharing functions, it's essential to consider the needs and preferences of the users who will be utilizing these functions. Here are some tips to ensure their effectiveness and usability:

  • Simplify the function: Keep the function as simple and concise as possible, focusing on fulfilling a specific task rather than trying to do too much.
  • Use meaningful names: Give the function a descriptive name that accurately reflects its purpose, making it easier for others to identify and use.
  • Optimize for performance: Ensure that the function is efficient and does not cause any unnecessary delays or errors in calculations.

Stress the Importance of Clear Documentation and Comments

Clear documentation and comments are essential when sharing functions, as they provide crucial guidance and understanding to users. Consider the following suggestions:

  • Provide a description: Include a brief description of what the function does and any relevant details about its usage or limitations.
  • Add comments in the code: Insert comments within the function's code to explain key steps or complex formulas, making it easier for others to follow.
  • Include examples: Offer examples that demonstrate how the function can be used in different scenarios, showcasing its versatility and applicability.

Discuss the Significance of Testing and Validating Functions

Prior to sharing a function, it is crucial to test and validate it to ensure its accuracy and reliability. Here are some reasons why testing is significant:

  • Identify and correct errors: Testing helps uncover any errors or bugs in the function, allowing you to address them before sharing with others.
  • Ensure compatibility: Verify that the function works correctly with different versions of Excel and in various environments to ensure broad usability.
  • Validate the output: Confirm that the function produces the desired results and behaves as expected in different scenarios.

Encourage Users to Provide Feedback and Suggestions

Feedback from users is invaluable for improving shared functions. By actively encouraging users to provide feedback and suggestions, you foster a collaborative environment and continuously enhance the quality and usability of your functions. Consider the following strategies:

  • Provide a feedback mechanism: Offer a way for users to easily provide feedback, such as through a comments section or an email address.
  • Actively respond to feedback: Take the time to acknowledge and respond to user feedback, showing that their input is valued and considered.
  • Iterate and improve: Use the feedback received to iterate on your functions, making necessary improvements and addressing any identified issues.


In conclusion, making common functions available to others in Excel offers a range of benefits. It allows for more efficient workflows and ensures consistency across projects. By sharing expertise and collaborating effectively, teams can harness the collective knowledge of their members and produce higher quality work. Efficient collaboration is key to success in any organization, and sharing custom functions in Excel is an essential part of this process.

We encourage users to explore the possibilities of sharing and utilizing custom functions in Excel. By doing so, you can unlock new levels of productivity and streamline your work. Take advantage of the power of Excel, and don't hesitate to leverage the expertise of others. Together, we can achieve great things.

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