Frequently Asked Questions

Add-ins in general

Q: What are the system requirements?

The tools support the 32bit versions of Office® 2010 and higher. The tools do not support Office® for Mac.


Q: Do I Lose "Undo" when running the Helper Add-ins?

Yes. However, most of the actions of the Helpers themselves can be reversed easily, but you do lose pre-previous steps of the undo button (undo stack) in any case. In order to be able to go back to the previous state, you can save your file prior to executing the code. Thus, after running the code and not wanting its results you can discard the changes by reopening the file without saving.


Q: Can I directly click on the dowload file to install the add-ins?

No. The add-in will open, but will not install properly. Follow the steps in the tutorial to install the add-ins properly.


Q: My Add-in ribbon bar does not show!

An Office Update of July 2016 is causing issues, by requiring extra security from files that have been downloaded from the internet. Now, add-ins only execute when stored in "trusted locations".  

The Planning Helper Install Add-ins Helper is designed to deal with this issue. You can select add-in files from any location and the Install Add-ins Helper will install a workable add-in in and place it either in the user's default add-in folder or into a folder of the user's choice.

Three options to manually deal with this issue:

  1. The quickest: Open the file properties and tick the "unblock" option - if there is. (Thus switching off the zone identifier of the NTFS Alternate Data Streams). This works only, if you are admin of  your PC.
  2. The most practical: Send yourself an email with the add-in attached. This sounds odd, but Windows knows the add-in came from the Internet from the data inside the NTFS ADS (Alternate Data Streams), a kind of metadata. However this metadata is lost, when sending by e-mail (or saving to a FAT-formated thumb-drive).
  3. The most "by the book": Make your chosen folder a "trusted location" by following the steps as advised by Microsoft Office Support: Add, remove, or change a trusted location. The default Excel add-in folder is in most cases a "trusted location" by default. Though this method is recommended by Microsoft, it does not seem to work in all cases.

Links to further help:


Q: Are your add-ins VBA or COM add-ins?

Planning Helpers are VBA add-ins and come in the regular add-in file formats: .xlam (Excel) and .ppam (PowerPoint). For the set-up you do not need admin rights. 


Q: Where is my add-in folder?

It depends on your version of Office

Excel 2016 - C:\Users\"user name"\App Data\Roaming\Microsoft\Addins\

Excel 2013 - C:\Users\"user name"\App Data\Roaming\Microsoft\Addins\

Excel 2010 - C:\Documents and Settings\"user name"\Application Data\Microsoft\Addins\


Q: How do I uninstall the add-in?

Like any other VBA add-in: untick the add-in name in the menu and delete the .xlam file in the Office add-in folder.

  1. Click the File tab, click Options, and then click the Add-Ins category.
  2. In the Manage box, click Excel Add-ins, and then click Go.
  3. In the Add-Ins available box, clear the check box next to the add-in that you want to inactivate, and then click OK.
  4. Clean up: Delete the add-in from the add-in folder

Color Coding Helper


Q: What chart types does the Color Coding Helper work with?

The Color Coding Helper works with all the regular chart types used in business:

  • Column and bar charts
  • Line charts (with and without markers)
  • Scatters (with and without lines)
  • Area charts
  • Pie charts

Not workable chart are:

  • Radar charts
  • Stock charts
  • Bubble charts
  • Surface charts

Q: What kind of colors does the Color Coding Helper work with?

The Color Coding Helper reads colors from a chart to a cell range and back. Thus it can only deal with the colors that can be applied as background colors to cells. These are plain colors, not with color gradients and not colors with transparent color.

Waterfall Chart Helper


Q: The data labels on my waterfall chart do not display the negative values!

Use the 'redo labels' button.

Chart Export Helper


Q: What is the 'alt text' property?

The 'alt text' in Excel consists of 'alt title' and 'description'. These properties' original purpose is to describe the image textually so that search engines and screen readers (software used by the visually impaired) can understand what the image is. This is only rarely used, for instance when publishing an Excel sheet in HTML to the web. Hence, we can safely use this feature for our purposes, e.g. forassigning to an order to charts in a workbook or for storing a chart image's meta information, such as source file name.
Find more on Microsoft Office Support net.

Error messages


Q: Excel shows Run-Time Error 1004

This is a rather rare event. Typcially it occurs with workbooks that have been saved in older versions of Excel before (e.g. created in 2010, saved in 2007, reopened in 2010 --> error). You can usually workaround this by moving your data into created workbook.