Software

10 cool add-ins for Office 2007 and 2010

Add-ins let you enhance your Office apps so they can do more things -- and do things better. Susan Harkins combed through the vast sea of Office add-ins to produce this list of winners.

As good as the Microsoft Office suite is, some features could be better. Luckily, there's no shortage of add-ins to help fill in the gaps. Add-ins are COM files that enhance existing functionality, making it easier for you to get your work done. Sometimes, this added power comes at a price: Not all add-ins live up to their promises. But the following Office add-ins definitely deliver. They'll help you work more efficiently, and some of them will help you do things you might not otherwise be able to do.

Note: This article is also available as a PDF download and as a photo gallery.

1: Everything

Although Office 2007 and 2010 have improved search capabilities, you still might want to take a look at Everything, by VoidTools. Everything isn't a traditional add-in. Rather, it's an administrative tool that locates files and folders by filename. (It isn't limited to working with just Office.) You type in a search string, and Everything displays a list of matching files and folders. The response is almost instantaneous for normal systems. That's all it does, but it does it well. I don't even bother with the Office search tools anymore.

2: E-mail Follow-up

Waiting on an email response is tedious -- not because you're waiting, but because you forget you're waiting. Well, I do. Then, the project slides a bit and it's my fault because once I sent the email request, I moved on to something else. Outlook tries to help. You can assign a reminder to an email when you send it, which adds an item to your To-Do list. But E-mail Follow-up goes a step further. It lets you set a response time when you create the email; if the recipient hasn't responded by the allotted response time, this nifty little add-in reminds you that you're still waiting on a response. It's extremely handy -- certainly better than the post-it notes I use to use!

3: More Add-in

This tool's name doesn't do it justice. More Add-in lets you quickly and easily hide Word text by creating collapsible sections. Anyone who creates long documents comprising the same blocks of text will find this add-in useful. No more combining or merging.... just clicks! In addition, you can hide notes or any kind of content you want to include but not share. (But don't use this add-in to hide confidential data.) Or temporarily hide sections so you can print some sections and not others.

4: FreeFileViewer

Sometimes, the simple stuff is the best. FreeFileViewer lets you view a number of formats so you need only one viewer. Using FreeFileViewer, you can read a PDF, a Word document, an Excel spreadsheet, and more. You can even play music files. There's not a lot else to say about FreeFileViewer, but as a no-nonsense viewer, it performs well.

5: ASAP Utilities

This Excel add-in is probably one of the most popular -- and it has endured. ASAP Utilities is the turn-to application for both frequent and infrequent users, but for different reasons. For the frequent user, it provides an easy-to-use interface that's just more efficient than Excel. Infrequent users will rely on that interface because solutions are easier to find and implement. If you ever find yourself thinking, I know Excel can do this, but how?, turn to ASAP Utilities.

6: Proposal Pack Wizard

Try this Word add-in if you manage large business documents, such as proposals, contracts, quotes, grants, and bids. Using merge technology, Proposal Pack Wizard lets you quickly assemble documents. It comes with more than 800 templates and 1,300 pages of sample text. While it's easy to implement, it may take awhile to become familiar with all it has to offer and how it works. Don't expect users to churn out a contract 10 minutes after installing.

7: VisualBee

A number of presentation add-ins supply presentation templates, but VisualBee is a bit different. It lets you enhance an existing presentation. When you run VisualBee, it analyses the presentation's text and structure and tries to improve what you've done on your own. It doesn't get everything right, but it'll generate a few keepers -- and you can easily discard what you don't like. The bank of images alone is worth the download.

8: iSpring Pro

iSpring Pro converts a PowerPoint presentation into an online Flash presentation (.swf files). For the most part, it converts everything in a presentation: animation, transitions, videos, audio, the works. Everything converts well --usually. iSpring Pro works quickly and doesn't require a lot of specialized knowledge. It comes in 32- and 64-bit and requires a trial license (which is a bit unusual), but it takes only a second to acquire.

9: Pop-up Excel Calendar

Pop-up Excel Calendar lets you insert and configure a datepicker control without writing code. Simply click the Pop-up Calendar tab, which is added to the Ribbon, insert the calendar, check a few settings, and you're done. It's hard to find something any simpler than this one.

10: Fuzzy Duplicate Finder for Microsoft Excel

I'm often asked for easy ways to clean up Excel data, and I've finally found something I can recommend. Fuzzy Duplicate Finder works with Excel versions 2000 through 2007. It helps you find all those fuzzy duplicates -- those mistakes that don't always show up as mistakes.  It'll also find typos and misspelled words in your Excel workbooks and help you handle what it finds. It's a neat and useful tool.

Other favorites?

Have you tried any of the add-ins on this list? Thumbs up or thumbs down? What other Office add-ins would you recommend?

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

43 comments
XLTools Add-Ins
XLTools Add-Ins

You may also like our free add-ins collection: http://xltools.net/


Here is the list of major features: 
  • Popup Calendar
  • Combine Cells Data
  • Sheet Switcher (Alt-Tab analog for Excel tabs)
  • History of Changes for Excel document
  • Data Cleansing and more!
Give it a try!

A.Novitsky
A.Novitsky

I liked this Outlook Add-in for Easy Projects, manage your projects, tasks, use live chat. Look at here www.easyprojectsaddin.com

qery
qery

There is also an XLnotes (http://xlnotes.com) addin that allows to create rich comments with Word documents, web pages and attachemts. Very handy if you need to add pictures, files and such to your data.

candace545
candace545

I am sick of MS office for some reason and I have switched to the open source software that is similar (openoffice) and I kind of prefer it, for now!

franciscus.maas
franciscus.maas

I can think of a couple of other ones which I find useful for Excel by AppsPro that are free to boot. These are: 1) XY Charts Labels (http://www.appspro.com/Utilities/ChartLabeler.htm) which allows you to specify custom labels for points in bulk. Instead of being stuck with just using the X and/or y values you can use any data-range in a worksheet. 2) Excel Utilities (http://www.appspro.com/Utilities/ExcelUtilities.htm) which gives you a number of tools missing from Excel 2007 and 2010.

jack6666
jack6666

... I was aware of, but the comprehensiveness of this list was most appreciated by me and I couldn't help but take the time to kindly and warmly offer my most sincere thanks, darling! Outdoor Lights | Landscape Lighting Ideas | Install Outdoor Motion Detector Light Switch

Ron_007
Ron_007

I too would have really liked to see the list price of the recommendations (since I'm on a $0.00 computing budget right now). I'm pleased to see (free) Everything at the top of the list, even if it isn't really an office "add-in". I've been recommending it to people for years. Since it does not index the content of the files (which is why the MS search tool is such a CPU PIG), I have gotten into the habit of adding prefix and suffix tags to file names to help group them by subject. My top recommendation for Office addin is the (free) Search command addin, from MS Search Command Addon - 2007 & 2010 www.officelabs.com/projects/searchcommands/Pages/default.aspx . It adds a "search tab" to the apps so you can type a command name and pick from a list of potential matches. As well, you have the option of displaying the path to the commands in the popup so you can use it as a learning tool too. Office Watch Word Command Finder - http://news.office-watch.com/commandlist/Word_2010.aspx - This is a free web based command search tool for Word 2010 only (at this time). Obviously It presents the results in a different format than the MS tool. The next 2 are free applets from MS that displays a 2003 menu. You click on your "missing" command, and the applet morphs to display it's location in a 2007/2010 ribbon. Map 2003 menu to 2007 Ribbon Flash Applets, spreadsheets - https://office.microsoft.com/en-us/support/guides-to-the-ribbon-use-office-2003-menus-to-learn-the-office-2007-user-interface-HA010229584.aspx Map 2003 menu to 2010 Ribbon Siliverlight applets and spreadsheets- https://office.microsoft.com/en-us/support/learn-where-menu-and-toolbar-commands-are-in-office-2010-and-related-products-HA101794130.aspx?CTT=3 This is a free booklet. Stop Clicking and Exploring Excel 2007 like a Newbie - http://www.scribd.com/doc/29093109/Stop-Clicking-Exploring-Excel-Ribbon-Like-Newbie - Although it is written for Excel, the general principals starting around page 10 apply to any Ribbonized app. It puts you in a better frame of mind about the ribbon gooey, especially if you hate it (like I still do...) This is a free web page that has hundreds of links to blogs describing the development of the ribbon. The Office UI Bible - http://pschmid.net/blog/2006/10/09/58 - This page has 100???s of links to the blog of the MS Manager in-charge of Designing the Ribbon Gooey. It is literally, more than you ever wanted to know about the ???Why???s??? of the Ribbon (whether you agree with them or not ). Can anyone say if the FreeFileViewer places a lock on files it is reading? That is currently an issue with the Windows Explorer Preview Pane. If you are previewing a file, it can only be opened "read only" Susan, thanks for a good list. I always enjoy seeing the extra goodies that show up in the comments.

jsm555
jsm555

For years we've used a product called "Aladdins Envelopes and Labels" - some time back, we switched from Outlook to Thunderbird, but after two years, we purchased 7 copies of Office 2007 (a pretty big investment for a small operation like ours), and one of the main reasons was that Aladdins doesn't support Thunderbird. Aladdins Envelopes and Labels will create and address envelopes, allow the user to maintain templates with logos, etc. I've looked at a lot of 'envelope' and 'label' programs but haven't found anything that does what this product does - and it's not expensive at all. I use it for everything from sending single postcards for past-due accounts, to sending a hundred or so Christmas cards. You simply highlight the contacts you want to make an envelope/label for, and select the template. Very easy. And even though the company is based all the way in New Zealand, the support for the product has been a refreshingly pleasant experience. www.software-solutions.co.nz

radar_z
radar_z

Programs or Add-ins like iSpring Pro (regularly $249) may be great, but I would like the person who suggests an add-in to indicate what the price is. This will save us going to the web site and then hunting around to find the web page which actually shows a price. Had I known the price I would not have bothered to go to the web site as it is too expensive for my taste.

pcrx_greg
pcrx_greg

I like the Save as PDF or XPS addin for Office 2007. Very handy for sending out documents that anyone can get a Reader to use.

batnet
batnet

Proposal Pack Wizard Software Details Provided by:Cyber Sea, Inc. Product:Word Listing type:Download Cost:Paid Rating: 1.9 out of 5 I would expect a higher rating from a pying add-in... Did you actualy try any of these before posting?

Rikiwi
Rikiwi

I have been using these addins for years, especially Envelopes and Labels for Outlook. It Makes printing envelopes and labels from any combination of Outlook Contacts a breeze. I also keep all my Outlook Categories organised with Aladdins Categoriez. http://www.software-solutions.co.nz/

russ.raine
russ.raine

Add-ins for Excel that allow realtive novices to employ sophisticated functions not present in Excel. For example one app. extracts every Nth row of a table into another table for summarizing data.

glynlewis99
glynlewis99

Well early signs are good. I had to disable the Vista search function on all my PC's for all drives as I reached a tipping point of having too many large files ... result explorer.exe goes beserk and spawns a thread that consumes 100% of CPU and chews through all memory as it undertakes millions (no exageration) of registry open/check/close operations in it's attempt to index large directories and the content of archive files. This slows work down to a crawl and forces a reboot several times a day, which if not undertaken eventually results in the infamous " is not responding" message when explorer has grabbed all memory (ram and disk page) and claimed all CPU cycles ... which it won't even release to allow a graceful reboot. The "everything" add on has just indexed 311GB's of data on an external 1TB USB Seagate GoFlex drive in real quick time ... don't know exactly how long as it took to complete because when I went to check on it a couple of minutes after pointing the app to the seagate drive it was finished. However, it doesn't deep dive into the archive content ... simply indexing the archive file itself, not it's content. I think this is a small price to pay if the CPU and memory are not hogged and one should always keep a register of archive names, descriprion and content anyway. My lowest spec PC (an ACER 5720, with only 1GB of ram and an old 1.5GHz Centrino processor), is currently sitting at 96% idle for CPU overall, 20% free memory and explorer only consuming 13.5MB if memory and

solberg
solberg

I love Microsoft Office Labs and my favorite is the forgotten attachment detector for Outlook.

evelynpc
evelynpc

CrossEyes is the reveal codes for Word. Great help when trying to troubleshoot a lengthy document. It shows each type of code in a different color in a separate window at the bottom of the page.

jtroop
jtroop

If you are going to use these 10 this or that columns, at least write ones where is does not lead to some corporate site so they can make money. How about ideas on the internet for free for office 07 and 10?? Unique huh?? not everybody has a bunch of money to shell out during hard times like now.

ddhayes
ddhayes

Please indicate somewhere in your short review if these programs are 32-bit or 64-bit. It's annoying to go to the trouble to download something only to find it won't work on your computer after all.

craigkra
craigkra

UBit Menu is from a Swiss site and has versions for all languages that allow the addition of an extra tab called "Menu" which brings back the Office 2003 bars. It is the simplest way to solve any of those "where the hell is that command that I used to be able to use so easily!" situations.

craigkra
craigkra

I found out recently that there is a free edition of the OfficeTabs program. It has a three-tab limitation in Powerpoint but, otherwise it works normally. Googling the name brings up a lot of sites where it is available.

steven.gullion
steven.gullion

For lawyers and other document reviewers who have to check defined terms and their uses in Word, Lexicon is a great tool. Also has built in concordancing and makes it possible to navigate multiple documents quickly. http://www.lexicontools.com

tmcclure
tmcclure

Office Tab available at RegNow.com adds document tabs for Word, Workbook Tabs for Excel and Presentation Tabs for PowerPoint. It is much better that having multiple copies of Word or Excel open.

jfs_59
jfs_59

Forgotten Attachments Detector. How many times have you sent an e-mail or meeting invitation and forgot to include the attachment you mentioned? This utility scans messages for key phrases that would indicate an attachment should be included and then pops a reminder up if one is not. It also detects messages being sent without a subject line. http://www.officelabs.com/projects/forgottenattachmentdetector/Pages/default.aspx

martin spook
martin spook

There is also CodeTwo Public Folders for synchronizing Outlook between two or more machines. It's an Outlook add-in and it works like Exchange server but does not require any server software or hardware or admin maintanence: http://www.codetwo.com/public-folders?sts=1044

papaoz
papaoz

Your link to ASAP Utilities is directing to a site whose parent server (softlate.com) that has a reputation for distributing malware. When I Googled ASAP Utilities I found the real product site top of the list, the softlate.com site was on page three and red flagged by Web of Trust. Very disappointing. Thought this was a trustworthy site,,,

atharvai
atharvai

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=ca620c50-1a56-49d2-90bd-b2e505b3bf09 This official free plugin by Microsoft is simply amazing. This is for Word and OneNote 2007 & 2010. Those who use OneNote already know that if u enter a simple arithmetic equation it calculates automatically. such as "2+3=5". This plugin goes beyond this. you can enter any equation with any number of variables and it can either solve for all the variables, plot 2D or 3D graphs. you can enter a table of data and plot simple graphs. Calculates complex arithmetic, integration, differentiation, complex integrals, etc. Very simple to use, enter the equation in Equation editor and right click the equation and select the calculation to perform. for multiple equations, select multiple equations. It recognises subscripts as variables and superscripts as powers. I have found this plugin very useful for my university work. Really this is for anyone who works with a lot of math. Hope you find this plugin very useful. Thanks, Atharva website: http://atharvai.wordpress.com

tc
tc

Resource Central is an add-in for Outlook and Exchange which allows users to book rooms, desks and all other extra services like catering for meetings, room setup and IT equipment. There is an order workflow which will then notify all catering, facilities and IT staff. This allows users to book an entire meeting with room, catering and extra services in under 2 minutes. See more here: www.add-on.com

FilipVW
FilipVW

Does FreeFileViewer also work in the Windows 7 Explorer preview pane ? [why I ask...] In a default setup (with Word installed) the Windows Explorer Preview pane uses a (fullblown) WinWord proces, which gets in the way of certain COM automation scenarios. When I connect to a running WinWord process [as I don't want to run mutiple winwords], I cannot determine if that one is running in the preview pane... So maybe using a different previewer would be an acceptable workaround... Any suggestions?

ognian.petrov
ognian.petrov

I can recommend add-in Office Routing Plus (office-routing.com) for Excel/Word that replaces the old "Routing slip" functionality, which is gone since Office 2007. It is not free, but still very handy for large companies that relies on that routing functionality.

charlierowe
charlierowe

As an educationalist I would recommend "Ribbon Hero" it help new users to Office 2007/10 get used to the new ribbons' features and functionality. It does this in a fun and friendly way via challenges to the user to recreate/use different designs, techniques and tools. This is a free add on from Microsoft. 'Mouse Mischief' is also another Microsoft add on but that a different story!

atabarut
atabarut

I can recommend "Risksolver" from solver.com, the most advanced version of the well known excel solver... This tool does montecarlo simulations for analysis, good for finance, good for design for six sigma... Optimization tool is faster than ever as well. And the best part is you can simulate and optimize to figure the best solution overall possible expectations... Altan Atabarut

Ron_007
Ron_007

I've seen this before on this site. It is a real pita

ssharkins
ssharkins

Of course I'm familiar with these products. Sorry you didn't like this one.

LMHinWEHO
LMHinWEHO

When I buy a new computer, the first thing I install after MS Office is my Aladdins addins. The Evelopes & Lables have saved me hundreds of hours and make my company look so professional. I can send out hundreds of holiday cards--printing beautifully right on the envelope--in just a matter of minutes. CategorieZ is essential to effectively managing my 4,000 Contacts. Don't even get me started on how brilliant Office Documents is. Why this isn't at the top of the list is beyond me.

Jody Gilbert
Jody Gilbert

10 things you should know about Microsoft Office Live Workspace http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10things/10-things-you-should-know-about-microsoft-office-live-workspace/942 10 things you can do with Office 2010 Web Apps http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10things/10-things-you-can-do-with-office-2010-web-apps/1687 6 ways to get free information about Word http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/msoffice/6-ways-to-get-free-information-about-word/4147 10+ ways to train your users on Office 2007 for free http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/msoffice/10-ways-to-train-your-users-on-office-2007-for-free/144 10 free security tools that actually work http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10things/10-free-security-tools-that-actually-work/624 10 free anti-malware tools worth checking out http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10things/10-free-anti-malware-tools-worth-checking-out/2045 10 open source Windows apps worth checking out http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10things/10-open-source-windows-apps-worth-checking-out/1350 DIY: Free tools for removing malicious software http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/doityourself-it-guy/diy-free-tools-for-removing-malicious-software/115 Video: Four free defragmentation tools for power users http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/itdojo/video-four-free-defragmentation-tools-for-power-users/1485 10 free Microsoft programs worth checking out http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10things/10-free-microsoft-programs-worth-checking-out/1099 Six free development utilities in my toolbox http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/programming-and-development/six-free-development-utilities-in-my-toolbox/3873 Four free online remote meeting tools that deliver http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/window-on-windows/four-free-online-remote-meeting-tools-that-deliver/3344 Free browser tool scans for security problems, eases end user support http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/networking/free-browser-tool-scans-for-security-problems-eases-end-user-support/3343 Five tips for using Sysinternals Autoruns http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/five-tips/five-tips-for-using-sysinternals-autoruns/796 Windows Storage Viewer tool shows iSCSI paths http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/datacenter/windows-storage-viewer-tool-shows-iscsi-paths/4019 10 Sysinternals tools you shouldn't be without http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10things/10-sysinternals-tools-you-shouldnt-be-without/2033 10 more Sysinternals utilities to keep handy http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10things/10-more-sysinternals-utilities-to-keep-handy/2379 SCCM Right Click Tools eases sys admin tasks http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/datacenter/sccm-right-click-tools-eases-sys-admin-tasks/3954 Use VKernel's Capacity View in your VM right-sizing efforts http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/datacenter/use-vkernels-capacity-view-in-your-vm-right-sizing-efforts/2482 DIY: Image your drives for free with Clonezilla http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/doityourself-it-guy/diy-image-your-drives-for-free-with-clonezilla/179

cboylan43
cboylan43

THANKS! While not an educator, it was interesting to see what this was. Your comment is one of the reason I read the comments section, to gain others insights. Cheers

rick1960
rick1960

Compared to much of what I have run across these days, leaving out an "s", isn't exactly a huge crime. His structure is fine, of course structure is very subjective. The guy was trying to be helpful, and you cut him off at the knees. These forums are international, not everyone speaks English as well, or badly as a native speaker. Give them credit for being involved and making an effort.

Topcat0131
Topcat0131

Thanks for the consolidated list.

charlierowe
charlierowe

If you liked Mouse Mischief, there are other add-ons which I saw during a demonstration at Microsoft in Reading. Powerpoint Plex was another one which I though had some potential. And as an apology to Dittohead. I am sorry for my grammar in the previous post. It was late, I was tired and I was in a rush. Just wanted eveyone to know what i did and share the love!