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Excel-ent personal finance tool

Track and analyze your personal finances in Excel with this add-in.

Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet program helps keeps the financial world organized. Arixcel Accounts is a nifty Excel add-in that can help keep your financial world spinning on its axis. It's a personal accounting tool that tracks your bank accounts, credit cards, and other expenses and displays them in a single, easy-to-digest overview. It can import online bank statements via the Microsoft Money (OFX) and Quicken (QIF) file formats. It even has tools for tracking and analyzing your income, expenses, and other finances in a variety of categories and time frames, creating budgeting, splitting transactions, and making accruals.

If you're familiar with Excel, Arixcel Accounts will be easy to pick up, but even if you're new to spreadsheets, this tool is not difficult to master. Its controls and menus all work just like Excel, with the addition of program-specific items. The program's proprietary toolbar installs on the Excel add-ins tab. Its three buttons access the Main Menu, Active Book, and Active Sheet; these are where your current expenses and other data go. There are common entries such as food, mortgage/rent, and entertainment, but we easily added specific fields for our own fundamental needs, such as coffee budgeting and new gadgets. It's equally easy to total, average, and format specific rows and cells; generate, save, export, and print reports and data; and otherwise handle your data in the many useful ways Excel offers. We appreciate its compatibility with Quicken's QIF files, since so many consumers do their taxes and other accounting in the popular program. We also like Arixcel Accounts' ability to create a budget out of your data and then monitor it against actual results.

To use Arixcel Accounts, you must have Excel 2002 or newer, but with Office 2010 out, it's probably time to upgrade anyway if you're still running an older version. It's fully compatible with x86 versions of Vista and Windows 7, too.

Editors' note: This is a review of the full version of Arixcel Accounts 1.28. The trial version has some features disabled.

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