Excel-lent plots

Add plotting and calculating capabilities to Excel.

One of the best things about Microsoft's Excel is its expandability; there's an add-in for practically every task. Office Expander's EZplot brings sophisticated plotting and data calculation to the Excel interface. It defines plots based on parameter names, so tedious manual data entry is a thing of the past. It can create more than 50 plots in seconds, and it adds formulas for 2D and 3D interpolation and polynomial capability. The add-in bundles the developer's Contour Plot and Multy_Y programs as well as other tools. The plots created with EZplot can be viewed in any edition of Excel, not just those with EZplot installed.

EZplot's Simple Plotting Example sheet includes links to more setup information for specific editions of Excel, such as enabling access to the Trusted Visual Project. The EZplot button appears on Excel's file menu when the add-in is properly installed; clicking it calls up control dialog functions such as creating, importing, and exporting sheets. Tabs give quick access to handy example sheets as well as the setup information and explanations of the various functions. A PowerPoint-based manual complements an excellent online training video that you can download and use separately. The program advises users that "right-clicking accesses everything," as it adds access to EZplot's basic functions to Excel's right-click menu. We quickly created several simple charts with EZplot, Contour Plot, and Multy_Y (at least two charts are required for Multy_Y). Though we hardly stressed its capabilities, EZplot impressed us with its ease of use, which is one of its main goals. The charts it creates are clear and customizable. A nice touch was a single button for loading and unloading the add-in, which simplifies keeping EZplot up to date.

Apparently, the Multy_Y capability doesn't work in Excel 2007; it worked fine in Excel 2000 and 2003, though. If you need advanced plotting capabilities in Excel and want them fast and easy to use, too, EZplot is up to the task.

Editors' note: This is a review of the full version of EZplot 1.01. The trial version is limited to three days.

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