Arixcel Explorer: Add-in for Microsoft Excel

Why use Excel Add-Ins?

If you have listened to one of my podcasts, you may have heard me wonder why more Excel users aren’t using Excel add-ins.  To me, this is the equivalent of buying a cell-phone and not downloading any apps.  This is perhaps not entirely accurate, as I actually only use two Excel add-ins with regularity, one of which I will speak about in this post.  I should also state that I am not an agent or in any way sponsored by Arixcel, I have bought all my licenses myself!  It’s so good I’ve paid multiple times to have it on all my PCs and laptops – it has become an indispensable tool for me as a financial model builder and user.

Arixcel Explorer: Add-in for Microsoft Excel that helps to check formula logic

One of the add-ins I can say I use every time Excel is open is Arixcel.  According to its website (, “the tool shows the logical structure of any formula and allows you to navigate easily to the cells it refers to and back.”  While Excel does have Trace Precedents and Trace Dependents, Arixcel does this with far more aplomb and ease of use.  Whenever I give Excel and financial modelling demonstrations, I illustrate the power of this tool, and always get asked where users can obtain it!  I also get this question when I am showing clients the models I have built for them, I navigate through to explain the layout and structure of the model using Arixcel, and without exception someone from the client team asks “what is that tool you are using” or “how did you do that?”.

Arixcel Navigation

Arixcel really makes navigating complex Excel models so easy, I feel somewhat lost when I must work on computers that don’t have it.  Arixcel has also recently added spreadsheet mapping and spreadsheet comparison tools.  It is fast becoming the one-stop-shop for Excel model auditing and assessment.

Arixcel installs as a COM Excel Add-in, as can be seen below:

Arixcel Com Addin

Once installed, you can access its functionality from the Arixcel toolbar, or using the shortcuts:

Arixcel Installed

Just click on the Arixcel tab and start playing!

Arixcel Tab

In the animation below, you can see how the Formula Explorer works, and the level of detail is shows as well including the result of formulas or values in cells, and the exact location of the formula and cells.

Arixcel Spreadsheet Comparison

New to version 6 of Arixcel is the Spreadsheet Comparison tool.  The tool allows you to compare workbooks, worksheets or blocks of cells.

As you can see in the animation below, the tool is comprehensive and allows you to see what has changed between different Excel models and workbooks.

It is accessed via the comparison tool:

Arixcel Formula Maps

Finally, formula maps are every model auditor’s (and model builders for that matter) best friend.  Using a model map, one can quickly visually assess a worksheet to understand where formulas have been copied down or across and where unique formulas or values reside.  Key to auditing models is rooting out hardcoded value where they shouldn’t be, for example on calculation or output summary worksheets.  Arixcel Formula Maps allows you to do just this, as can be seen below.

You can toggle this view on or off:
Convinced that this is a tool you need?  See below to download Arixcel.

Download Arixcel

Arixcel Conclusion

It is no surprise to see that auditors and investment banks are the users of Arixcel.  The ability to explore multiple cell precedents and dependents is so vital to model building and auditing, removing the risk of error and making the financial modeller’s life easier.  I highly recommend this tool!

As always, happy financial modelling!