Completely Redesign the Microsoft Excel/Access interface forAutomated Reporting

  • Greetings.

    I am a VBA novice, providing data analysis and reporting automation to a few clients. I also have an elementary understanding in VBA in Access. I stumbled upon the picture below and it tickled my curiosity.…sviewer/screenshots/1.png

    This is a screenshot from a report generated by a software called ModelRisk. I do not wish to learn how the specific analyses were performed or interpreting the chart, but I'd like to know how the interface was designed. I believe it is designed in Access 2007, and since I know the charting features in Access 2007 are terrible, I also wish to understand how to design similar charts. I also have a fair knowledge of ribbon customization in XML. My questions are:

    1.How does one place a picture/icon on the ribbon circle ?
    2.How does one design similar form tabs on the interface, with custom icons i.e labelled CummulA,Scatter,Trend,Spider e.t.c in the picture?
    3.How does one automate creation of such charts ?

    Would I require to learn a programming language, or are there utilities for such designs ? I also understand one can use C++ in Excel, what added unique capabilities would C++ provide in Excel that are not in VBA ?

    I wish to design standalone reporting and data analysis applications with a rather similar interface. I may also want to, for instance, for data in an excel worksheet, import it into the application, run complex queries, design excel pivot tables and charts then place the reports in a similar tabbed interface on separate forms, in a few seconds.


  • Re: Completely Redesign the Microsoft Excel/Access interface forAutomated Reporting

    That doesn't look like Excel or Access to me, I would say that it's a windows application that possibly provides add-ins to Excel and Access. The biggest giveaway that this is the case is this from the faq:


    Do I need to have Excel installed?
    No, you do not need to have Excel installed to review the results. However, you will need Excel if you wish to export graphs or tables.

    So your questions largely becomes moot, since office isn't used to produce any of the interface graphs, charts and the suchlike are not bound by the restrictions of Excel or Access.

    So in summary, to produce an application like that, then yes, you would need to learn a new programming language, to have it look like that, it would need to be within the Microsoft .Net framework so C++, C#, VB.NET, F# etc. The advantages of these languages are that they are infinitely faster than VBA and give you much more control and free you from the limits of office. To produce something similar to the application you linked to, would require a huge amount of work, probably with multiple programmers working on different aspects of it - it's not a simple thing to accomplish. Things like pivot tables are extremely complex and for larger datasets, you would probably be better looking at other underlying technologies OLAP etc, working within the Excel/Access environment you take a lot of things for granted, MS has put a huge amount of work into making tools like pivot tables and you'd need to design those sort of tools again - which would be no small task in itself let alone just as an aspect of an application. (though a quick google of windows forms pivot table turn up a lot of controls that you could add to your application - they ain't cheap though)

    The reason that commercial data analysis tools are so expensive are down to the amount of work that has gone into creating the product. So, this probably isn't the ideal starter application for learning a new language.

  • Re: Completely Redesign the Microsoft Excel/Access interface forAutomated Reporting

    Thank you for your response.

    I really was curious and thought that interface was designed in Access 2007, I guess I should have read that part in the FAQ. Thanks for the information, Ill just forget about that, since seems alot of work and resources would be necessary.


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