AMC Excel Add-ins
AMC Software now includes Add-ins for MS Excel, so that you can use apply AMC statistics functions within MS Excel.
FAQs about AMC add-ins
What is an add-in?
An Add-in is a small program that adds new functions to MS Excel. Once installed, the add-in loads automatically every time MS Excel starts up.
What do AMC add-ins do?
AMC add-ins will typically provide one or both of:
- A feature that can be accessed from the Excel menu, and is controlled by an Excel dialogue box in much the same way as the File...Print command works. These appear on their own extra menu bar, the "AMC Statistics" menu, which is automatically added when you install an AMC add-in. This is the most common way of accessing an AMC add-in.
- Additional spreadsheet functions that can be inserted in the spreadsheet, just like the AVERAGE() or STDEV() functions built in to MS Excel.
What are the different files for?
Each AMC add-in application typically consists of:
- the add-in itself, a file with the extension .xla
- a Help system, which can be called up from MS Excel. This typically consists of a traditional Windows Help file (.hlp or .chm) and Help Contents file (.cnt), but might be in another form
- a 'Readme' file; a small text file which describes briefly how to install the add-in and access the Help system
AMC Add-ins are available as compressed 'zip' files or in their normal state. The Zip files contain all the files needed, and are packaged into a smaller space for faster download. You need an application such as PKzip, WinZip or ArjFolder to 'unzip' the files. Alternatively, you can download the required files directly.
How is an add-in installed?
First, download the add-in from the AMC website. If it is in .zip form, unzip it to give the individual files. The instructions for installing each add-in will be included in the text file "Readme" (or "readme.txt"). This file is a simple text file and will open if you simply double-click on the file name.
A typical add-in installation includes the following steps:
Copy the .xla, .hlp and .cnt (executable, Help and help Contents files respectively) to a directory of your choice. You can use the directory you downloaded the application to if you wish.
In MS Excel, add the Add-In to Excel's list. You may need to refer to Excel's Help system; for Excel 97, the procedure is:
A) Choose Tools, Add-ins to display the Add-Ins dialogue box
B) Click Browse, and navigate to your copy of the .xla file
C) Click Open.
The new add-in should appear in the list of add-ins. Make sure the check box next to its entry is selected. The add-in will now load. In future, it will load automatically when you start Excel.
Using an AMC add-in from Excel
If you have no AMC Statistics add-ins installed already, the add-in will normally create a new menu entry, AMC Statistics, on the main Excel menu bar, and add the new AMC add-in menu to that. If you already have an AMC statistics menu, the new menu will simply appear as an additional option. Simply click on the menu and select the option you want to use.
Accessing the add-in's help system
The add-in's menu will normally include a direct link to a Windows Help file. If Windows cannot immediately locate the help file, Windows will ask you to find it; simply browse to the directory you copied the add-in files to. After that, windows will be able to find the file by itself.
The help file will contain all the instructions for using the application. Use the Contents button to browse through the help system. Hitting Find will cause a full-text index to be generated in the usual way.
Add-ins in accredited and regulated laboratories
AMC add-ins are provided without warranty of any kind and the user is entirely responsible for assessing their suitability for a particular purpose. To help with this, the following information is included in the Help system or associated documentation:
- Reference to the particular AMC Brief or technical publication which describes the statistical procedures and their properties.
- A statement of the validation checks and tests performed on the application prior to release.
- A listing of any known issues which may affect operation, with solutions if known.
In addition, the AMC software website includes test sets with known answers which can be used to confirm correct operation on the user's system.
Technical support for AMC add-ins
No technical support is provided for AMC software. However, the help system will include a list of any known problems and 'work-rounds', so is worth browsing through if you encounter a problem.
The help system or documentation may also include an email address to which 'bug reports' may be sent, either directly or via the AMC secretary. This is not intended for user support; it allows the software author(s) to collect information on any problems, and may at the author's discretion result in improvements to the software in due course. "Bug reporting" is therefore welcome.