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Introducing: FormulaDesk Navigator


I’d like to introduce my latest product, FormulaDesk Navigator.

It’s an Excel add-in that adds the following features to Excel:

  • Multi-row sheet tabs
  • Vertical sheet tabs
  • Filter sheets by color(s)
  • Filter sheets by custom tag(s)
  • Sort sheets by name, index, most recently accessed
  • Named bookmarks
  • More…

Background: I created another product a few years back called FormulaDesk which ended up being a collection of features that really belonged in separate products. I stepped back and categorized the features into 4 separate categories and decided to create four products - this is the first. Hopefully it will end up being much easier to market a more narrowly defined product feature-set. It feels easier already. This approach also enables me to cross-sell and also ensures that I don’t put all my eggs into one basket.

In terms of marketing, I sent an email to my newsletter mailing list (via Mailchimp). That resulted in my first sale 9 minutes after the email! A few more sales followed over the next few hours.

The product is still in beta, so I am offering special pricing and license terms.

I’ve also made some posts to relevant discussions on the web, as well as this post here.

I’m seeking any feedback or suggestions from fellow bootstrappers, regarding any aspect, but, as usual, marketing ideas are the most highly sought after!

Here’s a screenshot:

Many thanks,



Congrats on launching and getting the first sales so quickly!

I suggest sending more emails over the next few weeks, highlighting features and updates, and maybe even telling the story behind why you built this product. After all, email worked for you so far…

Do you mind telling us how many people are on your list, and how you built up the list?



First objection I had - what happens with all those tabs when I send the Excel file to my co-workers who do not have the extension installed?

After all, Excel nowadays is a way of communicating data as much as working with data.



@SteveMcLeod, thanks! The suggestions of follow-up emails are great and I will definitely be doing that.

The list had just over 700 subscribers (it’s grown slightly since I sent the email campaign). I’ve always had an opt-in at the top of the download page. I also have a button on the final screen of the installer with ‘Notify me of updates’ which opens a signup page. So, some FormulaDesk (previous free product) users (a fairly small percentage) have signed up over the years.

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@rfctr, a great question and it should definitely be addressed on the website - I’ll add it.

When you send the file to co-workers, then those that have the add-in installed will have exactly the same view as you. When they don’t have the add-in installed, then the file will work exactly as normal ie: no multi-row sheet tabs, no filtering by color or tag etc.

FormulaDesk Navigator is essentially a viewer - it allows you to see and work with sheet tabs in new ways. Also, the views aren’t turned on by default - you need to select the view from the ribbon menu, and you can turn it off again at any time to return to the ‘normal’ Excel view.

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Good job Gareth - and shows why bootstrap startups need to think up front about how to build their mailing lists!




@Bobwalsh, thanks. Your book was invaluable when I read it many years ago, and so were your micro-consults. Thanks for all your help.

All the best,



Great. Now I have the next “complain” :smiley:

This wording on the top of the page:

Filter them by:
custom tag-name

I believe it focuses on mere function, and not on benefit, and hence fails to pack the punch. I felt a certain “meh” moment when reading it.

The benefit is somewhere along the lines of improved clarity of communication to peers (“red tabs for critical KPIs, green ones for nice-to-haves”), quicker navigation (“tabs on the left are for incoming traffic, on the right - for downstream”) etc.

Also, the screenshots are OK, but here, for example:

I’d make sure that the filtering example was something meaningful, and not just “WW” and “AAAA”. It wasn’t hard to make it say “Sales”, “Marketing” and “Communications”, right?

Same goes for other images with “Sheet43” and alike. If you make them something specific - say car models for a dealership - it also, IMHO, adds a trust factor. It would look like other people are already using your plugin (despite you do not claim it, but this is how our irrational brain works).



@rfctr, thanks, that’s exactly the sort of eagle-eyed feedback I’m looking for! Great suggestions - I’ll implement ASAP.