Introducing FormulaDesk

Hi Bootstrappers

I’d like to introduce FormulaDesk [ www formuladesk com ] (sorry, I can’t post a proper link due to forum rules)

FormulaDesk is an Excel add-in that adds new capabilities to Excel to make working with formulas easier and quicker.

The current feature-set is aimed at beginner and intermediate Excel users, although I’m sure that Excel experts will find it useful as well.

Pain it addresses:

  • Debugging complex/long formulas is quite difficult and time-consuming:
  • How is the final value calculated? FormulaDesk shows the intermiate steps/values.
  • Tracking where an error occurs in a long/complex formula is difficult. FormulaDesk shows the user exactly where the error is.
  • Viewing the precedents/descendents of a cell is more time-consuming that it should be. To see their value, precedent cells must be navigated to, then navigated back from. FormulaDesk displays precedents in a live mode - just click other cells and it continually updates. It also displays a screenshot of cells as you hover over the arrow so you don’t need to navigate there.
  • *Complex formulas can be easier to understand if broken into many sub-formulas. FormulaDesk will do this for you, and write to a new sheet.

Anyway, I’d love to hear any suggestions/adivice/thoughts at all, but especially regarding marketing ideas, the product itself and the website.

Thanks so much!


Link -

Nice idea for an add in and site does a good job of explaining what its about - no pricing though?

Whats your plan for marketing?

I really like this!

I can see that if you are a heavy Excel user (and there are lots of them) it could save you a lot of time and therefore be valuable to you.

Are you planning to keep it completely free?

Thanks Rhino and Dave

I’m planning on having a free version (limited features) and a pro version ($$). I’m going to be adding some features that will appeal to businesses. At that point I’ll launch the pro version. I’m hoping to grow the user-base via the free version, then promote the pro version to these free users at a later stage, with notifications and offers in the app itself, not via a mailing list, hence my desire to grow the user-base.

I’d like the free version to become a default install option for anyone using Excel ie: it adds so much value, and is free - why wouldn’t you install it?


Why? Because you can’t! Seriously, a lot of corporates will have their desktops locked down by Mordac (see dilbert).

re: Marketing - How will you get them interested in the free version initially?

My worry for you is that is that there is no obvious path where people will find this tool - what would they type into Google for example I would imagine its going to be a bazillion long tail terms. Outbound marketing also neigh on impossible (apart from perhaps advertising on Excel focused sites if there is such a thing).

The Content Marketing play on this would be to produce a bunch of good content that would get inbound traffic that you can then shill your tool to - templates, cheat sheets, how to guides, “10 Excel ninja moves to make your job easier” etc.

The installer doesn’t require admin privileges, and also isn’t an msi installer, so hopefully it should be able to be installed in more environments than most installers.

An idea I had for marketing is to make it a great tool for people answering questions on forums to take a screenshot of the ‘explanation view’ of a formula to include in their answers, and include a little watermark on the image with the website address. If that became well used, then more and more forums will start having ‘links’ to the website.

But yes, you are right, and my lack of good marketing ideas is what’s concerning me.

Hello, Gareth!

Just letting you know that your model is working to some degree, at least-- I have a particularly hairy workbook to unravel from a previous IT director, and a quick google search for “visualize excel formula” lead me to your utility. It looks excellent-- I’m about to use it. I was just doing a brief scan of the chatter to ensure it wasn’t a malware vector (seems pretty generous to give it out for free). If you do have a premium version, or when you roll one out, how do/will I get it?

Hi Josh. Thanks for reaching out to me. FormulaDesk is totally free at the moment - I’m just concentrating on growing the user-base and ironing out any bugs, improve performance etc. I do plan on releasing a ‘Pro’ version, or maybe even splitting it up into three or four smaller add-ins that are more targeted.

The best way to stay informed is to sign up to the newsletter, which I actually only use to send alerts when a new version is available. I’ll also use this to announce a Pro version, when it arrives.

When installed, FormulaDesk performs a silent update check once a day and informs you if there’s a newer version, however you obviously won’t see this alert if you uninstall it, or if you don’t open Excel for a few days. The best is still to subscribe to the newsletter.

You can subscribe on the download page:

Please let me know how it goes, and if you have any suggestions or advice for improvements.