What is Inquire
The Inquire Add-in for Excel 2013 helps you analyze and review your workbooks for things like relationships, invalid formulas, and to compare .xlsx files for differences. Let’s take some time to review how to enable the add-in and then how to use it.
Enabling the Add-in
If you are using Office Professional Plus, the Inquire add-in comes installed with Excel you simply need to enable it.
The Inquire add-in is already installed with Excel 2013 you simply need to enable it by going to File –> Options –> Add-Ins. Then Select COM Add-ins from the Manage dropdown and click Go
Check off Inquire from the Add-Ins available list then click OK.
Once you have enabled the add-in the INQUIRE tab will appear in the increasingly crowded Office ribbon.
Let’s take a look at what this new add-in has given us.
What does it do?
The Workbook Analysis tool is used for analyzing details of a workbook for reporting on the things like the workbook structure, formulas, cells, ranges, and warnings.
One odd thing here that a lot of people notice a workbook structure property called “Very hidden sheets”. This is simple another way of hiding sheets through VBA. See here for more details on how to do a Very hidden sheet. http://j-walk.com/ss/excel/usertips/tip036.htm
The Workbook Relationship tool shows links between multiple workbooks that you may have. This can be especially helpful when you have dozens of cell references to an external workbook. Trying to untangle that mess can be very difficult and this tool visualizes those dependencies.
The Worksheet Relationship tool works exactly the same as the Workbook Relationship but now visualizing dependencies at the sheet level.
Again the Cell Relationship tool is very similar but it only shows relationships of cells that you have highlighted prior to click on the command. These are often dependencies are often displayed because a cell is referenced in a formula.
The Compare Files command lets you see the differences, cell by cell, between two workbooks. You need to have two workbooks open in Excel to run this command.
Any differences that the compare tool finds color coded by content type in a grid view. Here’s an example output:
Clean Excess Cell Formatting
If you’ve developed an Excel workbook that’s gotten out hand with how large it is and how much logic is built in use the Clean Excess Cell Formatting tool to remove extra formatting on cells that you may not be aware of.
This can actually help increase the performance and file size of workbook that have become bloated with this kind of leftover formatting. You can test it out by putting a background color on a couple irrelevant cells and then run the tool.
If you are using the Inquire add-in for analyzing workbooks that are password protected you must add the workbook password to the Password Manager.
This is the standard Excel Help that will walk you through what the add-in does.
I’ve found the Inquire add-in has a couple nice features that i can definitely see myself using in our increasingly Excel centric world we live in.