One of the most important new features in ED 8.1 for teachers is the new ExcelActiveX atom. The development of this atom was motivated by a request from a teacher. In contrast with the old Excel atom, which used the DDE mechanism, the ExcelActiveX atom uses the more modern ActiveX mechanism.

This yields better performance, better interoperability with non-English versions of Excel (decimal comma vs. decimal point) and the ability to access more than one workbook or worksheet at a time. Also the user interface has been improved and the atom as a whole is now much more resilient against strange user input, Excel being opened and closed during use, etc. This is of course very important in a classroom situation.

The ExcelActiveX atom allows you to

  • connect to an excel workbook
  • have more than one ExcelActiveX atom in the model if you have multiple workbooks
  • create atom references for easy access from 4DScript
  • use 4DScript functions to read/write individual cells and sheets in the workbook
  • create tables which are automatically copied to/from Excel on reset or at a specified time

Existing models using the old Excel atom will of course continue to work, but for new models we recommend to use the ExcelActiveX atom instead of the Excel atom. Both can be found in the Data section of the atom library.