JuliaInXL is a package that’s designed to enhance Microsoft Excel® spreadsheets with Julia. It empowers users to access the Julia language and its rich package ecosystem from within the world’s most popular spreadsheet.
It is easily one of the most useful packages bundled with the Enterprise version of JuliaPro (v0.6.0.1, now supporting Julia 0.6).
The package lets users call Julia functions from Excel and enables loading files and functions into new or existing Julia processes from the Excel ribbon. It also allows switching a single Excel session between multiple separate Julia environments and lets users effortlessly develop and deploy Julia functionality to Excel by using Juno and JuliaInXL together.
JuliaInXL is installed by running the “JuliaPro_JuliaInXL” executable that is available on downloading JuliaPro (Enterprise).
Once the installation is complete, a Julia process should launch automatically on starting an Excel session in most cases. In case a Julia process doesn’t launch automatically, the user can launch it using the “Launch Local Julia” button embedded in the Office ribbon. The Office Ribbon also contains a number of buttons and text boxes for controlling the connection between Julia and Excel, as well as loading functionality into the current Julia process.
The ”Launch Local Julia” button launches a new child Julia process, establishing a fresh TCP connection between Excel and Julia, killing any previously active Julia processes.
Adjacent to the “Launch Local Julia” button is a “Julia File Path” button (under the “Julia” tab) that lets users enter the path to a .jl file that can be loaded into the current Julia process. It is the equivalent of running the include command to load a particular file in a Julia terminal
In our current example, we have preloaded a file called “sim.jl”, that defines a Julia function called simulate.
To call this function from Excel, we use the jlcall worksheet function.
The first input argument to the jlcall function is a string. The string in question should be the name of the registered Julia function the user intends to call. Subsequent arguments to the jlcall function are passed as parameters to the Julia function being called. These can be constant literals, or cell references. Arrays can be passed via cell ranges.
In this example, a sample worksheet function call would look like this : =jlcall("simulate",100) (internally calling the simulate function with 100 as it’s input parameter, simulate(100))
By copying the contents of the cell in which jlcall was executed into multiple cells, the original jlcall operation can be repeated within multiple cells.
That brings us to the end of this brief JuliaInXL demonstration. Read the documentation to know more about this simple, comprehensive and extremely handy tool, or watch this video tutorial by Julia Computing’s Andy Greenwell below.
JuliaInXL: Enhancing spreadsheets with Julia
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