Key features

The slides shown here illustrate some of Rainbow Pro’s key features; just click on any slide to see more information about the relevant feature. (Note: these slides are based on a slightly earlier version of Rainbow, so when you check out Rainbow version 10, you’ll notice some features not shown here.)

As explained on our Why Rainbow page, we think Rainbow stands out for its combination of usability and evidence-based analysis. To find out for yourself, just click the button below to download your free trial copy:

Download Rainbow Analyst Professional 10, our flagship product for Excel 2007 onwards.

(Note: If Windows SmartScreen reports the download file as an “unrecognised application”, just click “More info” in the SmartScreen message, then click the “Run anyway” button.)

Rainbow functions summary

The rest of this page gives you a whirlwind tour of Rainbow Analyst Professional (Rainbow Pro), running through all its functions as shown on the Rainbow tab in Excel. (For differences between this and the Personal version of Rainbow, see our functionality comparison table.)

Rainbow Pro features a dual-menu system, allowing you to choose either the Standard menu for an easy introduction to using Rainbow, or the Advanced menu for a complete listing of all Rainbow’s functions. Both menus (and all associated functions) are included in all Rainbow Pro licences, whether for Business or Finance use.

The Standard menu

Rainbow standard menu

Rainbow’s Standard menu has five groups of functions: The Basics, The Details, My Files, My Colours, and Help. As the names suggest, it’s a good idea to start with The Basics and then move on to The Details and any other functions you need.

The Basics group consists of two functions that can quickly diagnose a large number of spreadsheet problems, plus two functions that will help you understand the spreadsheet logic and resolve any issues:

  • Summary Report gives you a quick overview of a workbook and a overall quality score, and highlights possible issues for further analysis.
  • Formula Scan highlights (and reports on) groups of copied formulas, and it also runs a battery of tests on the first formula in each group.
  • Cell Inspector is an interactive function which lets you trace the logic of any individual cell at a glance, and is very useful in conjunction with Formula Scan.
  • Issue Tracker is another interactive function which enables you to track and annotate progress on resolving issues flagged by you or by Rainbow.

In The Details group are three functions which tell you about the flow of data and logic in the spreadsheet, and two functions which generate colour “maps” to help you visualise the spreadsheet calculations:

  • Inter-Sheet Logic generates a tabular matrix that shows you the flow of logic between sheets in your workbook.
  • Data Links helps you track down where your spreadsheet calculations are linked to individual cells in another workbook.
  • Data Explorer tells you where your spreadsheet is using tables of data, and how these are linked to external databases or other sources.
  • Risk Map is a powerful analysis tool which can report on up to 24 different types of potential risk and highlight all the relevant cells in different colours.
  • Analysis Wheel lets you select from Rainbow’s whole range of analysis options, run the analysis, and then review the highlighted cells in the current sheet.

The My Files group contains three utility functions to help you manage individual workbooks and track changes between different versions of spreadsheets:

  • The functions on the Clean-Up Tools menu let you quickly clean up a workbook, or delete cell colours, superfluous formats, unused space, comments or graphics.
  • Comparison Toolbox is a comprehensive function that compares workbooks, worksheets or ranges, giving you a key tool for controlling versions and scenarios.
  • Hide/Protect can hide or unhide and protect or unprotect selected worksheets, and also unhide hidden rows and columns.

The two functions in the My Colours group let you check the colours in a cell and manage the gallery of colours that Rainbow uses:

  • Identify Colours gives you an explanation of the Rainbow colour(s) in the selected cell, and lets you search for other similarly-highlighted cells.
  • Colour Chart gives you an interactive visual display of all the colours that Rainbow uses to map different types of cells.

And finally in the Help group are two menu buttons that give you access to important information and utility functions:

  • Under the User Guide button, you can view and print this User Guide, view the Rainbow log file, license or re-license your copy of Rainbow, and check for updates.
  • Under the Menu Settings button, you can switch between the Standard and Advanced menu, set various preferences, restore factory default settings, and uninstall Rainbow.

The Advanced menu

Rainbow advanced menu

Rainbow’s Advanced menu has six groups of functions: File Control, Structural Overview, Cell Analysis, Audit Process, Colour Management and Help. Many of the functions have already been covered in the section above on the Standard menu, and here we cover those which appear only on the Advanced menu.

The set of functions in the File Control group can help you clean up your files and manage different file versions:

  • Under Change Management you can use Save Format to record the current formatting of your selected worksheet(s), so that you can then restore it/them again using Undo Changes. Reset Reports lets you tell Rainbow that you want it to put reports in a different workbook from the one it is currently using, and File Save As works like the File Save As item on the Excel menu, except that it also makes sure that Rainbow recognises the old file under its new name.

The functions in the Structural Overview group are powerful “floodlight” functions, which are probably the first ones you’ll want to use when starting to analyse a spreadsheet. For this reason, they are all included in the Standard Menu.

Most of the functions in the Cell Analysis group are “spotlight” functions which zoom in to examine specific cell-by-cell details:

  • Logic Map gives you a visual picture that helps you quickly grasp the flow of calculation from inputs through workings to final results.
  • Names Toolbox provides a range of tools to help you audit and control the use of defined names in the workbook logic.
  • Macro Explorer lets you easily see any macros in the workbook and get a sense of how they affect your workbook data.

The functions in the Audit Process group provide you with further tools that you are likely to need in the process of a spreadsheet audit:

  • Issues Report and Graphics Report let you generate detailed reports on flagged issues and comments (cell notes) and on buttons and graphics (e.g. charts).
  • Sample Data selects a random or periodic sample of data from a worksheet and copies it to a report for further auditing.

In the Colour Management group are some utility functions to manage Rainbow’s colours and assist with spreadsheet development:

  • Logic Colours provides a quick reminder of the dependency-type colours used in a Logic Map and lets you search for them in the current sheet.
  • Format Editor works in conjunction with other Rainbow functions to enable you to apply formatting changes or convert text to numbers.

The final item on the Rainbow tab is the Help group, including (under Menu Settings) the Switch Menu function to switch back to the Standard menu.

There is much more to Rainbow’s capabilities than we can describe here. For a detailed explanation, you can read the full Rainbow Pro 10 User Guide, but really it’s better to try it for yourself. Simply click the button below for your free trial copy:

Download Rainbow Analyst Professional 10

(Note: If Windows SmartScreen reports the download file as an “unrecognised application”, just click “More info” in the SmartScreen message, then click the “Run anyway” button.)

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