Sniff out spreadsheet “smells” with new Rainbow 9.0

Sniff out spreadsheet “smells” with new Rainbow 9.0

Today we’re proud to release version 9.0 of Rainbow Pro, representing perhaps the most significant upgrade for several years. The most obvious change is that the Rainbow tab on the Excel ribbon menu has a new set of icons in the “flat” style used by current versions of Microsoft Excel and Windows. But beneath the surface are many other changes and additional features.

Once you start to use the new version, you will immediately see that the Summary Report (shown above) looks very different, and in particular that it calculates an overall quality score for your spreadsheet. This is based on a detailed assessment of 20 different aspects of the spreadsheet, representing what spreadsheet experts are now calling “smells”, i.e. indicators that can help you identify possible risks and problems in the spreadsheet. You can see that Rainbow highlights “smelly” areas of the spreadsheet to help you track down problems quickly and directly.

Moving from the Summary Report to detailed analysis, you will notice that the Risk Map now has many new analysis options. We have moved 12 of the less-used options to a separate Logic Analysis function, and with 24 options under Risk Map you now have a total of 36 “smells” that Rainbow can detect, of which 10 are new in version 9.0. These include Lone cell types, Lone formulas, Outlier numbers, Variant text values, Complex conditions, Multiple operations, Multiple references, and Circular references.

Analysis WheelTo help you navigate around these 36 analysis options, we have introduced the Analysis Wheel tool. This lets you scroll through all the different options, find out about each one, run an analysis (via the Risk Map and Logic Analysis functions), and then review which cells Rainbow has identified and highlighted.

And if you use the Analysis Wheel to scroll on beyond the end of the 36 analysis options, you will discover one of the most fundamental changes in this version of Rainbow Analyst. Instead of a limited set of 24 or 64 colours available for highlighting formula groups and other items, Rainbow now has a huge palette of nearly 15,000 colours (trying searching for “Item 14757” in the Analysis Wheel). These colours are calculated by the new Colour Generator engine, which is designed to produce colours that are easily distinguishable from the previous and following colour, and are not too light or dark, and are unlikely to be confused with pre-existing colours in a spreadsheet.

This means that you can now analyse Formula Groups or run a workbook Comparison with a large workbook where there may be thousands of formula groups or difference groups, and Rainbow will be able to highlight each one in a separate colour. And to check the colour of a highlighted cell in your spreadsheet, just select the cell and click the Identify Colours button, and Rainbow will identify all the colours in the the cell (e.g. Intermediate workings, Complex conditions, Item 56) and will let you check for the same colours elsewhere in the worksheet.

These are some of the biggest changes in Rainbow version 9.0, but there are many areas where we have made improvements. Why not download a free trial and see for yourself?

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