Macros For Dummies

I’ve never made a secret of the fact that my spreadsheet skills are somewhere at the level of what I learned using Lotus 1-2-3🙂  so the recent addition of Macros and Pivot tables to Zoho Sheet was really not my piece of cake.  Not that I would not recognize the techological feat when both Google and Editgrid said they couldn’t / wouldn’t do it…

Now I have to admit I occasionally tinkered around with Excel macros: not that I know Visual Basic, all I ever did was record the sequence I needed, then tinker with the resulting VB code.  That’s the capability Zoho just announced today: with a few clicks record, edit, re-run your macros, in the original Zoho Sheet or in any others you have access to.  Finally, Macros For Dummies like me 🙂 Here’s a summary video:

To the best of my knowledge no other spreadsheet can do it (other than GrandDaddy Excel)

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Spreadsheet Macros and Pivot Tables: Google Says No. EditGrid Says No. Zoho Just Does It.

OK, OK, I admit, the title is a bit tongue-in-cheek… but real. Sophisticated Excel users have long complained that none of the online spreadsheets support Macros or Pivot Tables. The answer has so far been sorry, no can do…

Google hinted they would likely not do it, as reported by TechCrunch:

Will Google Spreadsheets ever have advanced features like pivot tables, macros or offline database integrations? (This was actually my question) Scott said they are constantly trying to find the balance between speed and utility. It will never be a heavy duty analytics program because that would be too heavy and bulky for the average user.

EditGrid’s David Lee also suggested Pivot Table are too difficult to do online. Well, maybe, but here they are both, in Zoho Sheet. Not that it comes a real surprise, in fact ever since the launch of Zoho DB pivot tables were just a matter of time, and Zoho has promised macros for some time, too.

I admit I probably don’t appreciate the importance of these two features, as I’ve said before, the level of my spreadsheet competency is probably stuck somewhere at Lotus 1-2-3. smile_wink. But even I used very limited Excel macros in the past, although typically be recording and editing afterward, rather than writing them in Visual Basic. Now Zoho Sheet can interpret VB directly, without using Microsoft’s back-end, and that means you can import your Excel spreadsheet, the macros no longer die. No other spreadsheet (other than Excel itself) supports VB macros.

Zoho launched a “marketplace” -sort of, being free – of VB macros at

As for pivot tables, they are an important analytical tool, but instead of reading me, why don’t you look at this demo video:


Is GSpot (Google + JotSpot) Release Imminent?

This is a speculative post.   As it is widely known, JotSpot, a very user-friendly wiki and application-platform-wannabe was acquired by Google in October 2006, only to be closed for new users for a long time. Existing users could continue to access their information free.

There was a lot of speculation as to when it would re-surface and in what shape.  I certainly liked the wiki before they “disappeared”, and was hoping The Goog would take the opportunity to do more than just re-label it and make it more scalable:

I hope that means they rethought everything and integrated JotSpot well into a number of offerings.

  • It could provide for much better document management than the current Docs &­ Spreadsheets UI. 
  • It overlaps with Page Creator, also with the simplified version found in Google Groups – in fact Groups which is no longer just email lists but a rudimentary collaboration platform and JotSpot could very well be merged / integrated.
  • Finally JotSpot tried to provide primitive applications (spreadsheet, calendar..etc) all of which have a better Google counterpart, so one would hope they will be replaced, too.

Perhaps we’re getting close to the re-emergence of JotSpot (yes, I know it won’t be called GSpot, but why not have some fun?). Obviously this is the speculative part, but several users report that JotSpot wikis disappear from the net.  Users are understandably getting excited:

Is it over? Just like this? Without notice?

I just finished a major rework on the site. And 4 hours after it:
boom, it disappeared.

Any help?
Where is all the data gone?

The main page displays a Network Solutions domain capture page. 

I can still access, which displays the standard notification about the Google transaction, and, more importantly I can get into my jot account using the direct URL:  I am using OpenDNS.  Perhaps the difference is a matter of DNS propagation, and they are changing in preparation of the Google Wiki launch?

My previous coverage:

(Hat tip: Isaac Garcia, CEO of Central Desktop)

Update (2/6):  Mashable list 14 of what they call Online Spreadsheet Applications (clearly, not all are) and surprise, surprise, JotSpot is one of them.  That’s a joke. As much as Iiked JotSpot as a wiki, it failed to become an application platform, and it certainly isn’t (hasn’t been) a spreadsheet.  Like I wrote before:

Just because a page looks like an application, it does not mean it really is. Try to import an Excel spreadsheet into a Jot Spreadsheet page, you’ll get a warning that it does not import formulas. Well, I’m sorry, but what else is there in a spreadsheet but formulas? The previous name, Tracker was fair: it’s a table where you track lists, but not a spreadsheet. (more)

But whatever we think of the former JotSpot Tracker capabilities, it’s hard to see it left intact once Google releases what they turned JotSpot into.   Google themselves have a much better online spreadsheet, I certainly hope for their sake that they will integrate their apps with JotSpot, and kill off the overlap.

(FYI: The real online spreadsheets out of Mashable’s 14 are Google , Zoho, EditGrid, ThinkFree.  )