One of my favourite add-ins of all time just got an upgrade, and I’m super stoked about it. Why? Because I can use it again!
As I began my VBA journey, there were two add-ins that I used all the time:
Both were invaluable, with SmartIndenter allowing right click access to re-indent code, and MZ Tools providing a TON of useful content. (My favourite was the error handling template I could just inject with a couple of clicks.)
It became painful to work on or debug VBA code on anyone’s PC who didn't’ have these tools installed, and the became part of the default installation routine for my machine.
Why I’ve been Add-in free for years
Unfortunately, both MZ Tools (3.0) and SmartIndenter were written in VB6, which meant that they were restricted to the 32 bit versions of Excel. And that meant that the day I started using Power Pivot, I lost the ability to use either add-in. (Okay, to be fair I could have stuck with 32 bit Excel for Power Pivot… except there was no way I was doing that. The need for more memory accessed trumped the tools that made my VBA life easier.)
I’ve now been running without the aid of these tools for about 5 years… which is shocking… and STILL miss them. A few times over the last few years, I even made some attempts to replicate some of these features on my own, but I could never figure out how to get VB.NET to hook into the VBIDE, so gave up on it. Instead I focussed on tools I could control, building add-ins and software in other areas. (It always irked me that I couldn’t figure out how to hook the VBIDE though!)
No longer Add-in Free
For that reason, I was pretty jazzed when Carlos Quintero emailed out to say that he’s updated and released not only MZ-Tools for Visual Studio, but also MZ-Tools 8.0 for VBA. That is FANTASTIC. I’ve downloaded it, got it installed, and am already digging through the loads of features to customize my templates.
Unfortunately I’m not such a good judge of what’s new in this version (my memory of it is five years out of date) but here’s some of the stuff that I’m looking forward to (re-)acquainting myself with:
- Dead code review. I’ve already scanned a couple of my add-ins and found unused variables and unused routines that can be trimmed.
- Statistics. Kind of a vanity thing, maybe, but I’ve always wondered how many lines of code are actually in my XLGFileTools add-in. As of today, the answer is 6,726. (Maybe a couple less once I review the Dead Code report above)
- Code templates: I can’t wait to rebuild the error handling template. I also remember in the past the ability to insert a comment block at the top of each routine/module very easily for documentation too.
- The simple thing of being able to right click the Immediate window and choose Clear. Oh my how I’ve missed you!
These are just some highlights, there are obviously tons more.
Worth the cost
if you look back you’ll see I don’t endorse many products, and certainly not as passionately as I am here.
The goal of MZ-Tools is to make your everyday programming life easier. I 100% believe that it does that, and that it is worth the cost to purchase it – something I don’t say very often! (Understand I’m not making any commission or advertising revenues off this, either.) The software is just that good and useful.
But even better, if you are in the market for it, Carlos has a 50% sale on through the end of October. That will save you $40 off the regular $79.95 price tag. How can you beat that?
You can find it at http://mztools.com/index.aspx