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Financial Projection Software:
Installation & Running Notes

Page Contents

1. Introduction

2. Installation of Exl-Plan

3. Familiarization with Exl-Plan

4. Things to Try

5. Building New Projections


If you have acquired or plan to purchase Exl-Plan, we recommend that you print this page for reference purposes.


1. Introduction

Exl-Plan is a range of business planning software for preparing comprehensive financial projections including cash flow forecasts for up to seven years ahead. You can use Exl-Plan for a business plan, strategic and corporate planning, raising finance, budgeting, restructuring and financial appraisals within almost any size and type of business. It runs as a powerful, easy-to-use template with Excel (5, 7, 8, 95, 97, 2000, XP, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016) using Windows (95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP/Vista/Win7,8,10).

Important Note: Exl-Plan requires a Windows-based, desktop version of Excel. It will not run, on account of its extensive use of macros, with any cloud-based versions of Excel (or other similar spreadsheet types). If using Office 365 or Office 16, Excel must be installed on a Windows PC.

Exl-Plan includes a free 150-page Business Plan Guide and Word-based Template. Exl-Plan can save time and money and contribute substantial business, financial and spreadsheet know-how to your plan - check these benefits or get full details and free trial downloads.


Quick Guide to Exl-Plan Versions

 
 
Fast Facts

Name: Exl-Plan (nine versions and US/Can & UK/International editions).

Function: Excel template for multi-year income, cashflow & balance sheet projections with Word template for business plan.

Uses: Business plans, budgets, raising finance & strategic planning.

For: Managers, consultants, entrepreneurs & startups.

Benefits: Saves time & effort. Easy-to-use. Expandable. Provides know-how & improves planning.

System: Windows 95/98/ Me/NT/2000/XP/Vista/
Win7,8,10 with Excel 5,7,8,95,97,2000,XP,2003,
2007,2010,2013,2016.

Prices (US$): Free, 29, 49, 89, 129, 169, 209, 249 or 289.

See Also: Cashflow Plan for rolling 12-month projections.

 
   

The notes below will help you get a trial copy of Exl-Plan up and running with minimal initial instruction.

When being run for the first time, a trial version of Exl-Plan needs about 8 Mb of disk space to load and automatically create a backup copy (TESTPLAN.XLS) during setup. If this space is not available, Exl-Plan will skip this task. First-time installation can take up to five minutes (depending on the speed of the PC being used) while toolbars are been reset and backups are created. Subsequent loading of Exl-Plan is much faster.

All versions/editions of Exl-Plan contain extensive online help (130+ topics) along with a 90-page manual (Word or PDF format) and a series of Flash-based tutorials (running for 19 minutes) covering setting up Excel, getting started, the basics and using Quik-Plan.

Suggestion: Instead of having to refer back to this page, you may wish to open and print this Quick Start Guide. It will lead you through installing, running and exploring Exl-Plan.

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2. Installation of Exl-Plan

When Exl-Plan starts loading, Excel may display a dialog about macros and viruses. If Exl-Plan was secured from a reliable source or directly from PlanWare, press the Enable Macros button (Exl-Plan will not load properly if the Disable Macros button is pressed). As loading progresses, a further dialog may appear about the location of macros. This can be disabled or ignored.

  1. Download the appropriate version of Exl-Plan from here
  2. Close all other applications.
  3. Confirm that at least 8 Mb of space is free on the hard disk to which Exl-Plan will be installed.
  4. Use Start | Run to run the downloaded file (EX*.EXE) and then follow on-screen instructions to install Exl-Plan's files into the appropriate folders.
  5. When installation has finished, go to the Exl-Plan menu within the Programs Menu and review the supplied README file.
  6. Then either select Exl-Plan from within the Programs menu or load Excel and open the main Exl-Plan workbook file EXLPLAN.XLS located in the folder specified during installation. Once loaded, follow on-screen prompts and wait a few moments while a copy of Exl-Plan is created. This copy, TESTPLAN.XLS, should be used for experimentation. EXLPLAN.XLS should be carefully retained as the original master copy. During initial loading, the Exl-Plan display may go blank for a few seconds while set up is taking place.

For additional guidance, you can watch several How to ... Tutorials covering the basics of setting up and using Exl-Plan.

When loading Exl-Plan into Excel, you must enable macros so that Exl-Plan's menus, buttons, tools etc. can operate. The following instructions explain how to do this for different versions of Excel.

If using Excel 5, 7, 8, 95, 97, 2000, XP and 2003:

  1. Click to display full sizeIf Excel displays a message about enabling macros while Exl-Plan is loading, you must select Enable Macros (click thumb opposite for guidance).
  2. If Excel displays a message like "The macros in this project are disabled ..... " you need to reduce the security level set within Excel from High to Medium via Tools | Macro | Security | Security Level (click thumbs below for guidance). You should then close and reopen Excel and then reload Exl-Plan. During reloading, you will be asked whether you want to enable macros. This is quite safe to do provided you secured Exl-Plan from our site or another reliable, trustworthy source.
  3. If Exl-Plan appears to load but only its FRONT worksheet is visible and its special menus do not appear in Excel's toolbar, you need to reduce the security level set within Excel from High to Medium via Tools | Macro | Security | Security Level (click thumbs below for guidance). Once done, you will be asked whether you want to enable macros whenever you try to load a workbook file (like Exl-Plan) that contains macros.

    Click to display full size Click to display full size Click to display full size
    Load Excel, select Tools, Macro, Security ... ... click Medium security level and close Excel. Reload Excel, load Exl-Plan and, when prompted, enable macros.

  4. If Exl-Plan loads and all its worksheets are visible but its special menus (they all start with * to simplify identification) do not appear in Excel's toolbar, you will need to temporarily reduce the number of menus displayed by Excel by disabling any add-ins which create special menus. To do this, use Tools | Add-ins to open a list of available add-ins. Uncheck the relevant add-ins, press the OK button, close and reload Excel. This should allow Exl-Plan to load fully and display its menus. To restore the disabled add-ins, reverse the procedure described above.
  5. Occasionally, Exl-Plan will load satisfactorily but may not display its special menus starting with *Assumptions, *Protect and so on. This may be due to a conflict with some add-ins loaded automatically by Excel. The fix is to reload Excel, uncheck all add-ins via Tools | Add-Ins; reload Excel and then open the Exl-Plan file.
  6. If a blank screen appears while loading of Exl-Plan and the system hangs, there has probably been a memory leak, caused by another application, which has reduced the memory available to Excel and Exl-Plan. To resolve, use CTRL+ALT + DEL to close down Excel and Exl-Plan. Then, reboot the PC to wash out the leak.

If using Excel 2007:

  1. Change the security level in Excel 2007 to enable it run macros by checking that Excel's Macro Settings within the Trust Center have been set to Disable all macros with notification. Access the Trust Center by clicking the Office button and selecting Excel Options. Having done that, you must permit Excel to run macros each time that Exl-Plan is loaded as indicated in #2 and #3 below.
  2. Once Exl-Plan has loaded, look out for a message Security Warning - Macros have been disabled and an Option button immediately below Excel's Home tab. Note that this warning is much less evident than that used in earlier versions of Excel.
  3. Click the Options button, specify Enable this content in the Security Alert Macro dialog and wait a few moments for Exl-Plan's macros to run. Note that Exl-Plan's menu bar (*Assumptions, *Protection etc.) is located in the Add-Ins tab. For ease of identification, the Exl-Plan menus all start with an asterisk (*), e.g. *Assumptions. Exl-Plan's special toolbar also appears in the Add-Ins tab. Note that by design the toolbar does not appear for every Exl-Plan worksheet. For more information on using Exl-Plan with Excel 2007, see the comprehensive Checklist and FAQs at http://www.planware.org/exlfaq3.htm.

If using Excel 2010, 2013, 2016:

  1. Change the security level in Excel 2010, 2013, 2016 to enable it run macros by checking that Excel's Macro Settings within the Trust Center have been set to Disable all macros with notification. Access the Trust Center by clicking the File button and selecting Options. Having done that, you must permit Excel to run macros when an Exl-Plan file is loaded for the first time as indicated in #2 and #3 below.
  2. Once Exl-Plan has loaded, look out for a message Security Warning - Macros have been disabled and an Enable Content button immediately below Excel's Home tab. Note that this warning is much less evident than that used in earlier versions of Excel.
  3. Click the Enable Content button and wait a few moments for Exl-Plan's macros to run. Note that Exl-Plan's menu bar (*Assumptions, *Protection etc.) is located in the Add-Ins tab. For ease of identification, the Exl-Plan menus all start with an asterisk (*), e.g. *Assumptions. Exl-Plan's special toolbar also appears in the Add-Ins tab. Note that by design the toolbar does not appear for every Exl-Plan worksheet. For more information on using Exl-Plan with Excel 2010, 2013, 2016, see the comprehensive Checklist and FAQs at http://www.planware.org/exlfaq3.htm.

If Exl-Plan fails to detect the correct size of the screen display being used, use *TOOLS/SETUP | CHANGE DEFAULT ZOOM VALUE.

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3. Familiarization with Exl-Plan

Suggestion: Instead of having to refer back to this page, you may wish to open and print this Quick Start Guide. It will lead you through installing, running and exploring Exl-Plan.

For additional guidance, you can watch several How to ... Tutorials covering the basics of setting up and using Exl-Plan.

When running Exl-Plan with W95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP/Vista, it is best to place the Windows taskbar at the bottom of the screen in order to improve the view of reports etc.

If using Vista and if Exl-Plan's help files fail to load and/or Excel indicates "There was a problem running the macro (1037)." there are two solutions as follows:

  1. Download and install the widely-used Help program (WinHlp32.exe) needed for help files used by some versions of Exl-Plan. You can get it from the Microsoft Download Center. If this link is broken, search the Microsoft site for "Windows Help program (WinHlp32.exe) for Windows Vista".
  2. An alternative solution is to disregard the help files and simply use the comprehensive manual supplied in PDF format with all versions of Exl-Plan. This covers the exact same material as the help files. If doing this, you should not click the help-related buttons within Exl-Plan's worksheets or within the *Exl-Plan Help menu. Also, you should turn off Toggle Help for Calculation Errors within Exl-Plan's *Tools or *Setup menu.

The suggestions below mainly relate to the Micro, Lite, Pro, Super, Super Plus, Ultra and Ultra Plus versions and assume that Exl-Plan is running with Excel 5, 7, 8, 95, 97, 2000, XP or 2003. If using Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, see also Frequently Asked Questions for Using Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016.

  1. Note that Excel's autocalculation function does not operate with Exl-Plan. To update projections, click one of the "C" buttons within Exl-Plan's toolbar or use the calculate options within the *Tools/Setup menu.
  2. To become familiar with the basics and geography of Exl-Plan, take the Quik-Tour (*EXL-PLAN HELP | QUIK-TOUR) from within the previously created TESTPLAN.XLS file.
  3. Run the cursor across the menu bar - File, Edit etc. Note that Exl-Plan has added several new menus (*ASSUMPTIONS, *PROTECTION etc.).
  4. Click to display full sizeClick the M_S worksheet tab (or the "MA" toolbar button) to go to the monthly assumptions report for sales forecasts etc. Note that assumption values (displayed in blue) should be entered or altered only within the rectangular boxed-in areas opposite the ->> or <<->> arrows (click thumb opposite for illustration). Values shown in black contain formulae and are normally locked (protected).
  5. Try adding or changing some of the supplied assumption values for sales and recalculate (*TOOLS/SETUP | CALCULATE ALL & CHECK) to check the model's integrity and to update all the monthly, first-year, quarterly and annual output reports. (Note that Exl-Plan always uses manual calculation).
  6. Click sheet tabs to view the other monthly assumption reports (M_M, M_C etc.) and change/add assumption values as desired.
  7. Use Exl-Plan's menus, worksheet tabs and buttons (especially "<-" and "->") to view the remaining assumption and output reports and charts.
  8. Explore Exl-Plan's extensive help facilities within the *EXL-PLAN HELP menu.

Check out Frequently Asked Questions for Exl-Plan here.

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4. Things to Try

The suggestions below mainly relate to the Micro, Lite, Pro, Super, Super Plus, Ultra and Ultra Plus versions. See also the How to ... Tutorials covering the basics of using Exl-Plan. This guidance assumes that Exl-Plan is running with Excel 5, 7, 8, 95, 97, 2000, XP or 2003. If using Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, see also Frequently Asked Questions for Using Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016.

  1. Review a selection of the monthly, quarterly and annual assumption & output reports and charts to see how Exl-Plan handles its assumptions.
  2. Experiment with Exl-Plan's data-entry facilities which are located within the *ASSUMPTIONS menu (i.e. CLEAR ASSUMPTIONS, CONSTANT ASSUMPTIONS etc.) or accessible via the graphical buttons in the toolbar.
  3. Click to display full sizeGo to the Quarterly Assumptions Report (by clicking the Q_A tab or "QA" button). Observe that monthly projections for an earlier year have been included in this report as quarterly values (click thumb opposite for illustration).
  4. Add or change quarterly assumptions. Recalculate and review the quarterly and annual output reports and their associated charts.
  5. If using Pro, Super or Super Plus, go to the 4th-5th Year Assumptions Report (click the 45_A tab or "45" button). Add or change annual assumptions for the fourth and fifth years and recalculate. If using Ultra or Ultra Plus, go to the optional 6th-7th Year Assumptions Report (click the 67_A tab).
  6. View the Textual Summary Report (TEXT tab or *OUTPUT | TEXTUAL) and other annual output reports & charts (click thumb below for illustration).
  7. Print selected assumption or output reports and charts.
  8. Click to display full sizeIf using Pro, Super, Super Plus, Ultra or Ultra Plus, try the sensitivity analysis facility (*TOOLS/SETUP | GO TO SENSITIVITY ANALYSIS) to globally change groups of key monthly and/or quarterly assumptions.
  9. Continue exploring Exl-Plan's menus etc. and entering or changing assumptions. Use its online help (*EXL-PLAN HELP) as appropriate.

Any questions? See Frequently Asked Questions for Exl-Plan here.

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5. Building New Projections

The suggestions below mainly relate to the Micro, Lite, Pro, Super, Super Plus, Ultra or Ultra Plus versions. They assume that Exl-Plan is running with Excel 5, 7, 8, 95, 97, 2000, XP or 2003. If using Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, see also Frequently Asked Questions for Using Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016.

Note that if you start using a trial version of Exl-Plan to develop financial projections, you can remotely upgrade the file being used to the commercial version - see *EXL-PLAN HELP | SHAREWARE UPGRADE INFORMATION. This saves further downloading, reentry of assumptions etc. To upgrade online, click this page.

To start constructing a new set of financial projections, reload TESTPLAN.XLS, or a copy, and immediately save it with an appropriate new file name.

Refer to Exl-Plan's online help for guidance - see the topics relating to Model-building Procedure and Entering Assumptions. See also Frequently Asked Questions here.

Note that your assumptions are entered directly into Monthly and Quarterly Assumption Reports only. The Output Reports contain extensive formulae which generate the projections. The only exceptions are the prior year P&L in the Monthly P&L and the opening balance sheet in the Monthly Balance Sheet which must be entered directly into these reports. Be sure to save your model at regular intervals.

The trial versions of Exl-Plan contain several restrictions which are automatically removed when upgraded to the fully-operational version. Depending on the version of Exl-Plan, the restrictions may include access to Quik-Plan, entry of basic information (company name, start date, sales group names, currency symbol/denomination etc.), automatic clearing of assumptions from some/all reports, removal of worksheet protection, use of dialogs to specify reports to print, and more.

If you are using an upgraded or commercial version of Exl-Plan, perform the following preliminary tasks. For additional help, see the How to ... Tutorials covering the basics of setting up and using Exl-Plan.

  1. Load a copy of Exl-Plan and save it immediately with a new file name.
  2. Click to display full sizeSelect *Tools/Setup | Basic Model Info and enter basic information about the business to be modeled (click thumb opposite to see Basic Model Information dialog).
  3. Give the new model a title, for example First Attempt, using *Tools/Setup | Enter Model Title. This will be inserted automatically in the footer of each printed report.
  4. Use the *Tools/Setup | Clear All Assumption Reports menu command to remove all unprotected assumption values throughout the model.

If you wish to use Quik-Plan to generate first-cut high-level projections for 3/5 years, follow steps 1-3 above and then go to the QUIK worksheet.



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