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October 3, 2007 05:51 AM

Categories: Licensing Issues

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Joined: 10/03/2007


could someone tell me the best and easiest way to license an excel spreadsheet with lots of VBA code ?

any third party applications that worth mentioning ?

Discussion:    Add a Comment | Comments 1-21 of 21 | Latest Comment

October 3, 2007 4:34 PM

You need to be a little clearer with your question. Have you developed an Excel application that you want to re-sell? If so, take a look at http://softwareceo.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3401. If not, then you need to let us know what you DO want to do. The best way to do anything may not be the easiest way.

I'm particularly not sure how the second question relates to the first.

October 5, 2007 3:56 AM

hi charles.. yes i would like to resell an excel spreadsheet with vba code that i have developed..

are there any third party tools that can do what i want ?

October 5, 2007 5:57 AM

Third party products for "packaging" your add-on so it looks like a "real program"?

Third party sites that sell VBA/Excel applications?


If you mean the first, I don't personally know of any, but perhaps Google does. A very good source would be Microsoft's "partner" Web site.

October 5, 2007 6:13 AM

yes the first... i just need to protect it basically and distribute it on a user license basis..

i have looked around and couldn't find what i needed..

October 5, 2007 6:32 AM

Have you found other commercial products that are similar to yours? If so, you could either hunt around in their packaging, or write to them and ask what they use.

If not, perhaps the tools do not exist. VBA is inherently kind of a source-code-centric sort of technology.

I got some promising hits on Google searching on .

October 5, 2007 6:38 AM

not quite... my product is unique and serves a purpose.. that's why it's excel based..

the problem with excel of course is that is very difficult to compile it to a protected exe file...

i would have expected excel compilation (i.e. converting it to a protected software) to be a more mainstream topic

have you heard of Information Rights Management ? ... although i don't want to use microsoft services ...

October 5, 2007 6:55 AM

I don't think MS IRM does what you want but I am not a big expert.

You could post a clearer question in the R&D forum: "Does anyone know of a product that would help me package and protect the intellectual property of an Excel add-on application written in VBA?"

October 5, 2007 8:43 AM

just to clarify .. this is not an add on application to something else

it is supposed to work stand-alone in excel... all i need is a method to protect this workbook and distribute it on a user by user license basis...

October 5, 2007 9:42 AM

You have to wrap it inside a VB or other language app and Visual Studio with Office Tools offers those types of programming options. If it is just a spreadsheet then there is no way to wrap it and manage licenses for it.

Here is how another person is selling their Excel spreadsheet, but, again, there is no way to manage the license. You could make each one have a different password that they have to get from you to open it but they could still their copy and password to someone else.



October 5, 2007 10:01 AM

Excel does have the ability to make calls to external libraries in the form of ActiveX DLLs. You can use a commercial license manager that supports ActiveX DLLs to perform all the usual licensing functions: node-locking, time limited licensing, enabling features or usage and so forth.

Our EasyLicenser License Manager would be one example of such a license manager, and there are surely others.



October 5, 2007 11:39 AM

Seems to me that a more secure way to do this would be to create an app using a "regular" dev tool and incorporate the spreadsheet as an object into that app.

Every decent dev tool has a way to manipulate Excel cells' content and format, so this isn't a tall order.

Doing this now, before you have 10,000 users (and 90000 unpaid users you dont know about), is going to cost a lot less and be a lot less painful than it will be in the future when the pain point gets so big that you are forced to do it.


October 5, 2007 11:48 AM

hi Dominic,

this seems to be exactly what I need. Could you please send me some pricing information and if you have a tutorial handy on how to protect my EXCEL spreadsheet and VBA code that would be great as well!

i am currently at £0 revenue but i expect this to grow a lot if my idea picks up.. please email me

n e o d j andre@gmail.com

without the spaces !

October 5, 2007 12:00 PM

Check out Dominic's company's Web site at www.agilis-sw.com for more information on their products.

You could also combine Dominic's advice with Mark's: convert your VBA macros into a "real program" (my apologies) and then protect it with one of the Agilis products.

October 5, 2007 12:06 PM

it seems that i am already running to the project being non-feasible..

easylicenser costs a lot of $$$ based on a document i have read on their website and i have absolutely no idea whatsoever on how to integrate my excel spreadsheet..

i will need a model which will pay my costs when i have revenue !

October 5, 2007 12:46 PM

This looks promising - you might want to check it out...


October 5, 2007 12:51 PM

mbermas, i have checked that out... but there are a lot limitations of that tool if you have noticed ! so it doesnt work for me

thanks anyway :-)

October 5, 2007 1:10 PM

My business used to use a printing company that had a sign on the wall: fast service, high quality, cheap ... pick any two.

I think this is the same thing: Protected, comprehensive, cheap ... pick any two.

October 8, 2007 3:55 AM

My business used to use a printing company that had a sign on the wall: fast service, high quality, cheap ... pick any two.

I think this is the same thing: Protected, comprehensive, cheap ... pick any two.

charles, this is exactly what my idea is so far .. comprehensive and definetely cheaper than the competitors product.. the only thing i am missing is protection :-)

October 8, 2007 9:08 AM

Charles was saying that you had to pick which two YOU would settle for in the creation of your spreadsheet for distribution. Not your customers.

I'm sure you've already contacted the developers of the Excel tool that was already shared to discuss what is missing that you need, in their product. Did they think that they could expand on the portion that was missing in their product, for you? Were they open to collaboration?

I love how easy it is to work with other developers on needs when you bring something to the table that will add value to their overall product. We work with another company and that developer was missing something that he added in one week.

Also, sometimes you have to spend money to make money. When we started out we used the small business investment services of Mastercard and Visa. If you protect your worksheet, you should be confident of how much people will pay for it and should be able to project out the pay back on the expenditure to get it licensed with a license management tool. This is the basic joy of the software business. You have to buy the tools that do what you need and make your product good enough that it will pay off the debt that you create when you start out.


April 29, 2008 2:39 PM

Nalpeiron has a number of clients that protect and license their excel based products using their service.


May 3, 2012 6:31 PM updated: May 3, 2012 6:32 PM

Hi, you should try XLSafe PRO... Works great for me :)

The company that has this sofware is called Datasafexl.


Discussion:    Add a Comment | Back to Top | Comments 1-21 of 21 | Latest Comment

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