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Using Excel add-on to synchronize excel sheets

05 Dec 2018 14:36 - 05 Dec 2018 14:38 #6887 by support

this is very interesting. In fact, as far as I can tell now, QuickOPC with Excel option seems like a good fit for this.

About the only issue I can foresee is the fact that for it to function well, the connection to the OPC UA server will have to work at the time somebody wants the value. Of course normally the connection should be operational, but they need to think about the scenario when it isn't, and how would that affect their workflow. The Excel sheets can store the last retrieved value (if they assure that the sheet gets saved) - either with the formula cell (?) or if they somehow arrange that the last known value gets copied elsewhere. I suggest they make a "proof of concept" and simply try it out.

Unless they specifically need to drop in new cells to their spreadsheets on the Excel workstations, Connectivity Explorer is not required to be installed on them. In fact, only a fairly minimal installation (there is a choice for it in the Setup) is needed - just the QuickOPC assemblies and the RTD server COM component. All that the Connectivity Explorer does is that it puts together the Excel formula, which then gets copied or drag&dropped into Excel. Once it is there, Connectivity Explorer is not needed any more. In fact, the formulas can be put together by hand as well, eliminating the need for Connectivity Explorer.

Technically, both license keys (one for QuickOPC and one for the Excel option) always need to be installed on the Excel workstations (the "Excel Options" does not enabled anything by itseld, it just extends the base key).

As far as the license conditions go, this is bit of a gray area, as the definition of "Developer" is not as clear with Excel as it is with, say, C# development. I would label anybody who creates or modifies Excel sheets with RTD formulas pointing to QuickOPC as a Developer. So, if, on the Excel workstation, they just use the Excel sheets prepared by somebody else (with the Developer license), or modify them but without modifying the RTD QuickOPC cells, they would be OK with treating the Excel workstations as "Runtime" (and will therefore not need to pay for them extra). If they need to modify the RTD formulas on the workstations (and especially if they plan to use Connection Explorer for that), that each such workstation would need to be covered by a Developer license (=Single Dev. + Runtime free, or Additional Developer, or by applying a Site License).

Best regards
Last edit: 05 Dec 2018 14:38 by support.

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05 Dec 2018 14:22 #6886 by support
From: R.
Sent: Tuesday, December 4, 2018 4:04 PM
To: Zbynek Zahradnik <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Subject: Excel Add-on Licensing and deployment.

Hello Zbynek,

We have a customer that is attempting to use the Excel add-on for the following case:

The customer would like to increase productivity by synchronizing multiple excel sheets on multiple hosts using a central OPC UA server. So he is exploring the Idea of using the Excel add on to established a communication link between an excel sheet and a OPC Server to then deploy it to multiple PCs within his department. Their current solution: Update the data points on the excel sheet manually and then email the updated sheet to the rest of the engineers so that they can update their report as well; however, some of the data points contains information vital to their calculation and are update every so often. I believe what the customer is trying to achieve is something like google sheets where all the cells get updated on all open instances of the specific sheet but instead he wants to use the excel add-on to update the excel sheets by a single OPC UA Server as the data source. For example, lets assumed one of the data points provides us with a constant that gets updated by the PLC every day. This constant is used to calculate the throughput of our system but it also used to calculate the amount of pressure that needs to be added to the system. Now, we have two engineers that are in charge of reporting on it. Well if engineer one opens his excel sheet to report on the throughput he will see the same value for the PLC data point (provided by the OPC UA Server) that engineer two see on his Pressure report excel sheet used to calculate the values. The Idea is to use the excel add-on to guarantee the same value (PLC provided value via OPC UA Server) across all reports using the same data points and avoiding the emailing process that they currently have in place.

I suggested to him using excel sheets or one drive, but I was told that company policy does not allow him to do so. My question to you:

1. Do you see any issues he might face using the excel add-on to achieve his goal?
2. If he is able to employ the toolkit to solve his problem, how would licensing work since he wants to deploy it to multiple PC within his department? I assumed he will need to have Connectivity explorer installed in all PCs that will be running this add-on but does he need to buy an Excel add-on license for each PC that is running it?

I hope you do not mind me asking you directly instead of using the forum, but since it had to do with the toolkits licensing I felt it was more appropriate to ask you directly. Please let me know if you need more clarification or if you have any questions for me. Thanks in advance.

Best regards,

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