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TitleFAQ: Power Tools - Version 7 [Jul. 2010]
AuthorPhillip Thorne
Question

What are the changes to Data Buffet Power Tools version 7, released in July 2010?

Answer

Data Buffet Power Tools is a triplet of Microsoft Office add-ins that integrate the DataBuffet.com website with Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint and Office on your desktop.  In July 2010, we released a new version of the software, v.7, with several enhancements.  Please download and install the new version, which is accessible through the Tools menu on Data Buffet.

Installation
I can't install the add-in .xla file in the usual fashion.

There is an final step, a program you run through the Start button.  Please read the installation guide (located at the bottom of the installation page on DataBuffet.com) closely.  This extra step is necessary because Power Tools has some additional functionality not usually found in an Excel add-in.

Concurrency Locking (Excel, PowerPoint, Word)
What's a "Concurrency Violation" error?

This is the first situation many users will encounter, and the most immediate reason to install v.7.  It is explained in this article.

Refresh vs. Force Refresh (Excel)
When I refresh, nothing happens.

Historically, whenever you hit "Refresh" in Power Tools ("Refresh Selection," "Worksheet," "Workbook" or "All," either button or menu), the spreadsheet would be renewed, whether or not there was any fresh data (i.e., added points on historical series, revised points on forecast series).  This constituted an unnecessary load on our server.

The new version of Power Tools is smarter, and knows when time series have (and have not) been updated on Data Buffet.  When you push "Refresh," it downloads only the fresh data.  If a time series on our server has not yet changed, there's no point in downloading it anew ...

... Unless you've lost the values in your spreadsheet.  If your cells have been overwritten for whatever reason, use the "Force Refresh" sub-menu instead.

To summarize: "Force Refresh" acts like the old Refresh, and "Refresh" now has caching.

Function References (Excel)
What does "C:\Documents and Settings\JohnDoe\Application Data\MEDC\Excel\EconBuffet(...)" mean?

Historically, the cell reference to the EconBuffet workbook function included a folder path prefix, specific to the Windows profile of the spreadsheet's original author.  This impeded sharing -- if you passed the file to a coworker, whose profile of course differed, the functions wouldn't work.

The local path is now stripped from the EconBuffet function, so that anyone may use the spreadsheet.  (Anyone with Power Tools and a Data Buffet account, that is.)

Formula Signature (Excel)

The EconBuffet workbook formula now has an additional (eighth) parameter, the update date of the series.  This is the timestamp used by the new Refresh operation (see above) to avoid unnecessary downloads.