6 January 2022

Excel Automation Tips and Tricks

6 January 2022

Excel Automation Tips and Tricks

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Introduction

 

This article offers insights on how you can achieve automations for Microsoft Excel. UiPath has done a fantastic job in providing activities used to automate Excel inputs. To better understand, find out more about the Excel Activities Pack offered. There are times when tackling a problem requires a combination of various activities. Take a look at the tips and tricks to help you on your way to Excel automation. 

 

Scenario 1: Paste data dynamically in Excel

 

Let's imagine the below data in an Excel Tab named AppendRow. The task is to add the data from the data sheet to the end of the data in AppendRow.

 

Excel1

 

This task is simple and can be accomplished by using Read Range and Append Range Activity as shown below. 

 

Excel2

 

The problem with appending ranges is that it would directly append the data to existing data. Now, if there are two sets of data in the same Excel sheet as shown below, it doesn't work. If you want to append range to the data available in column I—Append Range Fails as append Range will append the data from the last cell of A.

 

Excel3

 

To accomplish this correctly, follow the steps below.  

 

  1. 1. Read the source data from the Excel sheet data into a data table using Read Range activity.  

Excel4

  1.  
  2. 2. Next, use another Read Range Activity and Read the Destination Data (Append Row) in a data table called dt_Dest where you want to paste. In this case, from I3, as the data is starting from cell I3.

Excel5

  1.  
  2. 3. Create a string variable called str_Range to store the Range. 
  • Get the last cell where data is available by counting the Rows in the dt_Dest Datatable.

  • Append the row count of the dt_Dest to the Column Number (I) as shown below.

Excel6

 

4. Now that you have the range where the data must be pasted, you can simply use a write range activity and write the source data starting from the dynamic range just evaluated.

 

Excel7

 

5. Final automation looks like this: 

 

Excel8

 

The same steps are explained in detail in this video!

 

Scenario 2: Refreshing multiple pivots in an Excel sheet in three different ways

 

Consider a scenario where we have three pivots in an Excel sheet as shown below, starting from cell I2, M2, and P2. 

 

Excel9

 

Once the data is updated in the source and there is a requirement to refresh the pivots by the robot, we have an activity called Refresh Pivot. However, the activity refreshes one pivot at a time and expects one pivot time as input as shown in the below.  

 

Excel10

 

Now, considering the above scenario where we have three pivots, we do not want to use the same activity Refresh Pivot three times.

To accomplish this, follow the steps below. 

 

1. You can have a list of strings or array of strings and you can store all the pivots named to refresh in it as shown below. 

 

Excel11

 

  1. 2. Next, repeat for each activity. Iterate the list of pivots and inside the foreach you can just use a single Refresh Pivot activity instead of using it three times. Now this list can be configured in a configuration file or assets in UiPath Orchestrator

Excel12

 

The second way of refreshing multiple pivots is using the hotkey (Ctrl + Alt + F5)— you just go to the sheet and click the send hotkey (Ctrl + Alt + F5), which is a shortcut to refresh all available pivots as shown below.

Excel13

 

The third way of refreshing multiple pivots at the same time is  using the UI (User Interface) Automation. 

  • Click on the activity and then click on the Data tab in Excel 
  • Once opened, click on the option which says Refresh All. 

Excel14

 

All the three ways to refresh pivots are explained in this video!

 

 

Scenario 3: Usage of Invoke VBA and the Invoke Code

 

Lastly, we have two especially useful activities provided by UiPath — Invoke VBA and the Invoke Code.   

 

Invoke VBA   

  1. 1. You can write a macro in Excel as shown below. This Macro is to Refresh All pivots from the Excel:  

Excel15

  1.  
  2. 2. Once the VBA is tested, the same can be stored as a .vb file using a Notepad: 

Excel16

  1. 3. Lastly, you just must invoke the .vb file in UiPath Studio as shown below: 

Excel17

 

Invoke VBA is explained in detail here!  

 

Invoke Code  

 

  1. 1. The below activity helps you write Vb.Net or C# code inside the UiPath Studio. You can Invoke Code and perform the Excel operations: 

Excel18

  1. 2. You have the option to pass the arguments to the code using the arguments as shown below: 

Excel19

  1. Now in the Invoke Code, you can write code. The sample code below is written to delete a sheet from Excel: 

Excel20

 

More details about Invoke Code and how it's different from Invoke VBA in this video.  

 

Conclusion

 

UiPath offers a deep integration with Microsoft Excel and bring you the possibility of automating different tasks. Here you can find out more.

Starting with Studio v2021.10 and UiPath.Excel.Activities v2.11.0, a modern design experience is available to explore

 

Happy Automation!  

 

Mukesh Kala is an RPA Developer at NatWest Group

 

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by Mukesh Kala

TOPICS: UiPath Studio

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