What is Macabacus Lite?
Macabacus Lite is a beta web add-in for Excel built using the latest Microsoft technologies for Microsoft 365 add-in development. A beta is an early version of an application released to users for testing and feedback.
Macabacus Lite is in beta as the technologies used to build this type of add-in are in their early stages and are quickly evolving. Due to limitations within Microsoft's tools for building web add-ins, these technologies are not yet mature enough to support viable, standalone products.
In the past, add-ins have been built using Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO) technology. This technology is dependent on desktop installations of Office on the Windows platform. Macabacus Lite is built on newer technology, allowing it to be a cross-platform product (Windows, Mac, online).
Why did we create it?
We created Macabacus Lite to allow access to our leading productivity and brand compliance tools across platforms. VSTO add-ins are only accessible on Windows machines running a desktop installation of Office. The new technology powering Macabacus Lite allows it to be a true cross-platform product, making it more accessible for all users and customers using a mix of platforms.
Web add-ins are built using more familiar web technologies, which makes them easier to create and maintain from a development perspective. This technology is ultimately the future of add-in development. Since it is more accessible for users of all platforms and makes for a more straightforward development process, it benefits both development teams and end users alike.
How does it compare to Macabacus?
Because the technology Macabacus Lite is built on is still new and constrained by Microsoft's tools for creating web add-ins, Macabacus Lite currently contains a small subset of capabilities found in Macabacus for Excel.
VSTO add-ins like Macabacus are generally more sophisticated because they are built with mature technologies offering far more capability and integrating more deeply with the computing environment. There are also some considerable differences in the actual design and layout of Macabacus Lite compared to Macabacus.
Ultimately, Microsoft's tools for creating web add-ins are underdeveloped and rudimentary at this time, which severely limits what developers can build with these tools. As Microsoft continues to improve its tools, Macabacus Lite will also improve.
Who should use Macabacus Lite?
If you have Microsoft 365 for Windows, we highly recommend using Macabacus. If you are using Microsoft 365 on a Mac or online, then Macabacus Lite may be an acceptable alternative.
What is the plan for Macabacus Lite?
Macabacus Lite is in the beta stage and offers some utility to users who cannot use Microsoft 365 for Windows. As beta software, Macabacus Lite may be changed substantially or discontinued at any time.
Microsoft 365 for Windows users can download the full VSTO version of Macabacus here and evaluate it free for 30 days. Eventually, we hope to add enough capability into Macabacus Lite to stand as a viable commercial alternative to Macabacus (i.e., become a paid version).
Macabacus Lite will remain free as long as it is in beta. We are starting with an Excel add-in, but Macabacus Lite will eventually grow to include a PowerPoint add-in when Microsoft delivers the requisite tools to build a useful add-in for PowerPoint.
Is there documentation?
We expect to make documentation specific to our web add-ins available once they mature. Most Macabacus Lite features mimic those in our more sophisticated Macabacus VSTO add-ins. Accordingly, the documentation for those add-ins will loosely apply to our web add-ins.
Who do I contact for support with MacLite?
You can contact us via email at email@example.com; however, as Macabacus Lite is a free product, phone support or escalation is unavailable.
As it's currently in beta, we strongly encourage reviews and feedback on Macabacus Lite. This will help improve our web add-in's utility into a viable, standalone, cross-platform offering.