Discussions (beta)


Discussions are a flexible way to have conversations within workbooks using chat-like functionality that streamline the process of model review and improve quality control, minimizing errors. Multiple team members can contribute to discussions, attach supporting references (i.e., "back-ups") such as files, links to websites, screen shots, and more. Discussions are linked to specific cells or ranges of cells, providing an audit history that "tells the story" behind an assumption or calculation.

Beta Notice

Discussions are a beta feature that is available for Excel 2013 and newer. This feature may be extensively modified or removed altogether in subsequent releases.

There are many ways to incorporate discussions into your modeling workflows; below is an example:

Example Usage

A Summer Analyst—an intern—is tasked with a comparable acquisitions analysis by his Associate. Because the Summer Analyst is inexperienced, the Associate insists that the intern source every data point and explain every assumption. As the Summer Analyst builds the analysis, he sources each data point using Macabacus' Discuss pane by either adding a source file, a link to the source web page, or a screen shot of the applicable information. Where he must use his judgement, he explains his rationale behind an assumption by adding a text message in the Discuss pane.

When the analysis is complete, the Associate opens the model for review and also opens the Discuss pane. The Associate can clearly see all of the source materials used in the analysis, as well as explanations behind the assumptions made by the intern. As the Associate reviews the model, she has comments and questions on the inputs in certain cells, such as "I think this value is too high, let's use 12%" and "where does this number come from?" She records these thoughts in Macabacus' Discuss pane, which links her comments to the cells to which they refer, and sends the workbook back to the Summer Analyst for follow-up.

In the Discuss pane, click the New Discussion button to begin a new discussion regarding the selected cell(s). The discussion will remain linked to the selection cell(s), even as you change the structure of your workbook by inserting rows, for example. Messages, files, links, and screen shots that you add to the discussion appear in blue balloons, while those contributed by others appear in gray balloons.

This documentation refers to the latest Macabacus version. Some features and descriptions of these features may not apply to older versions of Macabacus. Update your Macabacus software to take advantage of the latest features.

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