Macabacus libraries are repositories for content and templates intended for frequent reuse that facilitate the standardization and preparation of materials produced by you or your organization


Macabacus libraries are repositories for content and templates intended for frequent reuse that facilitate the standardization and preparation of materials produced by you or your organization. You can create up to three libraries with Macabacus—a personal library intended for use by a single Macabacus user, a team library to be shared by users in a group, and a company library to be shared by all users in an organization.

Macabacus libraries are similar to PowerPoint's native Slide Library, except that (a) Macabacus requires neither the Professional Plus version of Office nor SharePoint to deliver such functionality, and (b) Macabacus lets you add much more than just slides to the library.

Library Content

A Macabacus library may contain several types of content:

  • Slides — Slides commonly used in presentations, such as team pages, executive bios, and tombstone ("creds") pages
  • Meta Slides — Similar to regular slides, but published with metadata used for filtering in the Library pane
  • Shapes — Office shapes commonly used in presentations, workbooks, and documents, such as Harvey Balls, icons, clip art, etc.
  • Meta Shapes — Similar to regular shapes, but published with metadata used for filtering in the Library pane. Meta Shapes were formerly known as "tombstones", but were rebranded in Macabacus v9 to highlight their support for a broader range of shape content
  • Images — Images commonly used in presentations, workbooks, and documents, such as company logos and head shots
  • Charts — Pre-formatted charts that are pre-populated with dummy data and commonly used in workbooks, presentations, or documents, such as waterfall charts, Marimekko charts, etc.
  • Tables — Pre-formatted tables (cell ranges) that help standardize the formatting, structure, and even content of new analyses in Excel
  • Text — Text snippets like legal notices or executive biography (CV) text
  • Archived Decks — Completed presentations archived in libraries and published with metadata used for filtering in the Library pane

Library Templates

A Macabacus library may contain three types of templates:

  • Presentation Templates — Template (.potx) files used to define layouts, formatting, etc., for your PowerPoint presentations
  • Model Templates — Financial or other models intended for use as starting points when building new models in Excel
  • Document Templates — Word document templates such as fax cover pages

The term "template" is used here loosely, as "template" normally refers to .xltx/.xltm and .dotx/.dotm files in the context of Excel and Word, respectively.

Using Libraries

Inserting Content

Library Pane

Click the Macabacus > Library button in PowerPoint, Excel, or Word to open the Library pane and display content in your libraries. The types of content available in the Library pane vary with the Office application in which you opened the Library pane. For example, slide content is only viewable in the Library pane when opened in PowerPoint. Use the toggle buttons at the top of the pane as well as in the expandable Filters section to toggle the visibility of libraries and content types. The search bar searches pre-indexed slide and other text very quickly; a powerful tool to help you find what you are looking for fast. Library images are displayed on a checkered background, so that you can determine if transparency is supported, as you would expect for certain illustration file formats (.svg, .png, and .emf). If there is content that is particularly useful, you can click the star to add it as a favorite and filter to show all content that has been marked as a favorite to quickly access this content.

To insert content into your presentation, workbook, or document, select the desired content and click the Insert button. Macabacus will insert the content at the current selection. When inserting shapes, images, and charts into PowerPoint with a placeholder pre-selected, Macabacus places the content into the placeholder if the placeholder accepts the type of content being inserted. When inserting charts into Excel, the inserted chart and its dummy data are added to the workbook on a new worksheet.

Native Overrides

In PowerPoint, when you click native buttons for inserting pictures and charts, either on the ribbon or in some content placeholders, Macabacus can override the native behavior and open the Library pane instead, showing images or charts, as appropriate. If the Library pane is already open, then clicking these buttons results in native behavior (so, you can always click twice for native behavior). These settings are enabled by default, and can be changed in the PowerPoint > Library Behavior section of the Settings dialog, if desired.

Native Overrides

If multiple cells in a single column or row are selected when inserting images from libraries in Excel, the image will be sized to match the height or width, respectively, of the selection. Otherwise, images are inserted at their original size.

You can optionally link slides (including Meta Slides) inserted into PowerPoint from the Library pane to their library source presentations, so they can be updated with a click of a button. To link inserted slides, check the Link to Source checkbox (icon) at the bottom of the Library pane. Read more about linking with PowerPoint slides.

Linked slide example

A slide highlighting recent deals is published to your library. This slide is updated quarterly and is used frequently in presentations. An analyst begins drafting a presentation including this slide on June 20, but by the time the presentation is ready for print on July 5, the slide is outdated. With the click of a button, the analyst can replace the outdated slide with the library's updated version.


Presentation templates in your libraries are used by several of Macabacus for PowerPoint's presentation automation tools, and require specific configuration in order to work with these tools. You "use" a presentation template in your library by setting it to the "active" template, as discussed in another section of this manual. Spreadsheets and document "templates," on the other hand, are simply collections of useful workbooks and documents intended to serve as starting points or building blocks for creating financial models or a new fax cover page, for example. You use model and document templates by accessing them from the Macabacus > New menus in Excel and Word.

Working Offline

Cached Libraries

You can work with your remote library content and templates even when disconnected from the Internet or the network on which remote libraries are stored. When Macabacus cannot connect to a remote library, it will automatically switch to the locally cached version of the library (if caching is enabled). When inserting cached content using the Library pane in PowerPoint in Macabacus v8 and older, the option to link inserted slides to the library is disabled. An icon in the Library pane notifies the user when cached content is displayed.

How Caching Works

Macabacus automatically caches remote libraries at the frequency you specify in the Library Manager dialog (or Libraries section of the Settings dialog in v8). The default is every three days (seven days in v8). This setting can be shared as part of enterprise configuration so that remote libraries will be cached at the desired frequency for all Macabacus users. Automatic caching, when required, occurs in the background upon starting Excel, PowerPoint, or Word. Macabacus performs incremental caches, updating only those files and folders in the local cache that have changed in the remote library to reduce network load and improve caching speed. In Macabacus v9, cached libraries are saved in the following local folder:

C:\Users\%USER NAME%\AppData\Roaming\Macabacus\Cached Libraries

In older versions of Macabacus, cached libraries are saved in the following local folders, as applicable:

C:\Users\%USER NAME%\AppData\Roaming\Macabacus\CompanyLibrary

C:\Users\%USER NAME%\AppData\Roaming\Macabacus\TeamLibrary

C:\Users\%USER NAME%\AppData\Roaming\Macabacus\PersonalLibrary

Using Cached Libraries Full-Time

As of v9, Macabacus defaults to using cached libraries full-time to maximize Library pane performance. This means that users' Library pane contents may be outdated until the next cache is performed, which is determined by your cache frequency (a customizable setting). If you prefer to display remote content in the Library pane, disable the Use cached libraries option in the Library Manager dialog. Whether or not you choose to always use cached libraries does not affect the ability to link inserted slides as in prior versions of Macabacus.

In older versions of Macabacus, you must manually enable the option to always use cached libraries in the Settings dialog. Enabling this option can improve how quickly content loads in the Library pane, depending on the speed of your network and how much content resides in the library, but prevents linking to library slide content and may leave you with outdated cached content and templates. If you decide to enable this option, set your cache frequency to a small value, like every one or two days.

In Macabacus v9, all library management is performed in a single dialog called the Library Manager, accessed from the Macabacus > Settings menu. Use the Library Manager to configure add, remove, and otherwise configure libraries; add, delete, and republish library content and templates; configure user group access; configure custom fields for content that supports metadata; and more.

In older versions of Macabacus, library configuration is performed in Macabacus' Settings dialog, and content and templates are published to libraries from the Macabacus > Settings > Publish to Library menu. To otherwise manage library content and templates, click the Macabacus > Settings > Manage Libraries > Library Contents button.


Making changes to shared libraries (v9) or the company library (v8) requires that either (a) the user be a Macabacus account administrator, or (b) the host Office application be run as a Windows administrator.

Library Structure

A library contains several pre-defined content  categories, such as Slides, Shapes, Charts, Tables, etc. These categories cannot be modified. Each category may contain one or more content groups that can be modified as desired. In Library Manager, expanding a library node will reveal the content categories, and expanding a category node will reveal the content groups in that category (see image above).

Setup Considerations & Prerequisites

When setting up shared libraries for the first time, give thoughtful consideration to their structure before publishing content to them (except as needed for testing). Questions to ask yourself include:

  1. How many shared libraries will I need?
  2. What will my shared libraries be named?
  3. Who will have read and write access to each shared library?
  4. What user groups should I configure?
  5. How will library content be divided among libraries and content groups?
  6. What will my content groups be named?

If you intend to store library content in a cloud storage location like OneDrive or Dropbox, verify that your cloud storage shared folder is properly configured before proceeding. To do this, go to the General > Cloud Storage section of Macabacus' Settings dialog and follow the instructions there (no change may be required). If you did not complete this step before defining your shared libraries, you must delete existing shared library definitions and start over (note that this does not necessarily mean that you need to delete any content previously published to shared libraries).

If you intend to use user groups to manage library read/write access, define them in your Admin Console before setting up shared libraries. Although you can add user groups at any time, considering how user groups impact your library structure may save you the hassle of moving / republishing library content later.

Create Libraries

Cloud Storage Services

If you use a cloud storage service like OneDrive, SharePoint, or Dropbox, ensure that you have configured your cloud storage shared folder path before defining shared libraries as described below.

Before you can publish content to your shared libraries, you must define one or more shared libraries as follows:

  1. In Library Manager, create a new shared library by clicking New Library
    • If you use shared network folders, then the library path should point to a shared network folder accessible to others.
    • If you use a cloud storage service like OneDrive or Dropbox, the folder path to the library must begin with the cloud storage path described above. For example, if your cloud storage path is C:\Users\bob\OneDrive - Company , then your shared library path should point to a downstream folder such as C:\Users\bob\OneDrive - Company\My Library .
    • Macabacus requires exclusive use of the folder you specify for the library path; do not save other files or folders here.
    • Macabacus does not support SharePoint URLs, but if you use SharePoint like OneDrive as most SharePoint customers do nowadays, you can use traditional folder paths when defining your shared libraries.
  2. Optionally publish content / templates to shared libraries. Whether you choose to publish content now, prior to making libraries available to others, is up to you. We recommend sharing libraries with minimal content at initial deployment, and adding content over time.
  3. Once you have defined your shared libraries as desired in Library Manager, open the Share Settings dialog, ensure the Shared Libraries box is checked, and publish your settings. This makes others' Macabacus installations aware of your organization's shared library locations.
  4. If you use cloud storage services like OneDrive or Dropbox, have other users with whom you share libraries verify their cloud storage folders as described above, if needed.

After initial setup, if you add a add, remove, or modify a library definition, you must republish shared settings as described above for other users to see these changes. This applies only to library definitions, not changes to library contents.

You can set up User Groups in the Admin Console and then configure read and/or write access to the Libraries based on groups. This gives more flexibility to designating who has access to content and the ability to manage a Shared Library. To configure this for Libraries, open the Library Manager and select the Shared Library you want to assign to a User Group. On the Read Access section click Edit and you will be able to select the User Groups that can access that particular Library. You can also allow User Groups that have Read Access to have Write Access, if desired. If no User Groups are selected to have Read Access, then all users will be able to view the Libraries content.

Publish to Libraries

Content and templates are added to a library by "publishing" them in Macabacus v9 as follows:

  1. In Library Manager, expand the library node to which you want to publish.
  2. Select and expand the category node to which you want to publish (e.g., the Charts node to publish charts).
  3. Either add a new content group by clicking + New Group  , or select an existing content group, as desired.
  4. Click the Publish to Group button and follow the instructions.

In Macabacus v8, publish content and templates to libraries from the Macabacus > Settings > Publish to Library menu.


Follow the steps above to publish library content and templates, except check the box to replace existing content when prompted.

Tags can be used in the Macabacus Libraries to better help organize content and give your team an easy way to locate the content they need in the library pane. To create or manage tags, open up the Library Manager and click on the tag icon at the bottom of the dialogue.

This is where you will be able to create and edit your tags. When creating a tag, you are required to give it a name. You will optionally be able to give it a description, colors, and nest it under an existing tag (giving the ability to have tags and sub-tags). You can set the content type it should apply to (e.g., slides, shapes, images) or leave this field as “Any” to utilize this tag across multiple different types of content. You must select if the tag is available to everyone or Macabacus administrators only.

You can apply tags either in bulk to all assets within a library group or one at a time. To apply a tag to all of the content in a group, select the group in the Library Manager (in the Library Assets section of the pane) and then click on “Apply tags” in the bottom left. This will open up a dialogue to search for and select the tag you want to apply. Macabacus will make suggestions as you search, and you can hit the [Enter], [Tab], or [,] keys to make a selection or click on it with your mouse. Once Selected hit “OK” on the next prompt to apply the tag to all of the content in the group. To apply a tag to a single content piece at a time, select the edit icon next to the content and you will be able to search for and apply a tag the same way described above.

Tags make it easier for users to search for and find the content they need in a simple and efficient way. To utilize tags when searching the Library Pane, a user just has to type # as a precursor and then search for the tag. Select a tag by clicking on it or by using the [Enter], [Tab], or [,] keys. You can combine a tag with text search for content as well as filters for metadata making it easy to pinpoint exactly what you need in an efficient way.

Publishing Guidelines

Observe the following guidelines and recommendations for publishing certain types to libraries:


Slides published to libraries should generally have a descriptive title for identification and searchability purposes. Macabacus reads all text on published slides and stores it for fast reference when users perform text searches in the Library pane. Macabacus cannot read text in images and embedded objects.

Retain your original presentation

When you publish slides in Macabacus v8 and older, the slides in your original presentation are marked with unique identifiers used for linking purposes. Therefore, it is necessary to retain the original presentation so that it can be republished, if desired, without breaking links between other presentations and slides in your library. See below for more guidance on republishing.


Create a presentation containing only those shapes you want to add to the library (placeholder shapes will be ignored). Each shape should be assigned a name in the PowerPoint Selection Pane that describes that shape's form, function, or intended use. Shape names are used for identification and searchability.


Library images include company logos, headshot photos, stock photography, and other reusable imagery. Before publishing images, ensure each image's file name describes the image, as file names are used for identification and searching. For example, a company logo should naturally include the company's name in the file name. The remaining guidance in this section is applicable to Macabacus v8 or older.

To publish multiple images at once you create a folder containing only those images—such as company logos, headshot photos, and other reusable imagery—that you want to add to the library and publish the entire folder. In newer versions of Macabacus the process is more intuitive.

You can publish multiple image galleries (folders) to libraries, so it is not necessary to place all images into a single folder. You may prefer to use multiple folders to group similar images. For example, if you want to add 100 company logos and 15 headshot photos to a library, it makes sense to organize these images in separate logo and head shot folders. Also, if you have hundreds of logos to publish, you could break them into folders named A-G Logos, H-M Logos, and so on.


Publishing charts involves publishing a workbook. Ensure that your workbook observes the following guidelines:

  • The workbook should contain only those charts you want to add to the library.
  • Each worksheet should contain only a single chart, its chart data, and any instructions you want to provide for the user.
  • In the chart data, clearly indicate which cells contain "dummy" data that should be replaced by changing the cells' font or fill colors.
  • Using Excel's Selection Pane, give each chart a name that describes its type, layout, or intended use to help users identify and find charts more easily in the Library pane.
  • Ensure there is no extraneous information in the workbook you are publishing, such as unused range names, unused styles, links to other workbooks, etc. You may consider using some of Macabacus' workbook optimization or Prepare to Share tools in this step.
  • The workbook should not contain chart sheets.
  • See the workbook containing charts that installs with Macabacus as part of the sample library for examples, if desired.


Publishing tables involves publishing a workbook. Ensure that your workbook observes the following guidelines:

  • The workbook should contain only those tables you want to add to the library.
  • Each worksheet in the workbook must contain a single table, formatted and populated as desired.
  • Tables published to a library are identified by the names of their worksheets, so name worksheets appropriately.
  • Select the entire table (i.e., cell range) to be published and nothing more on each worksheet.
  • Ensure there is no extraneous information in the workbook you are publishing, such as unused range names, unused styles, links to other workbooks, etc. You may consider using some of Macabacus' workbook optimization or Prepare to Share tools in this step.


Macabacus will publish the selected text or text within any selected object (e.g., shape, cell) in Excel, PowerPoint, or Word. Only text is published; text formatting is not preserved.

Tombstones (Meta Shapes)

Instructions for configuring and publishing tombstones are detailed in the tombstones section of this documentation.

Republishing (v8)

Republishing content in Macabacus v9 or later is intuitive and generally does not warrant explanation, so this section focuses on republishing in Macabacus v8 and earlier.

You can republish content and templates using the same processes described above. Ensure that any content files/folders being republished have the same name as those that were originally published to ensure that the old versions are overwritten. Macabacus will prompt you to confirm your intent to overwrite existing library content/templates.

When republishing slides, specifically, there are additional considerations involving slide links. When you originally published your slides to a library, the slides in your presentation were invisibly marked with unique link identifiers to support linking from other presentations. Therefore, when republishing slides, make any necessary changes in the original presentation and follow the guidance below to ensure that these link identifiers are preserved upon republishing.

  • If you are modifying the contents of a slide, but not replacing the slide itself, slide link identifiers are not affected.
  • If you are replacing a slide with a new slide, use the Migrate Links tool to copy the link identifier from the old slide to the new one.
  • If you are adding a new slide, the new slide will be marked with a link identifier upon republishing.
  • Do not copy and paste slides within the presentation to avoid duplicating link identifiers.

Slide Links

When republishing slides in v8, consider whether the Migrate Links tool is needed to preserve slide link identifiers. Also, do not copy and paste slides within the presentation to be republished. Otherwise, links to library slides in other presentations may be broken.

Sample Library

When Macabacus is run for the first time after installation, or when Macabacus does not detect a personal library folder upon starting Office applications, Macabacus will automatically create a personal library and populate it with sample content and templates to demonstrate the functionality of libraries and other tools. Macabacus normally creates this library in your Documents folder, and its contents are copied from the installation files found at C:\ProgramData\Macabacus\Macabacus 20XX\Sample Library .

When the Macabacus software is subsequently updated, the newest versions of sample library content will reside in the ProgramData folder above, but your existing personal library folder will not be updated. Accordingly, you may be confused if you are reading a description of Macabacus-enabled templates in this manual, but the sample template in your personal library does not conform to the description. In these cases, you should refer to the sample files in your ProgramData folder, or reset your personal library (more on that below).

Sample content and templates are provided for demonstration purposes, only, and are not considered part of Macabacus software. They may be removed, replaced, or modified as desired.

Reset Your Personal Library

To reset all content and templates in your personal library to the sample library content/template installed with Macabacus, open the Library Manager dialog, select your personal library, and click the Reset Library button. In Macabacus v8 and earlier, click the Macabacus > Settings > Manage Libraries > Library Contents button, select the personal library, and click the Reset button. A reset can only be performed on your personal library, not shared libraries. It may be a good idea to back up your personal library folder by simply making a copy of it, prior to resetting the library, so that you can subsequently reverse these changes, if desired. If you want to reference a file in the sample library that has been deleted, you may not need to reset your personal library at all. The file you want to reference can be found at C:\ProgramData\Macabacus\Macabacus 20XX\Sample Library (the ProgramData folder may be hidden).

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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