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PIMs and CRIMP (Compulsive Reactive Information Manager Purchasing)


Does anyone on DCF have any ideas on this one - XLnotes?

PIM = Personal Information Manager
CRIMP = Compulsive Reactive Information Manager Purchasing (term may have been originally defined by Steve Zeoli, of Vermont)

Good summary post about CRIMP here: Interesting-Software Watch: More on 'The Brain'

Discussion on that here: CRIMPing makes it big time

I am not so much a sufferer of CRIMP but of CRIMT (Compulsive Reactive Information Manager Trialling). I won't actually purchase a PIM unless it seems pretty good or to have serious potential as a PIM.
I have been a CRIMT since I installed Lotus Agenda on a Toshiba laptop in 1990.
Spotting something that looks like it could be - or could have the potential to be - a great PIM fills me with the excitement of a new discovery. However, sadly, all too often the reality is tinged with disappointment/frustration.

Frustrating case in point - XLNotes:
I read about it in, and went on a search for it.

I am skeptical of this.
The downloaded ZIP file contains an .msi file of version 8.0 XLnotes (an Excel add-in). It does not install. It abends with the consistently repeatable error:
XLnotes 8.0
Error 1001. The type initializer for
Microsoft.VisualStudio.Tools.Office.Runtime.Security.UserlnclusionList' threw an exception. --> Could not load file or assembly

'Microsoft.VisualStudio.ToolsApplications.Hosting.v9.0, Version=, Culture=neutral...

Given the ambiguity in that:
* If XLnotes was as good as the website claims, it could have the potential to transform the PIM market, yet nowhere can I find a pukka review of XLnotes, though it has apparently been going since 2009, at least.
* the .msi install fails (necessitating that you contact the authors by email if you want to get it “fixed“). Installs do not normally fail by chance, as they would have been tested as being stable under most common OS configurations, prior to release.
* Earlier versions of this “free” add-on were apparently a trial version and only allowed a max of 15 notes to be created/inserted in Excel.
* The website at is in Russia.
* The website at says:
** If you use XLnotes at home, you can use the free and unrestricted unregistered version.
** If you use XLnotes in an organization, you should purchase user licenses within the evaluation period of 30 days.
** To register your copy of XLnotes, please purchase a license key. XLnotes user licenses are $44.95 or less depending on volume discounts - and offers credit card purchase.

- then I would recommend caution - e.g., hold onto your credit card details (risk of potential ID scam).

--- End quote ---

Some relevant links in DCF:

* Anyone using ActionOutline (Action Outline)?
* Why Trying to be Productive is a Huge Waste of Time
* + various discussions on named PIMs of one sort or another.

Just installed it... looks very cool.  It basically combines word and excel.  I have no idea how files with XLNotes are shown when people do not have XLNotes installed.

You can make multiple notes (of any of the supported formats) per cell.  You can also export the notes to individual files... nice.

I wonder if it exposes a VBA api... then it would be even more powerful.

EDIT: note that it opens a nearly full word instance in it's advanced text note.  My customized ribbon shows and my vba code (including userforms) appears to run.
EDIT 02: also, make sure you leave the "note ID" that appears in the normal excel comment (formatted like this:  |1|2 if you have the first and second notes associated with the selected cell).

After thinking about XLNotes a bit, I realized I've already made something similar to their text notes using VBA.  At work they are anal about controlling your pc so I cant install nifty notetaker apps.  So I got to thinking about it and decided to combine Excel and Word: click on a "task" (row in excel) and a word document opens corresponding to that task.  I modified my code slightly to use a more XLNote mechanism, you can download the file below.  

1. Open the excel file
2. Click on the cell that says it has a comment; a word document will be created on your desktop and opened
3. Type anything you want
4. Save the word document
5. Close the word document
6. Select a cell with no comments
7. Select the cell with a comment and word opens

To add a comment to a cell, add a comment and insert an advanced comment index using the string "{#}" where # is any number up to four digits.  (Note that regex is used so you can have multiple indexes per comment and you can type other text around the indexes.)

This is a rough concept!!!  XLnotes makes this smoother and I'm not trying to take away from the slickness of their program (and they have other types of notes!).  But if you are interested in customizing or playing around, here you are, feel free to modify the code, pass it around, etc.  

Some thoughts on the VBA implementation:
1. The code currently recognizes multiple comment indexes in a comment, but only opens the first one.  I would add a GUI to select one, or open them all.
2. I would use the windows API to try and resize the excel window and word.
3. Right now, the script only opens comments on "Sheet1"... not sure why I did this, but its easily modified by going into ThisWorkbook and modifying the "if" statement.
4. If you try to copy the code into a different workbook, make sure you set references in the VBE to MS Word and Miscrosoft VBScript Regular Expressions.
5. You can change the path that the word docs are stored in by editing the code... I would make this nicer in a "real" version.
6. Currently there is nothing telling what the "next" index number would be... I would change this in a "real" version too.
7. Right now the regex only recognizes indexes up to 4 digits, you can easily change this to your liking.
8. I dont plan on supporting this, but can answer questions about how it works.

@kfitting: Thanks for those notes - very interesting.
Looks like XLnotes is a genuine thing - not phishing. I am envious that you got it to work. It still won't install for me, and I have no idea why. Such an obscure error message.

The VBA work you have done looks interesting. I shall look at that. Thanks!

The XLnotes developers have made an informative post at - here - and there is apparently an updated install file that shouldn't abend the install now.
I have installed it and am trialling XLnotes.


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