Embedding a DPL Workspace in an Excel Workbook

Learn how to embed your DPL Workspace in your Excel Workbook -- a convenience features that results in a single file to keep track of

(This post applies to DPL Professional, Enterprise and Portfolio.)

Do you find it annoying that your model consists of both a DPL workspace file (e.g., FOO.DA) and an Excel workbook (FOO.XLSX)? Well, don’t despair, embed!

Most DPL users link their DPL models to Excel spreadsheets. In that situation, the “model” is really the union of the DPL and Excel parts, yet you used to have to manage them as separate files. Now, you can save the DPL part within the spreadsheet, so there is only one file to copy, archive, email, etc.

I’m often surprised at how many people dislike the separate files approach, but don’t even know there’s an alternative, so this post is my attempt to shed some light on this significant convenience feature. I’ll give you the facts about it in Q&A format.

Q: How do I embed my DPL workspace in my Excel workbook?
A: Open FOO.DA in DPL, then do File | Embed. DPL will ask for confirmation, and if you click Yes, the workspace will be embedded in FOO.XLSX. You’ll no longer need FOO.DA.

Embedding a DPL Workspace in an ExcelWorkbook

Q: Does it matter if I have a .XLS, .XLSX, .XLSM, etc?
A: No, those are all OK.

Q: How can I tell if an Excel workbook contains a DPL workspace?
A: Just try to open it from DPL via File Open. If there’s no workspace in the file, DPL will say so, and the file won’t be modified.

Q: How can I tell if a DPL workspace is embedded?
A: The top/root item in the workspace manager will say so, as in “FOO.XLSX (embedded)”.

Q: What if a colleague who doesn’t have DPL installed opens the workbook?
A: The DPL workspace data is contained in a hidden sheet, so your colleague won’t even notice it’s there.

Q: Can I have a DPL workspace embedded in FOO.XLSX but linked to BAR.XLSX?
A: NO! (And are you really a decision consultant or a troublemaking programmer looking for boundary conditions?) To reduce opportunities for you to shoot yourself in the foot we made a hard and fast rule: if a workspace is embedded in a spreadsheet, it must be linked to that spreadsheet and no other. If you want to do something weird, you’ll have to do it from a standalone .DA file.

Q: I’ve been using DPL for years and never knew about this. Is it a secret?
A: This was one of (many) new features in DPL 8. We didn’t hype it much because it was overshadowed by other new things, including DPL Direct.