Advanced Excel - Inquire


You can use Inquire to −

  • Compare two Workbooks
  • Analyze a Workbook for problems or inconsistencies
  • See the links between the Workbooks
  • See the links between the Worksheets
  • See the Relationships between the cells
  • Clean Excess Cell Formatting
  • Manage Passwords

The Inquire tab is on the Ribbon. It has commands for all the tasks given above.

Inquire Tab

If you do not find the INQUIRE tab on the Ribbon, you have to ensure that Inquire Add-in is Active.

Ensure Inquire Add-in is Active

Step 1 − Click on the File tab. Click on Options.

Step 2 − In the Excel Options window, click on Add-Ins. If Inquire Add-in is Active, then it will appear under Active Application Add-ins.

Active Application Add-ins

If Inquire Add-in is not active, do the following −

Step 3 − Click on the File tab. Click on Options.

Step 4 − In the Excel Options Window, click on Add-Ins.

Step 5 − In the Manage Box, Click on COM Add-ins.

COM Add-ins

Step 6 − Click on the Go Button. The COM Add-Ins window appears. You find that Inquire is not selected.

Step 7 − Select Inquire and then click OK.

COM Add-ins Inquire

Now, the Inquire Add-In is active.

Compare Two Workbooks

You can compare two workbooks cell by cell and see the differences, if any.

Step 1 − Open two Workbooks.

Step 2 − Click on the INQUIRE tab on the ribbon.

Inquire Tab

Step 3 − Click on Compare Files in the Compare Group. A ‘Select Files To Compare’ dialog box appears.

Compare Files

Step 4 − Check the file names displayed.

Step 5 − If the file name displayed is not the one you wanted, click on the down-arrow next to the File name. Only the Workbooks that are open will be displayed.

Down-arrow Open Workbook

Step 6 − Select the File you want.

Step 7 − Check the order of the Files in Compare and To.

Compare Two Files

Step 8 − If it has to be the other way round, click on Swap Files. The order of the Files is changed.

Swap Files

Step 9 − Click on Compare.

The results of the comparison appear in a two-pane grid. The Workbook on the left corresponds to the "Compare" file you chose and the Workbook on the right corresponds to the "To" file. The details appear in a pane below the two grids. The changes are highlighted by color, depending on the kind of change. The legend that shows what the colors mean is in the lower-left pane.

Workbook Compare

Step 10 − Click on Resize Cells to Fit if necessary, to view the cell contents in the ‘Compare –To’ workbooks.

Resize Cells

Step 11 − Click on the Export Results in the Export Group.

Export Group

The Save As Dialog Box opens.

Save As Dialog Box

You can save the results to an Excel Workbook. Note that only .xlsx File type is available.

If you need the results in another program, you can do it by copying it to the Clipboard.

Step 12 − Click on Copy Results to Clipboard in the Export group.

Copy Results to Clipboard

Step 13 − Paste in another program.