Get started with Akin

Introduction

Imagine the following scenario: you have created a large Excel workbook which contains a large amount of data and complex formulas. You send the model to a colleague for review, and a few days after, the file comes back to you, with the following comment: "I looked at your model and made a few minor changes".

You would like to know what these changes are, but unfortunately, Excel does not offer any automatic way to compare two workbooks. Akin does.

Let’s illustrate the process, on a small example file:

Open your files

First launch Akin by double-clicking its icon; after a few seconds, you will see an empty window displayed on your screen.

On the top-left corner of the window, there are two buttons marked "Load". Use these to open the two workbooks you want to compare. When you click one of these buttons, a dialog will appear: use that dialog to navigate to the location of the file you want to load.

Once your 2 workbooks have been loaded, you will see the name of each workbook, with a list of all its worksheets below. In our example, the original workbook is named Forecast.xlsx, and it contains 2 worksheets, Forecast and Analysis. The second workbook is named ForecastModifed.xlsx, with the same worksheets names.

At that point, you are ready to begin comparing the contents of the workbooks.

Compare the worksheets

Next, click on the worksheets you want to compare in the lists. In our example, we selected the Forecast sheet. When you select two sheets, the right-hand side section, labeled "Comparison overview", is updated, and displays the name of the 2 worksheets under comparison, as well as the level of difference between them.

In our case, we see that some of the values are different (only 75.93% of the values are identical), and that some functions are different as well (only 91.30% of the formulas are identical). If the 2 worksheets were identical, these fields would both display a 100% match.

Identify the differences

When you select two worksheets, Akin automatically compares them, and displays the differences in an Excel-like grid. Cells with a white background are identical in both worksheets, while cells with a red background indicate that the values are different.

In our case, we see for instance that cell G5 does not have the same value. Akin also highlights rows and columns which have differences, by representing the row or column header in a red background.

To figure out what changed in cell G5 between the original and modified versions, click on the cell in the grid. The selected cell becomes highlighted in orange, and the bottom-left section of the window displays the contents of the cell in both the original and the modified versions. In our example, the original value was 5.25 (that is also the value displayed in the grid), but the modified version is 5.5. You see also that this cell does not contain any formula.

The Comparison Overview section also indicated that some of the formulas did not match. To identify where the differences are, select "Formula" instead of "Value" in the combo box located right above the Excel-like grid. Akin will compute a comparison of the two selected worksheets highlighting only cells where the formulas differ. In our example, this analysis shows that the formula in cell F4 has been modified.

Zoom in on differences

When dealing with large worksheets, navigating through the differences can become burdensome. To alleviate that issue, Akin can zoom in on the differences between worksheets, by hiding rows and columns which are identical. If you click on the upper-left corner of the Excel-like grid, Akin will collapse all the identical rows and columns: the display area now contains all the differences in the sheet, in a compact and easy to scan format. To un-hide all cells, simply click the upper-left corner again.

To focus on the differences in specific rows and columns, click on its header – Akin will hide every cell that contains no difference, and display only the differences in that row or column. Once a row or column has been selected, its content is displayed in yellow. Clicking the header again will release the zoom.

Conclusion

That's it - you are now ready to use Akin to track down the differences between Excel workbooks! If you think something is not working right, or if you have ideas to make it better, please let us know in the feedback page.