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Lotus macro conversion -- convert wk1, wk3, wk4 macros to excel (Also Baler, BalerXE)

What about converting old Lotus spreadsheets to Excel? MaKro Consulting has extensive experience with Lotus version 2 macro  programs.  The Home Loan program on this site was created using the old DOS Lotus 2.3 macro language and compiled using Baler.

Many of these Lotus macros will run properly under Excel. By converting these old spreadsheets to Excel you gain access to the formatting, programming, and graphics power that Excel has to offer. Any problem routines can either be corrected within the Lotus macro or re-written using Excel visual basic programming.

Please note that you should exercise caution towards spending a lot of time or money to fix the original Lotus macros so that they work perfectly in Excel.  After you see what can be done with Excel visual basic, command buttons, message boxes, pull down menus, etc... you may decide that it is preferable to convert these macros to Excel.  If the original Lotus macro can be fixed quickly and easily, then it is worth a try.  Otherwise, you should think about converting them to Excel visual basic.  Also, consider  the possibility that  the next version of Excel will not have as extensive support for the Lotus macros as we enjoy today.

In general, Excel visual basic routines run smoother in Excel than Lotus macros.  Thus, we usually end up re-writing them in visual basic.  Simple Lotus macros (print, query, etc) can be re-done fairly quickly,  even if they already work properly in Excel.  If you are having occasional problems or you just don't like the way that your Lotus macros compare to the others, consider converting the macros.

What about very complicated and extensive Lotus macro programs?  That is a tough question.  First, you probably want to try running your lotus macros in Excel (use Ctrl-? instead of Alt-? as in Lotus 2.x).  If some of them seem to work OK and a few of them don't, then it might be worth modifying the original Lotus macro to make it work the desired way.  If none of them seem to work real well, then you might want to convert most/all of them to Excel visual basic.  Or, if you don't have a strong need for the Excel features, you could just keep running them in Lotus.

Another thing to consider:  What appears to be a very complicated Lotus macro may actually be fairly easy to convert to Excel.  Some macros have miles of code that only give you a few inches worth of results.  Over 15 years spent writing Lotus macros makes all of them a bit easier to understand and convert.

The first step in any macro/sheet conversion from Lotus to Excel should be an overall review of what the Lotus macros and spreadsheet are doing.   Sometimes, there are easier ways to do the same things now in Excel than there were several years ago when the Lotus macros were written.  In addition, the person that wrote the macros probably knew very well what they wanted to do, but they were maybe not aware of more advanced spreadsheet techniques that they could use to do what they wanted in an easier way.  Hard drive capacities change, processor speeds change, and spreadsheet features change. Thus, the need for the review.

If you need to scrap some of the macro code for a better approach, obviously it would be a waste of time to convert that code to XL visual basic.  Don't jump in and start converting macros as a first step unless you are very happy with the way they work now, or are fairly sure that there is not a better and easier way worth considering to do what you need.  Until you see a better way, you might not know what you are missing. 

Again, don't spend time and money modifying the original Lotus macros to get them to work exactly the way you want in Excel 1997.  If you are going to put out a huge effort, consider converting everything to visual basic from the beginning.   Then after all the effort is expended, you will have code that should be highly compatible and easily upgradeable in future versions of XL.  I don't think that Microsoft will be going out of business any time soon-- Excel might even survive too!   To have all of your code in easily upgradeable, world wide accepted, native Excel visual basic just makes a whole lot of sense.   NOTE:  XL2007 currently does not support Lotus files.

If your version of XL2003 will no longer open Lotus files, here is the fix from Microsoft.  This disappears after after you install Microsoft Office 2003 Service Pack 3 (SP3).  Quoting  the fix:      To re-enable Excel file types only (including Lotus Files), save the following file to a folder on the computer:

Notes on formula conversion errors:
Excel 2003 will notify you if there are formula conversion errors when converting from Lotus to Excel.  This is usually not hard to fix manually if there are only a few errors  here and there. If you have hundreds or thousands of formula conversion errors,  that might not be the case.  However,  I have had pretty good success running VBA macros to fix all of the equation errors automatically.  Could save you weeks of manual work....

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Here is a quote from Microsoft Excel 97 help about Lotus Macros:

Limitations of running a Lotus 1-2-3 macro in Microsoft Excel
Microsoft Excel does not fully run Lotus 1-2-3 macros that are created in versions later than Lotus 1-2-3 (for DOS) Release 2.01. Microsoft Excel recognizes all Lotus 1-2-3 file formats, but it fully runs only macros that contain menu commands, @ functions, keywords, and advanced macro commands that are supported by Lotus 1-2-3 Release 2.01.

Microsoft Excel does not support references to Lotus 1-2-3 add-in programs. Make sure to remove any keystrokes or command names that attach, start, or use a Lotus 1-2-3 add-in, such as the Allways add-in and its menu structure. For example, you should remove statements such as /a and {app1}.

When you run a Lotus 1-2-3 macro in Microsoft Excel, the macro cannot end in a menu, such as the keystrokes /pp. If a macro ends in a menu, the macro stops and a message appears. However, the macro can end in a prompt for more information, such as the keystrokes
/ppr (end of macro) so that you can specify the print range.

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Here is a quote from Microsoft Excel 2000 help about Lotus Macros:

Frequently asked questions about upgrading from Microsoft Excel 97

(bottom of page)
Can I run my Lotus macros in Excel 2000?
Excel 2000 does not run Lotus 1-2-3 or Quattro Pro macros. You can rewrite any macros that you need in Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications. For information about writing Excel macro code, see Visual Basic Help.

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Here is a quote from Microsoft Excel 2007 help about Lotus Files: (Don't Lose your XL2003 CD!)

Support for the following file formats has been removed from Excel 2007. You will not be able to open or save workbooks in these file formats.

File format that are not supported in Excel 2007
WK1, ALL(1-2-3)
WK4 (1-2-3)
WKS (1-2-3)
WK3, FM3(1-2-3)
WK1, FMT(1-2-3)

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Microsoft offers a file download that explains the Visual Basic keyword equivalents for different Lotus macro commands.  If you want to roll up your sleeves and try it yourself, WE1277.EXE is available from Microsoft as a self extracting Word file.  This should help get you started.  If all of this is making you tired just thinking about it, feel free to send us your file as an E-mail attachment and we will take a look and give you a quote.

Note: Converting simple macros does not take a lot of time (if you already know how to do it).  Frequently, formatting the cell widths, text alignments, fonts, colors, etc. because of the different look in Excel takes more time.  You can do most of this part yourself if you want to keep outside costs to a minimum.

Here are some examples of what our customers say about our work.

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Not sure how to send an E-mail attachment?  Here is the procedure for Outlook Express.  If you are concerned with the security of your file, you can password protect the file and call us with the password.  All files received are held strictly confidential.

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