Skip to main content


Workday Adaptive Planning KB

Excel Interface for Planning Overview

Introduces general information about Excel Interface for Planning, including key features and planning concepts.

Excel Interface for Planning combines the functionality and power of Adaptive Insights with Excel. Check out an interactive visual comparison of the two interfaces.

Once you install Excel Interface for Planning, you can open any Excel spreadsheet and click the Planning tab to connect to Adaptive Planning, so you can view, enter and update the data stored within Adaptive Insights.

Excel Interface for Planning ribbon

Excel Interface for Planning Capabilities

With Excel Interface for Planning you can:

Key Concepts for Adaptive Insights

These basic concepts help you understand how planning works.

Instance and Model

An instance is the collection of structural components that define a fully-functional  planning entity. Sometimes called an installation, an instance consists of a single set of accounts, organization structure, versions, dimensions, attributes, sheets, versions, permissions, fiscal years, integrations. Workday allows multiple planning instances. 

Think of your instance as how your business exists within Adaptive Insights. It includes all your company's actuals and planning versions and all the related data, levels, and so on. The model of your instance refers to the building blocks, (the accounts, levels, assumptions and formulas). 


There are two types of versions: actuals and plan versions. When you're viewing actuals, you're looking at actual numbers of sales, costs, and so on, that have already happened. There can be more than one sub-version of actuals. For example, you may have a sub-version of actuals that slices the data into smaller segments, based on levels, dimensions or attributes.

Plan versions, on the other hand, are data that has been or is being forecasted or budgeted. These are estimates of the future. An instance generally has more than one plan version. For example, you may see a Budget, a Forecast, a Working Budget as well as an Approved Budget. Plan versions may also be further broken down by year, level, dimension or attribute.


An assumption is a global value that is accessible to all users when writing formulas in their own plans. Assumptions can vary over time and have different values in different versions, but will have the same value at all levels and in every account.

Assumptions are often associated with user-assigned sheets. These sheets let you see and update data to which you normally do not have access. For example, expenses from the IT department are allocated to all other departments based on the number of computers in each department. The IT manager does not have access to enter data in departments outside of IT. With a user-assigned sheet, the IT manager can enter the number of computers for each departments. The data can be used to calculate the IT allocation.


Levels are the organizational structures of your business. For example, levels represent departments, profit centers, cost centers, or geographical regions.

Level access is the primary way your admin controls which users can see which data. The levels a user has permission to see dictates the data they can view and update. Levels also help you filter data displayed on sheets. 


Data Interface

Adaptive Insights stores information, such as general ledger actuals, forecasts, personnel information and budgets. Sheets provide the interface for you to view, enter and update that data. With Excel Interface for Planning, you access the online sheets through Excel.

Values and Calculations

Values you see in a sheet may be calculated with data that is not displayed on the sheet. Likewise, data you enter or calculate in a sheet can affect values displayed in other sheets. 

Adaptive Insights formulas can only be entered online. They are either embedded in the sheet's cell by an admin or you can enter the formulas yourself. You can also just enter data without calculations. In Excel Interface for Planning, you can tell that a value is calculated with an Adaptive Insights formula when the text is italicized and you can drill down to see how it was calculated. 

You can't enter Adaptive Insights formulas with Excel Interface for Planning for your sheet, but you can use Excel formulas to calculate data. Although the end value is saved the online sheets, the formula you used will not be saved. You can add them to a cell note instead.  

Identify Sheet Types

See Identify Sheet Types.

Sheet Access

Sheets or portions of sheets can be restricted, so you may not have access to all sheets within your organization. Or, you may see a sheet, but you may not see the rows or columns that other users can see on the same sheet. Or you may see the columns and rows and their data, but you cannot edit the cells. For example, a sales-related user may have access to the sheet's  expenses, travel, and other sales-related data, but not the data used by the marketing department. 

If you think you should be able to enter or edit data that appears locked, be sure you are accessing the correct version and the correct level of the sheet. If the problem persists, get clarification with your admin on your user permissions. 


  • Was this article helpful?