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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 Planning 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 Planning.

 Planning Tab and ribbon in Excel.

Excel Interface for Planning Capabilities

With Excel Interface for Planning you can:

Key Concepts for Adaptive Planning

Understanding these key concepts about Adaptive can help you get started with Excel Interface for Planning. For in depth information on the concepts decribed, review the Managing the Model guide.

Instance and Model

An instance is the collection of structural components that define a fully-functional entity within Adaptive Planning. Sometimes called an installation, an instance consists of a single set of accounts, organization structure, versions, dimensions, attributes, sheets, versions, permissions, fiscal years, integrations, and so on. Adaptive Planning allows multiple instances of its hosted system, so users can switch between them. 

Think of your instance as your business and how it exists within the Adaptive Suite. 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 the building blocks, (the accounts, levels, assumptions and formulas) and how they relate within Adaptive


A version is a collection of accounts, levels, and other data that represents a particular financial scenario.  For example, a version can include current-year actuals, a budget for next year, a three-year plan, and a what-if plan for evaluating the effects of a business transaction.

There are two types of versions: actuals and planning. When you're viewing actuals, you're looking at actual numbers of sales, costs, and so on, that have already happened in the past. 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.

Planning, on the other hand, is data that has been or is being forecasted or budgeted. These are estimates of the future and an instance generally has more than one planning version. For example, you may see a Budget Planning version, a Forecast Planning version, a Working Budget as well as an Approved Budget. Planning 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.


Level access is the primary way your Adaptive Suite 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. 

Levels in a plan represent the organizational structures of your business (for example, departments, profit centers, cost centers, or geographical regions).


Data Interface

The Adaptive server stores information, such as general ledger actuals, forecasts, personnel information and budgets. Planning Sheets provide the interface for you to view, enter and update that data. With Excel Interface for Planning, you access the Planning 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 formulas can only be entered through the Adaptive interface. 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. From both Adaptive and Excel Interface for Planning, you can tell that a value is calculated with an Adaptive formula when the text is italicized and you can drill down to see how it was calculated. 

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

Identify Sheet Types

The way sheets look depends on how they were built, which also affects the sheet's tools and capabilities. Excel Interface for Planning supports all 3 Adaptive sheets: Standard, Modeled, and Cube. 

Standard Sheets Interface

The simplest sheets have time periods across the columns, and accounts or organization levels down the rows. Your administrator may refer to these as Standard Sheets. Cells in standards sheet are intersecting data between the row header and column header.

Standard sheet example

1 The Model tab generally includes dropdown selections for version and the level or accounts only. 

2 The rows are either levels or accounts. 

3 The columns are generally time. 

Standard Sheets with Mixed Accounts Types

Standard sheets can also be designed to include read-only cells, especially when one sheet includes mixed account types. Sheets with mixed accounts may also have accounts with different time configurations. In that case, you'll see the largest time period. The accounts with smaller time configurations will display rollup values. 

The following example is a standard sheet with three different account types with different time configurations:

  • Product Revenue is a cube account configured daily. The data can only be modified from the cube sheet.
  • Maintenance Revenue is a model account configured weekly. The data can only be modified from the model sheet. 
  • Commission Expense is a General Ledger account configured monthly by formula. The data cannot be modified directly because it is calculation of other values.  

The sheet displays only months for all accounts because a sheet with mixed time configuration will display the largest configuration of all included accounts. If you want to see the weekly input of Maintenance Revenue or  the daily input of Product Revenue, right-click on the account row and select Adaptive View by Level. The columns will display the weekly or daily data by level for account.

Cube Sheets Interface

Sheets may also have many dimensions along the rows and columns and you can pivot the sheet to view data in multiple different ways. Your admin may refer to these as Cube Sheets. Cells in cube sheets are intersecting data between the rows and column headers.

You can change the sheet in many ways as provided by the dimensions, filters, and options available in the Model tab. 

Cube sheet example

Modeled Sheets Interface

Many sheets have labeled columns and the rows are simply listed items. You enter new information into existing or new rows and you can also delete rows. Your admin may refer to these as Modeled Sheets.

The cells are listed data and there are no row headers, only column headers.

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. 


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