In version 8.3, the new Link Image widget allows you to show different images in the web page depending on cell values or formulas. If you develop for mobile devices, the new Instant Testing feature lets you quickly test each new version just by scanning a barcode.

With version 8.3 you can create advanced imaging applications where an image on the screen changes with the values in a web form or calculator.

This update is free to all version 8 users – just download and install the latest version of the program. If you are using version 7 or earlier, you must first upgrade to the latest version.

The Link Image widget

Introduction

When you paste images into the cells of an Excel spreadsheet, the same image is always shown, regardless of what’s going on in the spreadsheet.

With the new Link Image widget you can freely switch between all the available images on the web. You select what image to show at any one time by providing a link to the image in a cell in your spreadsheet. The image link can be picked from a list or dynamically created by cell values and formulas in the spreadsheet.

This is useful in many situations:

  • Show an electrical plug in the right format for the designated market.
  • Provide the right map to a visitor depending on the visitor’s choice of transportation.
  • Show the right image of a new sofa after the user has selected the right fabric, colors and all the other options for it.
  • Allow the user to switch between overview and detail photos of a circuit board that is being configured in the spreadsheet.

Example

In the below animation, each fruit has it own image. Selecting a different fruit in the dropdown menu selects a different image link that points to another image.

linkimage

Uploading the images

The images used in the Link Image widget must be available on the web. You can link to any image on the web that all your web users can access.

If your image is protected by a login, all the users of your web form or calculator must be logged in to view the image. If your image is reserved for particular “friends” or “members”, you must ensure that all your users belong to this category so that they are eligible to view the image.

There are many free web hosting services that can provide public links for images, including Dropbox, Instagram and Facebook. Once again remember that if an image has been uploaded with restricted access, like “only available to my friends, and their friends”, or if you’ve saved it on your company intranet behind a firewall, it may be unavailable to some users of your calculator or web form.

Creating the image link

The link to the image can come from a static list of image links as in the example above. To pick the right link from the list, you can use a menu or a formula like VLOOKUP.

You can also construct dynamic image links any way you like, using available cell values and formulas:

="http://example.com/products/" & prod_num & "/images/" & image_num & ".png"

Learn more

Read the Link Image widget tutorial.

Experiment with an example of the Link Image widget.

Download the example spreadsheet.

Instant testing

Introduction

We spend a lot of time trying to shorten the edit-convert-test development cycle for web pages converted from spreadsheets. In version 8.3, we introduce the Instant testing feature, which offers two time-saving services to developers:

  • The converted web page can be directly accessed from other devices on the same network, without uploading to a web server.
  • A link to the just converted web page is provided in the form of a barcode that can be scanned using the camera in a mobile device or laptop to open the web page.

We have always allowed you to automatically open the converted web page in one or more of the web browsers in the developer’s computer directly after each conversion, controlled by the Browser options in the SpreadsheetConverter settings:

Screenshot of the browser selection buttons in the settings

We also developed the History list, which lets you quickly open a previously converted web page in any of the local web browsers in the developer’s computer.

Screenshot of the History list of converted web pages

But what if you want to test the converted web page in a different device? Previously, you had to upload each new version of the web page to a hosting service like Dropbox, or to your own blog or web server. Then you had to manually key in the URL to the converted web page – quite a challenge on the small keyboard of an iPhone or Android device.

The new QR code window

SpreadsheetConverter 8.3 and later automatically generate a barcode, a so-called Quick Response code, that contains a link to the converted web page in the developer’s workstation.

Special QR code reader apps allow you to scan the barcode with a mobile device to have the web page open automatically in a web browser on a smartphone or tablet. You can also use the barcode to open the web page in another laptop, if it has a camera. Read more in the QR code tutorial.

qr1

If you don’t need the QR code, you can easily disable the QR code window by deselecting the Show on conversion checkbox.

If you later need the QR code for a particular web page in the developer’s environment, just go to the History List and click on the new QR icon to open the QR code window again.

qr2

If you change your mind and would want the QR code window to appear automatically after every conversion, you can select the Show on conversion checkbox in any QR code window to reactivate it.

If you are viewing a converted web page from another device, you only need to scan the barcode the first time you open the page. After that, you can simply refresh the browser window to reload the most recent version from the development environment.

Ready for production use

When you have finished testing a spreadsheet, you can of course keep using it from the development environment if all users are on the same network as the developer, and the development system is permanently online.

If you want to make a calculator or web form available outside your own local network, you still have to upload the converted web page to a public web server.

Learn more

Read the Instant Testing help page.

Other enhancements in version 8.3

  1. When a form is submitted, fields inside hidden sections of the form are not validated, e.g. for required content.
  2. When you import theme files you can replace the previous version of the theme.
  3. Theme files can be deleted.
  4. We now support the Dynamic Dropdown widget also in the Node.js flavor.

How can I use these new features?

This update is free to all version 8 users – just download and install the latest version of the program. If you are using version 7 or earlier, you must first upgrade to the latest version.