12 August 2008
Kovach Computing Services
Reviewed by Felix Grant
I reviewed Xlstat a year and a half ago ago (8 January 2007) at release 2006.5. That earlier review should be seen as the main body to which this is an update.
Shortly after that review, Xlstat was updated to reflect the arrival of Excel 2007 and Vista, though backward compatibility remains (I have tested the present version back to Excel 2000; 97 is documented). This updating has continued to develop, including sheet handling, and users of MacOS Excel are also looked after.
For users in industrial settings, particularly, an SPC module contains QC charts (mean, range, standard deviation and variance) and six sigma support, while the Life module has acquired Cox regression and sensitivity (ROC) curves. Data sampling by user specified distribution and probability or weight is a very welcome arrival in this context, amongst others. Another new addition, PLS path modelling with both black box and fine tuneable options, has already undergone three significant improvement cycles – an example of the attention to ongoing development which is evident throughout and which sees most areas strengthened and refined by addition and expansion. Picking out examples of particular selfish interest to me, there are are a surprisingly fast, responsive and intelligent generalised procrustes analyses and canonical correlation analysis with regression selection of variables.
Some data management tasks which are tedious in Excel, such as ordinal coding, removal of duplicates or aggregation through table joins, get welcome attention. There are also useful Excel-related developments in sheet management and VBA automation, and Excel's plotting is taken in hand for a usability make over.
All in all, my favourable impression 18 months ago has been confirmed and strengthened: if you are looking to do serious data analysis work without Excel, you should be downloading an evaluation copy of this product for consideration.