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Spinnaker Alerts is designed to be a user friendly tool. However, due to its nature we felt that a complete explanation of all the features could be helpful in utilizing this program to your maximum advantage. Clicking on any area in the images below will give you the help text as found in the program.

When you click on this Icon, the selected cell or cells will be added to the list of alerts.

AlertsSetIcon.gif (874 bytes)A click on this Icon will activate the Alert Setup Dialog.  This is where you determine to which cells you will attach the alert messages.

A click on this icon will active the Delete Alerts Dialog. It will allow you to quickly delete a group of alerts.

AlertsOnIcon.gif (887 bytes)This Icon turns the alerts on.

AlertsOffIcon.gif (916 bytes)This Icon turns the alerts off.

A click on this Icon will activate the Edit Alert Options Dialog. This is where you can set an overall profile for the add-in.

A click on this Icon will hide Excel. You can re-display Excel when you attempt to re-open the alert workbook. This feature is handy if other users can close Excel if it's visible. It helps safeguard the functioning of Alerts at all times.

SpinnakerHelpIcon.gif (864 bytes)This Icon activates Help.

quiticon.gif (924 bytes)This Icon Hides the toolbar (a click on the Spinnaker Icon will re-display the toolbar), or closes the add-in if you are done using Alerts. Back to Top

Edit Alerts Dialog | Edit Alert Options Dialog | Alert Dialog

Clicking on any area in this image will give you the same help text as found in the program.

When you click on the "Edit Alert Name"-button, you can change the name of the currently displayed alert. Back

When you click "Delete Alert", you will be asked whether you want to delete the currently displayed alert. Back

When you click "Save Alert", the changes you made to the current alert will be saved to the workbook and the workbook will be saved to disk. Back

When you click on the "Close"-button, the alert setup dialog closes. If any changes to the current alert have not been saved yet, you will be prompted to do so. Back

When you click on the "Help"-button this page of the help file will be activated. Back

The "Select Alert"-box allows you to view and select existing alerts from the list. When you select one, the dialog will display the current alert profile for editing. Back 

The "Disable this Alert"-box allows you to disable the currently displayed alert. This way you don't have to delete an alert that you don't want to use for a while. Back 

When you click on "Choose Alert Range", you can select a cell that contains the value necessary to trigger your alert. You can choose an operator (=, <>, <, <=, >, >=, between, not between) from the "Operator" box. Depending on this choice you can "Choose Lower Limit" range or value and/or "Choose High Limit" range or value.  Crossover is an unusual operator, but it makes an alert go off each time a value goes from below to above a certain value and each time a value goes from above to below a certain value. Back

When you check "Disable alert after first trigger", this alert will only run once, and never again unless you reset it yourself. You can do that by activating this form when Alerts is activated and click on the "Will run at next Trigger" option button, then close the dialog.
You can also reset all alerts that "Disable alert after first trigger". You do that in the Edit Alert Options dialog with the checkbox that is named: "Ask to Reset when activating Alerts from toolbar". Now each time you activate Alerts you will be asked whether you want to reset all alerts. Back

If you choose "=" as the operator, a checkbox will show that allows you to trigger the "Alert on any Change in Alert Range". Back

In the remainder of the dialog you will find four sections, each of which has an associated check box in the Edit Alert Options Dialog. Back

The pop-up messaging section allows you to create and/or edit custom alert messages which will be displayed as a pop-up when the alert runs and a critical value has been exceeded. The "Use Pop-up Messaging" checkbox determines whether or not pop-up messages are part of an individual alert. Back

You may choose to use the "Auto Generate Message" feature. This feature automatically generates a pop up message utilizing your selected alert name and the criteria you specified for your alert cell, which you can then edit as you like. If you don't specify anything in the "Edit Message" box, a standard message will still be displayed telling you: "The current alert value for (alert name) is (value)". If you don't want this message, it can be turned on and off globally in the edit alert options dialog by un-checking the "Standard Message" -box.
A new option in version 2.2 and up is that you can enter a range reference in the form of: "='Test Sheet1'!A1" (mind the apostrophes around the sheet name in case your sheet name has spaces in it). When you do this, the message could be anything displayed in that cell at the moment that the alert goes off. This can also be very nicely combined with the execute macro capabilities of alerts (see execute macros).

The "Use Audio"-checkbox will cause a sound to be played when the alert goes off provided that the global settings are set to use audio alerts. The Audio section has a "Select Sound for this Alert"-button that allows you to choose a sound from your sound library, or from the "windows/media" directory as you see fit. The sound file path and filename of the sound you select will be displayed in the textbox next to this button. The "Test Sound"-button will play the sound specified in the textbox. The "Record Sound"-button will activate the sound recorder so you can record your own custom alert message, which you can save and subsequently select as the sound for this alert. Back

The paging section allows you to send a message to an E-mail address, which can be an address on a paging server. If that is the case, the carrier of the pager will receive the message when the alert goes off. The "Send Page" checkbox determines whether paging is part of an individual alert. You can paste the pop-up message and/or edit a message to your liking.

 In the "Send To:" box you can enter or select an E-mail address to send the message to. E-mail addresses can be added to the address list which is stored in the active workbook by clicking on the "Add Address to Address List" button. The "Delete Address from Address List" button will (after confirmation) delete the currently displayed address from the address list. To remove the E-mail address from the current alert, you can simply clear the "Send to" box.

In the "Execute Macro" section you can specify whether a macro should be run, and if so, which macro from which workbook should be run. Starting in version 2.2 (which was released in December 2003), you can also pass up to four parameters to the macro you select. There are six variables offered by Alerts that you can choose from:

Alert Name is the name of the alert
Alert Range is the sheet name and cell address that the alert is set for
Alert Cell Value is the value of the alert range
Alert Popup is the message displayed for the current alert
Alert Page-Message is the message sent as a page for the current alert
Alert Page Address is the address that the page message will be sent to

You can specify your own parameters by typing them directly into the combo-box. 

Another interesting way to send your macro parameters is to enter cell references in the popup and page message box. For instance, you could tell a buy and sell macro how much of a stock to buy or sell at what price without having to set those quantities manually.

The macro features are very helpful tools for users or developers who are writing macros that can use Spinnaker Alerts to trigger them.



Edit Alerts Dialog | Edit Alert Options Dialog | Alert Dialog

Clicking on any area in this image will give you the same help text as found in the program.

The Edit Alert Options Dialog is a time saving convenience that, when used in conjunction with the individual alert check boxes in the Edit Alerts Dialog, allows you to set the various alert options for all alerts at once. "Use Pop-up Messages", "Use Audio", "Send Pages" and "Write Alerts to Log" can each be checked or unchecked as needed. In order for any alert to function, the global option must be checked and the appropriate check box from the Edit Alerts Dialog must also be checked. For example: If you don't want Pop up messaging to interrupt your screen, you can deselect the global Pop-up setting.

When you use pop-up messages, you have two main options:

bulletYou can choose to "Edit Levels" on the fly, i.e. when the alert message pops up, you can change the level at which it will pop-up next. The add-in will halt until you change the level or close the dialog. Back
bulletOr you can choose to see "Just Info", which means that you get to see a message that stays on screen for 1-59 seconds based on your entry in the textbox next to this option button and then disappears automatically.
bulletThe standard font size for this message is 16, but if the text message is too long to display at this size, the font size will be reduced until it fits in the pop up box. Back

You can also specify whether you want a standard message to be added that specifies which cell reaching which value caused this message to come up.

The "Hide Excel after Popup" checkbox will trigger whether Excel is always visible, or only when you want it. This is a handy feature if you are not always monitoring the computer on which Alerts is running and other people also have access to that computer. It keeps them from accidentally shutting Alerts down by exiting your Excel session. Enabling this feature will also make the -icon visible and usable so you can hide excel when you leave the computer. Back

When you use Paging, you can either utilize Microsoft Outlook, or CDO (a web based E-mail client for which you only have to supply an E-mail address and a mail server).Back

When you "Write Alerts to Log", you can choose to write all alerts to one sheet called "Alert Log", or write the alerts to separate sheets for each alert. Each log sheet is named after the alert. Back

The "Specify Cell Coloring" box allows you to specify any color you want to be applied to the critical cells when their value goes up or down compared to the initial value. If the value is the maximum or minimum value for the period of time you are measuring, the background will be the chosen color. If the value is simply up or down (not the max or min) from the initial value, only the font will be in the chosen color. Back

The "Specify when to Run Alerts" box provides two options:

bulletIf your alerts are based on the values in a query you can let the alerts run "After Query Update".  You can also set the refresh interval here. If you use Excel 2000, you may have to turn "auto-refresh" to off first before using this option because otherwise your query refreshes may overlap. Back
bulletIf, however, your alerts are based on calculations or changes in a worksheet, you should select "On any change in the sheet". When you select this option the "Update Interval" can be changed from 0 to 59 seconds (default is 30 seconds). This means that after the alerts ran, the alerts won't run for at least the update interval. If deemed necessary this will save you on processor time devoted to the add-in when it is running. Note: during the update interval critical changes will not set off an alarm, but after the update interval the next change in the spreadsheet will trigger the alarm again. Back

The "Run Alert Events" box provides three options
The "Run on First Change" checkbox will run each alert on the first change. Usually the first change is used to set the run switch to true. When you choose this option the run switch is turned on immediately. Most users don't need this feature and should not use it because it will go off the moment you "activate Alerts", but if you miss the first changes in your use of Alerts, you can turn this on.

The "Run each alert once per trigger" checkbox allows you to have an alert go off only when it first meets the alert criteria. The alert will not run again until you: 1. reset the alerts 2. the value goes out of the critical range and then back to a critical value or, 3. when you change the critical value of that alert. This feature should not be confused with the "Disable alert after first trigger" feature in the "edit alerts" dialog that runs once and then has to be manually reset before running the alert events again.

The "Ask to Reset when activating alerts from toolbar" checkbox allows you to reset all alerts so their events will go off when you click on "Activate Alerts" ().


The "Data Error Handling" box provides two options. You can have Alerts display a message box for each data error (like a "#VALUE", or "#NUM" value) that tells you which workbook, sheet, and range contains that value, or you can have Alerts simply ignore the errors and not run those alerts until valid data becomes available. This is a practical feature when your DDE links or Queries don't always display valid data. You can also specify a value to ignore, like a 0 that would give erroneous results if interpreted by Alerts. Back

The "Set Default Profile" button allows you to choose a default alert profile by displaying the "Choose Default Profile" dialog. If you set this, and you add new alerts, you can choose to apply the criteria of this alert to the new alerts, along with whether certain options are enabled or disabled for that alert. After you set a default profile, you can see which profile you chose in the text below this button. Back

The "Startup Options" box provides you with the option to not only have Alerts be loaded when Excel starts, but also to have Alerts open the selected alert workbook and activate itself on that workbook. With the button "Select Startup Workbook" you can browse to the desired file, and when you accept the choice the complete path and filename will be displayed in the textbox. This is a very handy tool that automates day to day use of Alerts completely. Back

The "Save alerts workbook each time an alert triggers" box provides a tool to make sure that any alert settings and logs are saved automatically. If, at any time, the computer crashes (power outage etc.) any pertinent records until then will still be saved and available as soon as the computer reboots. Back

Edit Alerts Dialog  | Edit Alert Options Dialog | Alert Dialog

When you set the alert options to pop-up messaging with "Edit Levels", this dialog will pop up when an alert goes off that has pop-up messaging enabled. The "Alert" dialog will allow you to change the levels for your Alert cell. Of course you can also just close the dialog. When you decide to use this feature, you have to be at your desk to be able to respond to it, because the application halts at this point until you close the dialog. When you choose "Just Info" you will see a screen like below. the screen will be visible for about 5 seconds before the add-in continues. Though you can't adjust the levels, you don't have to be at your desk to keep this system going. Back


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