Teaching Macroeconomics with Excel

Excel Add-ins

Add-ins are special files that provide additional functionality. After downloading an add-in file, the Add-ins Manager must be used to install it. Add-ins files have extension .xla or .xlam (for Excel 2007 and newer).

Currently Available:


Econ Chart Enhancer

Click this link to download the EconChart.xla file to your computer and use Excel's Addins Manager to install it.

Description and Installation

The Econ Chart Enhancer add-in has options for various tweaks to an existing chart, including adding shaded bars (for recessions), using a natural log scale, and fitting an exponential growth curve. While a knowledgeable Excel user could do these things on her own, this add-in saves a lot of tedious work.

The Econ Chart Enhancer add-in will be regularly updated here with new recession dates. The current version was last updated in June 2015.

Here is a short video on how to install it (after clicking above to download it):


If you have any trouble, visit the Help page.

Scenario Comparative Statics

Click this link to download the ScenCS.xla file to your computer and use Excel's Addins Manager to install it.

Description and Use

The Scenario Comparative Statics add-in creates scenarios for user-specified values of an exogenous variable and the corresponding solutions, displaying the results in a new sheet. It works with sheets that have analytical, reduced-form solutions entered as formulas for endogenous variables or using Excel's Solver to find the solution for each given value of the exogenous variable.

If you do not know how to install an add-in, view the video above. Here is a short video on how to use the Scenario Comparative Statics add-in:


Here is the Excel workbook used in the screencast (without the scenarios): ScenCSVideo.xlsx.

FRED Excel Add-in

This add-in is freely available and produced by the St. Louis Fed as a convenient interface for accessing Fed data directly from Excel. There are many tens of thousands (and growing) US and international time series from various sources (e.g., BEA, BLS, Census, and OECD). Download the add-in from here:


For printed documentation (including a quick start guide), see research.stlouisfed.org/fred-addin/FRED_PC_Users_Guide.pdf.

FRED also has apps for phones and tablets. (Brilliant!)

Housing.xls is an Excel workbook that shows how to use the FRED add-in. The screencast (also included in the Excel workbook) is here: