How to create trial/demo version of protected workbook


You may create a trial version of your protected workbook with an adjustable trial period. The start date of the trial period will be set as date of the first start of compiled EXE on client’s computer.

In order to create the trial/demo version of your workbook  you need  to select the following options  in compilation form.

Compiling form options for trial/demo version of workbook

  • Check the “Copy protection with registration key” option.
  • Check the “Hardware locking” option  if you would like to have your workbook locked to client’s computer id number after the trial period expired.
  • Check the “Trial version” option.

When you enable the “Trial version” option, the “Trial Version Options” form will appear.

Trial/Demo version options settings form

Here you may adjust additional options for your trial workbook.

  • The number of days for trial period in the ‘Trial expires in … days’ field.
  • The amount of seconds for delay time before ‘Close’ button appears on trial warning window in the  ‘ ‘Close’ button appears in … seconds’ field.
  • By changing the ‘Warning recall interval’ time, you will set the interval time between the latest trial warning window appearance and when it will appear again. If you select 0 (zero) minutes, the trial warning window will appear at start time only.
  • To customize the trial warning content you need to assign your own message by selecting the .TXT or .RTF file with content of your warning from your computer into ‘Custom warning content’ field.

When trial version option settings are done, press “OK” button to apply the changes.

Compile your workbook.

Trial version successfully compiled message

The message warns you against opening the trial version EXE file before distribution, otherwise it will not work as trial version.

Now you have the compiled EXE with the option to work in trial mode.


Let’s consider how this trial workbook will work on customer’s computer.

When the trial workbook starts, a customer will see the following trial version warning window (which will be shown every time interval that you have selected in field ‘Warning recall interval’ of the ‘Trial Version Options’ form before compilation).Trial mode application warning


When the trial period expires the following notice will appear.

trial expiration warning for application compiled with Hardware Locking option

“Save”, “Save As” and “Export” features are not available during trial period.
When your client makes a purchase, he will send you his computer id (if you compile the application with “Hardware locking” option on).  You will create the registration key and the same EXE file will work in fully functional, registered mode. You do not need to generate another EXE.

When testing the trial workbook, you may start it on your machine as many times as you want.
But when you are ready to distribute it to a customer, you need to recompile the trial application and you should not start it after compilation, because EXE will fix the date of the first start as a start date of trial period.

How to assign your own limitations to the trial workbook.

This product feature provides great opportunity to choose your own limitations for the trial-version of your workbook.
These limitations may be applied to the level of cell values. This allows you to decide the difference between what is seen in the trial version and what is seen in the registered version of the product.
For that purpose you need to use Excel function INFO.
The XCell Compiler adds new parameter values for that function which returns correct values in compiled EXE only.
INFO(“isexe”) – returns #VALUE! in original xls and TRUE in compiled EXE.

All the following parameters of  INFO function are available for BUSINESS PRO license only and return none error values if EXE was compiled with ‘Hardware locking’ option on.

INFO(“rname”) – returns #VALUE! in original xls, #N/A in compiled EXE when working in trial mode and returns registered name if EXE is registered with registration key file.
INFO(“rmail”) – returns #VALUE! in original xls, #N/A in compiled EXE when working in trial mode and returns e-mail from registration key if EXE is registered with registration key file.
INFO(“compid”) – returns #VALUE! in original xls,  computer id number of current computer where  compiled EXE is started.

This new INFO function’s parameters let you distinguish between compiled and uncompiled, as well as between registered and trial version mode, of your workbook.
For example, consider the Excel formula:
=IF( ISERROR( INFO(“rname”)), IF( ISNA( INFO(“rname”) ), “Trial mode”, “Uncompiled mode”), IF( INFO(“rname”)=”admin”, “Admin Info”, “Customer info”))

A cell, where this equation will be entered, returns “Uncompiled mode” for original xls, “Trial mode” for compiled EXE in trial mode,  “Admin info” for registered user with name “admin” and “Customer Info” for all other registered users.