Optimal Environment for Running Xcelsius


In my day to day discussions with other consultants and customers who use Xcelsius, I have experienced common issues that you may find when building Xcelsius dashboards. While I often work within the constraints of the product I beat up Xcelsius pretty good and have found a suitable system configuration for building dashboards. I wanted to share my configuration and practices in hopes that you may be able to improve your dashboard building experience.

Troubleshooting an issue with Xcelsius can be a bit of a moving target with different versions and hot fixes of Windows, Excel, Flash player, and of course Xcelsius. Here is how my system is currently configured:

Design Time with Xcelsius Best Practices
As you launch Xcelsius, the following practices should be taken into account to set you up for success.

  • Do not run Excel while using Xcelsius. I have both 2007 and 2003 on my system, so if I need to get into Excel while using Xcelsius, I only use 2003.
  • Run 1 instance of Xcelsius at a time. If you need to copy and paste components between Xcelsius instances do so and then close the second instance of Xcelsius. UPDATE- With Xcelsius SP3.1 this works much better now
  • If Xcelsius crashes for whatever reason, open the task manager CTR + ALT + DELETE and shot down any Excel processes before re-starting Xcelsius.
  • Turn Excel auto save off while working heavily inside Xcelsius. In Excel 2003, this is located in Tools>Options>Save. In Excel 2007 this is located under Excel Options.
  • Shut down all Excel add-ins or any other applications that may use Excel or Office.
  • Save and version your dashboards every time you make major changes. It never hurts to have extra versions sitting around.
  • Don’t develop dashboards on Xcelsius running on Windows Server. I don’t believe that it is supported and does not work very well for heavy development.
  • Be aware that Xcelsius 2008 is designed with Flex 2 and designed for Flash Player 9. As new Flash Player versions come out, make sure you check up on forums or linked-in to find any potential issues.

If you have other contributions to this list feel free to add them in the comments section.



  1. Ryan,

    I created a report in Xcelsius but later when I opened it nothing appears on my canvas; however, the Object Browser shows that everything is there. It will even export the report out. I wanted to make some changes, but without being able to see the graphs, etc. I am unable to do so. Is there something I can do to show the components on the canvas.


  2. Nice one. The documentation does say, however, that Server 2003 is supported, so I’m not completely sure about your last point. Or do you have personal experience with developing on Windows 2003?

  3. Ryan,
    My dashboards are pretty complex and have a habit of crashing when creating an SWF file. But I think I found a Best Practice for this problem.

    When my XLF files are open, I usually keep the Windows Task Manager visible. On my computer, an open XLF file consumes about 500,000K of Mem Usage and when I export the SWF, the program crashes at just over 1,000,000K and never creates the SWF file.

    I found that when I minimize the XLF file before creating the SWF file, the MEM Usage drops from 500,000K to around 15,000K. Then, I maximize the XLF file and create the SWF. Usually, the SWF generates by the time the MEM Usage gets back to about 450,000K.

    Since I discovered the minimizing trick, I haven’t had a problem creating SWF files.

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