Adding Context and Ribbon Menus

xlSlim allows you to easily create right-click context menus and ribbon bar menus. The functionality has been designed to be as simple as possible, no knowledge of Custom UI XML is required!

We will show how to add a plotting menu to simplify adding line and column plots of selected data.

We will add this right-click context menu:

Example context menu.

And this ribbon bar menu:

Example ribbon menu.

Clicking on the menu items will generate plots of the selected data:

Example line plot. Example column plot.


This example requires a premium licence as a Python environment with the pywin32 extensions installed is required. Anaconda distributions include pywin32. See Licensing

However the menu functionality itself does not require a premium license, so Python functions executing within the bundled Python environment do not need premium license.

We will use these two Python functions to create the plots from the selected data:

import pythoncom
import win32com.client as win32


def AddLinePlot():
    excel_obj = XLSLIM_COMAPPFUNC()
    app = excel_obj.Application
    selection = app.Selection
    active_sheet = app.ActiveSheet
    # xlLine = 4
    chart = active_sheet.Shapes.AddChart2(-1, 4)

def AddClusteredColumnPlot():
    excel_obj = XLSLIM_COMAPPFUNC()
    app = excel_obj.Application
    selection = app.Selection
    active_sheet = app.ActiveSheet
    # xlColumnClustered = 51
    chart = active_sheet.Shapes.AddChart2(-1, 51)

We start by opening a new Excel workbook and pasting the Python code into cell A1:

Copy code to cell.

Then we use CreatePyModule() to create a dynamic Python module and register the two functions:

Create dynamic module.

Context Menus

We use the UpdateContextMenu() to add the functions AddLinePlot() and AddClusteredColumnPlot() to the right-click context menu.

We start by adding just AddLinePlot() to a menu called Plotting with one menu item Line.

Add first context menu item.

The menu is updated as expected:

Added first context menu item.

Selecting data and clicking on the PlottingLine menu item generates plots as expected:

Example line plot.

Adding further menu items is done by extending the range passed into UpdateContextMenu():

Add second context menu item.

At this stage our context menu looks like this:

Added second context menu item.

We’d like to add some images to make the menu look more professional. The image for the top level menu is an optional third argument to UpdateContextMenu() and the images for the menu items are an optional third column in the range passed as the second argument.

The available images are restricted to those built into Excel. Fortunately there are many builtin images to choose from. Available images can be browsed at images. These look like good images for the menu items:

Nice plot images

And this looks like a good candidate for the top menu:

Nice plot selection image

We can amend the UpdateContextMenu() call to include these image names:

Add images to context menu

Now the menu has nice images:

Added images to context menu

Ribbon Menus

Ribbon menus work exactly the same as context menus. The inputs to UpdateRibbonMenu() are identical to UpdateContextMenu().

Add images to ribbon menu

The same menu is now available on the Excel ribbon:

Added images to ribbon menu


All the Python code and Excel files shown are available from github in the xlslim-code-samples repo. I highly recommend downloading the samples from github. The Excel workbooks contain many tips and tricks.