ViXL-3D® is an acronym for “3D Visualizer for Excel®” and is an add-in for Microsoft Excel® version 2010 and newer, running on Windows 7 and newer. Its purpose is to enable Excel users to visualize 3D datasets as point clouds, convex hulls, surface meshes and height (topographic) maps. Displayed datasets can be panned, zoomed and rotated in real-time; displayed with different material types and lighting effects; colorized; exported to a polygon file (to import into other mesh viewers); saved as a bitmap; and, output as a video clip. Multiple viewing windows can be opened to compare different datasets side-by-side.
At its core, ViXL-3D is a static library that is accessed through either a DLL or an XLL framework. In this way, the same ViXL-3D functions can be called from both Excel (as an XLL add-in library) or from within user-developed code such as Visual C++ (or any Windows development language that supports DLLs). This allows researchers and software developers to easily test and debug new algorithms in Excel, and then port those algorithms directly to their own code.
ViXL-3D Viewer windows can be called directly from within Excel, like any ordinary Excel chart. But unlike normal Excel charts, ViXL-3D meshes can be manipulated in real-time from within the Viewer window itself. They can also be saved as polygon files, or as video clips.
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