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The most up-to-date documentation for BERT is on the website (

To install BERT, download the latest release.


BERT is a connector for Excel and the programming languages R and Julia. Put some R functions in a file; open Excel, and use those functions in your spreadsheets. Essentially anything you can do in R or Julia, you can call from an Excel spreadsheet cell.

There's also a console for talking to Excel from these programming languages, and (if you want) you can run R or Julia code from VBA as well.

Verion 2

The new version of BERT moves R out of process for better stability, code separation, and future feature development (abortable/restartable code service, additional languages). We're also rewriting a lot of stuff just to remove cruft and use more modern C++.

The new version uses a monorepo so we can tie together the various components, instead of having mutliple repos. Once this is the active version we will shut down the separate components.


  • Full replacement for BERTv1

    Most of BERT has been rewritten from scratch for the new version. The result is a more stable and extensible base, with better structure and generally cleaner and more consistent code.

  • Console rewrite

    The console has also been rewritten in typescript, which is a better foundation for what is now a fairly large project.

  • Additional language(s)

    Separation between the interface (Excel) and the language services means we can support more than one language. BERT currently supports R and Julia, and we can add more languages in the future.

Requirements (Runtime)

  • Excel

    BERT supports Excel 2010, 2013 and 2016, both 32-bit and 64-bit (but only on 64-bit Windows).

  • R 3.4.x (optional)

    This version of BERT does not (at the moment) include R, so you will need an R installation. A plain-vanilla Windows R install is fine, as long as it is version 3.4.0 or later.

  • Julia 0.6.2 (optional)

    The same applies to Julia; if you want to integrate Julia, use a plain- vanilla Windows install of Julia. You must use the current release (0.6.2); When Julia releases 0.7, we will update to match.

Requirements (Building)

There are several third party tools and libraries used to build BERT:

  • Protocol Buffers

    BERT uses Protocol Buffers for IPC. This requires the protoc compiler (to compile .proto files) as well as runtime libraries, which must be built by compiling the protobuf library. We're currently using version 3.5.0 and the version 3 syntax.

  • Excel SDK

    The Excel SDK provides XLCALL.cpp and XLCALL.h for Excel integration.

  • R, including headers and .libs

    To build R components, you will need R. A standard R distribution includes headers and DLLs, but you need to build libs for linking. For tips on how to do this, see (e.g.) this mailing list post.

  • Julia

    A plain-vanilla Windows install of Julia is sufficient.

  • Node and Yarn (or npm)

    Building the console requires a recent version of node and yarn (or npm), plus the libraries specified in dependencies and devDependencies.


BERT is provided under the GPL (v3). Contact us for alternate licensing options.