Initial thoughts on NodeXL
is a project from Microsoft and collaborators to bring some decent social network analysis tools to the masses - that is, the masses who have access to Microsoft Office. It's not supposed to be the most powerful thing on the planet, but functional for people who are comfortable in Excel and aren't comfortable either programming or using one of the other SNA tools (primarily UCInet and Pajek).
My very quick take
1) still a PITA to install and run (go ahead and get .net 3.5 sp1 first, reboot, then install it)
2) good idea - a lot of potential
3) easy to make attractive pictures - a lot more difficult to actually get the picture to show the information I want -- specifically, I can't seem to label the nodes (I can't get it to put the info that is in column a in the secondary label column for love nor money and I am Excel functional), nor size them by centrality measure (this is a very standard thing to do)
4) very nice that it sucks Pajek .net files in without issues (this was an old network I had sitting around)
5) it's nice you can click on a vertex in the spreadsheet and it will be highlighted on the graph
6) it's not good that changing the colors of the nodes actually triggers it to rearrange them (grrr)
7) apparently you can use equations to change colors and stuff - I haven't tried that yet.