I'm writing a companion document to a spreadsheet my company provides to clients. The spreadsheet consists of columns that correlate to the database, and, therefore, cannot be changed, added to, or otherwise updated.

I want to explain—in a non-techie way—that the programming itself is, well, plug-and-play. We install it and the data/functionality is what it is.

Is there a single word or simple phrase that accomplishes this? I'm worried the phrase "plug-and-play" might be a little too specific/rare for quite a bit of our clientele.

Here's the opening sentence, if it helps at all:

The products module is a «something» e-commerce solution.

There seems to be a bit of confusion. Here's a little more context: We provide a product upload via a pre-set spreadsheet. The spreadsheet itself does not update.

  • 4
    Plug-and-play means that you plug it in and it works without any hassle or additional configuration, which isn't really how you're using it here. It sounds like you might want to use proprietary. Commented May 18, 2015 at 15:58
  • 1
    Erm... I'd have assumed Plug-and-Play was specifically coined in order to be understood by "non-techie" people (true techies would probably call it hot-swappable). Commented May 18, 2015 at 15:59
  • 1
    Non-configurable would be the most accurate, although hardly marketable. Preconfigured is far more consumer-friendly and would convince most customers to not bother trying to mess with the backend, but implies that the software can be configured. Black box would also work as long as you don't mind sounding slightly ominous. Commented May 18, 2015 at 16:09
  • 2
    @FumbleFingers Eh, those terms mean different things. Hot-swappable means hardware that can be replaced without powering down the system, as is common for hard drives in servers for example. Plug-and-play was originally coined to describe hardware that doesn't need special configuration, like dip switches to set the base memory address of an ISA card, as was the norm at the time.
    – nitro2k01
    Commented May 18, 2015 at 19:58
  • 1
    If it takes time to setup then it's not P&P, it's tailored to suit.
    – Mazura
    Commented May 19, 2015 at 5:39

8 Answers 8


You may be able to convince the users that the spreadsheet does not need to be altered if you refer to it as preconfigured.

preconfigure (v) - Configure in advance

Note that this will not stop some users from attempting to alter the spreadsheet anyway, as the word may suggest some degree of reconfigurability, but it should be enough to satisfy the majority of your userbase.

  • In the end, this is the most accurate definition and is most broadly understood.
    – VampDuc
    Commented May 19, 2015 at 17:05

This is a turnkey solution.

From The Free Dictionary:



  1. Supplied, installed, or purchased in a condition ready for immediate use, occupation, or operation: a turnkey computer system; a turnkey housing project.
  2. Of or relating to something supplied, installed, or purchased in this manner: a turnkey agreement.

A turnkey product is provided ready to use, and is not customized to suit the customer's needs.

  • I looked up the definition of turnkey initially. The definitions I found were not ideal, as they included an overtone of "customized". I also asked my project manager, and she said, "No."
    – VampDuc
    Commented May 18, 2015 at 17:12
  • @VampDuc "Turnkey" seems to match your description, though. The allusion is to, say, a new house where you're handed a key and when you "turn the key" and walk in the furniture is all there, the refrigerator is already stocked, the beds are made, etc -- nothing needs to be done on the customer's part to make the product ready. I'm guessing your problem with the term is that it does not completely describe your product, however, in terms of the non-configurability of it. Ie, the furniture is nailed to the floor and cannot be moved if the occupant so wishes.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented May 19, 2015 at 2:21
  • @HotLicks I understand, but there's a second definition which is closer to someone coming in, figuring out what you need, building it, then handing you the key. The issue is the ambiguity in the term itself. It can mean both pre-built and built-to-suit.
    – VampDuc
    Commented May 19, 2015 at 3:07
  • Yeah, it's a question of whether it's a tract home or custom built.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented May 19, 2015 at 11:44

Plug-and-play carries with it a lot of meaning that you're not using, here. It connotes ease-of-installation and immediate, drop-in, out of the box functionality.

But plug-and-play absolutely does not mean "unconfigurable," which appears to be the main thing you're trying to convey here.

Still, I think drop in and out of the box warrant consideration. Both of these convey that the spreadsheet/product does not need to be customized or configured, but can be easily put into place and immediately used to full effect.


I would suggest ready-to-use. It is easy to understand for a non-techie also.

You can check examples here about how it is used.

Another option is ready-made. (as in ready-made software vs. bespoke software)

You can check examples here.


My first thought was black box, as you're describing a closed module to which a limited interface is provided. This is similar to the design of the black box device found in aircraft and commonly mentioned in news articles, therefore being familiar to even your least-technical readers.

I might also call such a thing self-contained, or isolated, or partitioned.


"Plug-and-Play", as defined by the computer industry standard protocol, does not mean "preconfigured" or "ready-to-use", it means "self-configuring" (albeit with the assistance of the system with which the device interoperates).


Maintenance free may also work, as you say that this spreadsheet updates automatically.


I dont think plug and play is appropriate here. I would suggest "inextensible" as an alternative. It appears to be closer to your meaning.

Plug and play generally implies that something works without any configuration or setup, literally just having to plug in some kind of device. That doesnt seem to be the case here rather you have a product that cannot be changed or extended.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.