Microsoft Excel 2013 – A Step In The Right Direction

Excel spreadsheets (.xls)

This blog is dedicated to using excel, improving your productivity through the use of functions, macros, charts, etc. While I personally do use both Excel 2003 and Excel 2007, I did not consider the differences between the 2 to be major. So I was very curious to see what Microsoft would announce on Monday when it previewed its Office 13 suite, due to launch later this week.

I will of course be buying it when it does launch but I thought it might be interesting to already start taking a look at the differences and what you can expect and not expect.

New Features:

Let’s be clear. There is nothing groundbreaking about what’s being released. I don’t think anyone expected such features either. Excel is by far the top spreadsheet software and there are no obvious things missing. As is the case with the rest of Office, social will become a bigger part. What will have a bigger impact though is the integration of Excel 13 with Microsoft’s cloud capabilities and its Skydrive service. I don’t think all features available with Google Docs (especially the bility to have multiple users working on a spreadsheet at the same time) will be available but it seems like saving in the clouds, retrieving and using from any location, will be possible which is clearly great news. Another nice option will be the ability to easily share a spreadsheet, a tab or specific parts of an excel document.

Specific New Functions

Obviously we don’t have the complete list but here are some of the new ones that we know about:

Ghost Protocol: Like me, you’ve probably had to deal more than once with data that came from some other document or from the web that was in a difficult format to work with. Sure, sometimes using “text to columns” would work. Not always though. Other functions helped but in the end it always seemed to be a painful exercise. Ghost protocl will be able to recognize patterns and separate columns accordingly which will clearly be very useful.

Quick Analysis: Building charts, pivot tables or other presentation methods is always tricky and takes longer than it should. In Excel 13, simply selecting the data will be enough for excel to present you with a list of possible ways to display the data which should be smart. The formatting including “conditional formatting” will also be much improved.

I guess the main way that Excel is improved is in how its able to interpret data automatically. It will certainly be interesting to see how this and cloud features end up working.

Do you plan on upgrading? I will certainly be writing a lot more about this along with more about the newer functions in the upcoming excel version.

In the meantime, you can try the new version here:)


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