New Office 365 2013 Preview: Microsoft Excel

Microsoft is known for two things: being the provider of software which is the industry standard for business, and for being extremely innovative. Microsoft may not be the first company to come up with some innovative features, but Microsoft would rather be the first company to come out with those features executed correctly rather than the first chronologically. Microsoft Office 2013 is no exception. The first major goal of Microsoft Office 2013 was to clean up graphic effects to make the interface cleaner, smoother, and easier to operate. The second goal with the 2013 Edition was to make Microsoft Office tablet friendly.

The immediate impression that Excel 2013 users have is that the interface is a lot cleaner and more intuitive. It still does use the Microsoft Office Ribbon that users have trained and gotten used to from Microsoft Office 2010. This familiarity serves to lower the amount of necessary training time. The simplification of the ribbon improves functionality both on the desktop and for tablet uses.

Office Templates are something usually associated with Microsoft Word, but in Excel 2013, there is a rich collection of templates that provide both visual interest and functionality. With templates, you can concentrate on the data and leave the design to Microsoft. For the users that want more control, there are more design tools, and those tools are far easier to use.

Another new feature is the Quick Analysis feature. Just put the data into a spreadsheet and highlight it. Very quickly you can make charts and graphs to help you visualize patterns in the data. Because of tight integration with the rest of Microsoft Office, you can easily take the data, charts, and graphs and quickly copy and paste them right into your Word, Publisher, or PowerPoint document.

Sometimes data requires columns to be filled in either identically or incrementally based on rules. The new Flash Fill feature allows missing cell data to be filled in quickly just by dragging the cursor across the column. In most cases, Flash Fill can figure out the pattern of the data you are trying to fill, making completion a breeze.

Different types of data are better represented visually with different types of charts, and if you do not like the recommended chart type, it is easy to flip back and forth between different chart styles, colors, sizes, and tables.

Sometimes, you may not wish to use the full set of data you entered to analyze, or you may wish to take out parts or limit the range using different parameters. This is very easy to facilitate using the new Slicers feature, which also allows for complex pivot functions.

In earlier versions of Microsoft Office Excel, you could open up more than one workbook at a time, but they would all be in the same window, in the same instance of Excel. Now with Excel 2013, you can have one window per workbook. This can prove very valuable when you are working with two different workbooks and want to see them both side-by-side. With this new feature, that scenario is now possible.

Saving and sharing files online is much easier with Excel 2013. It is optimized for the cloud and easier to save documents to SkyDrive or SharePoint on Microsoft Office 365.

Sometimes, webmasters want to display data, charts, and graphs, but in the past that had to be re-coded for the Web to share on public sites. Now with Excel 2013, sharing data on the Web is as easy as copying and pasting.

New programs and new features in Microsoft Office including in Excel 2013 sometimes require training.

If all of that was possible in 2013, then imagine what is available today!

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