Microsoft Excel: The brilliance of spreadsheet applications

I’ll start by saying I love Microsoft® Excel®, but then who doesn’t? Whether you drawing up your personal budget, planning your next holiday, creating surveys, running projects, calculating your loans or running your business, we all use this powerful spreadsheet application. And if you are not using Excel, you will continuously find yourself looking for the “Export to Excel” button. Excel is celebrated the world over, in schools, universities, homes, small start-ups and even big business, it just makes life so much easier!


Desktop and Online

You must be wondering what has encouraged me to write about Excel. I love working with Excel, and I am fortunate enough that I get to work with it every day. Microsoft Excel desktop version has been the front end of our Sage Intelligence Reporting software for many years, and it was time for me to explore the unknown of Office Online and in particular Excel Online. Could this replace the desktop version of Office?

Microsoft’s Office Online version is completely free, which is a big bonus! It runs on everything, from Chromebooks and Linux PCs to iPad’s and Android tablets. It also works in all the popular browsers namely, Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer.

I found that although the interface in Excel Online is similar to the desktop version, there are fewer features built in.  However, most of the workbook features available on desktop are supported for viewing in your browser, but there are a few of them that cannot be edited or added from your browser. An additional game changing element, is that in order to use Excel Online you have to be connected to the internet.

Cloud Storage Benefits

We get the added benefits, such as Dropbox. It allows you to save and share so many of our Microsoft Office files. Dropbox released a new integration with Microsoft Office Online, so you can now edit your Excel files in your Dropbox directly from your web browser. What this means for us is, we don’t need the desktop version of Excel or even our own computer to update Excel files stored in Dropbox. Today, I got sprung with a nice surprise when I opened an Excel 2013 desktop report. The Dropbox Badge. This allows me to see who is viewing my docs, I can also add comments and share the report directly from with the Excel workbook. How nifty is that!


Office 2016

I can hardly contain my excitement to get my hands on Excel 2016, the preview version is already out, and so you can try it now! There are some really cool things I have seen, such as the, Power Query, now built-in to Excel 2016. Before, it was an Excel Add-In that you had to install. And then all the new modern charts, that will make using Excel 2016 a lot more exciting! You will also be able to talk to Excel via the new Tell me what to do search box, simply type in what you are trying to do and it will provide you with helpful instructions.

So whether it is Excel desktop, Office 365 or Excel Online, and whether you are an Excel beginner, or advanced user, Microsoft Excel has something for all of us.