We’ve Updated Excel Web App – What’s New as of June 2013?

About a month ago, we announced that Excel Web App and the Office Web Apps are destined to become a comprehensive productivity experience on more browsers and devices (not just companions to the desktop applications). We didn’t give any specific timelines as part of that, but last week we released our first feature update since that announcement. I’m excited to share some of the awesome new things you can do in Excel Web App now in both SkyDrive and Office365, and I’ll give a peek at some of what we’ve got coming in future updates!

We’re focusing on your feedback.

If there’s one underlying theme that I hope everyone reading this notices is that we’ve been watching and listening to our various support channels (like the Web Excel group over at answers.microsoft.com and the Give Feedback file menu item) and we’ve added some of the most requested features to the application. I’ll touch on a few of them here, but I wholeheartedly recommend that you try the new Excel Web App today to get a sense for yourself for how great it is.

Also – if you are interested in trying this yourself, you can give it a shot here: June 2013 Web Excel Update Demo.xlsx (you’ll need to copy the workbook to your own SkyDrive and view it in edit mode to see some of the features)

Freeze Panes has been our most requested feature for quite a while, and we now support viewing workbooks that contain freeze panes. That means you can see all of those column headings at the top of your sheet all the time, as opposed to scrolling up and down as you’ve done in the past.

Figure 1: Freeze Panes in Excel Web App

Header Row Snapping is similar to freeze panes, in that it allows you to more easily work with tabular data. With it, if you create a Table out of your data (on the Home ribbon, choose “Sort and Filter as Table”), and then scroll down, the Table headers and the ability to Sort/Filter will move up into the sheet headers, so you always know what’s going on with your data.

Figure 2: Header Row Snapping in Excel Web App

Even with these improvements, we know that not everyone uses Tables in Excel, but that it’s still important to Sort data that’s not in a table – so now you can do that by selecting any range of data and clicking on the Sort commands on the Home ribbon.

Figure 3: Sort in Excel Web App

Hiding and unhiding sheets is something that’s been missing from Excel Web App up until now, but no longer. Right click on sheet tabs to hide or unhide them, just like Excel.

Figure 4: Hiding and Unhiding sheets in Excel Web App

We’ve also heard the feedback that you want to enter data more easily into your spreadsheets. As such, we’ve introduced support for both Data Validation and Autocomplete with this update. Data Validation works just as you’d expect (like Excel) in that it provides a list of valid values a user can enter into a cell. And, we took Autocomplete a step further than desktop Excel – not only does it complete what you’re typing, but if you start typing and there’s more than one possible match, we’ll show you the whole list that you can pick from!

Figure 5: Data Validation in Excel Web App.

Figure 6: Autocomplete in Excel Web App

And, last but not least, we added the ability to quickly clear any formatting or content applied to a cell or range. This can be a lifesaver when you’re copying data from other places, and you want to get the data to look right in the context of your spreadsheet.

We’re still working on more of what you want.

I think you’ll agree that the improvements we’ve looked at so far are great ones for Excel Web App. But we’re not done – not by a long shot. We’ve got a lot more in the pipeline, and in the coming months you’ll see us release even more of the features that you’ve come to love in desktop Excel, as well as some you may not have even realized existed. We’ll get started by letting you create freeze panes and data validation, but that’s just a taste of what’s coming – there’s much more I haven’t even mentioned that will make Excel Web App the place that you’ll want to work on your spreadsheets online.

Don’t forget to grab the sample workbook: June 2013 Web Excel Update Demo.xlsx, and as always, we love to hear what you think – let us know in the comments section, and have fun using the new release of Excel Web App!

–Dan Battagin, Program Manager, Excel Team