Microsoft Office 2013 is the latest version of the popular Office suite that has been released for public consumption. If you have been using Office 2010, you may be a trifle disappointed about having to think about upgrading to the next version, especially, just when you were beginning to get accustomed to and even enjoy the features of the 2010 application. Nevertheless, Office 2013 is here to stay, and in the next series of posts, we take a look at what’s new in the different Office 2013 applications. In this article, we’ll look at the new features in Excel 2013.
Top New Features in Excel 2013
While most of the features you used in Office 2010 still remains, there are many new features that have been introduced in Office 2013. But the single most important feature that sets this application apart from previous versions is its compatibility with modern mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets as well as the cloud. By simply signing in when you install Office 2013, you can be assured that your worksheets and files are accessible, anytime, anywhere. Let’s see how you can move ahead into a new way of doing business with Excel 2013.
Redesigned Excel 2013 Interface
The Excel interface has been slightly redesigned, but the impact is devastating. Gone is the clean smooth and pleasant look that you have come to expect with Office 2010. Instead, in its place is an ugly Office theme and an annoying background design. You have the option of choosing between white, light grey and dark grey for your Office theme and a small selection of Office backgrounds, all of which don’t add any aesthetic value to the program. You just have to resign yourself to looking at a darn ugly worksheet every morning, every day, probably for the next few years, until the next release, and hopefully, things will change then. Yeah..I said hopefully. Frankly, it just looks as if Microsoft forgot to add the finishing touches to its software before release. You may not think the design is really a big deal until you sit down to work on an Office 2013 worksheet. This single factor alone may put you off your Office 2013 purchase decision.
New Office 2013 Tools
Let’s see, there is Quick Analysis tool, that converts your data into a chart or table in a couple of steps. You just have to click the Quick Analysis button at the bottom of the selected data or Ctrl+Q to do a quick data analysis. Then there’s FlashFill, a feature that recognizes patterns in your data and fills it for you, something like a automated filler. The next new feature you might enjoy using is Chart Recommendations. Remember how you always spent a little more time than necessary when preparing charts simply because you didn’t know which was the most ideal one to use for your data? Now, Excel does this analysis for you and recommends the chart that is most suitable for your data. The next tool is not really new, but it offers more functionality. Slicers, which was first introduced in Office 2010 now lets you filter data in tables.
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Finally, a feature we have been dying for! You can now open Excel in two screens or rather in separate windows! Halleluiah!
Excel 2013 New Functions
This list is really big; suffice to say that you can now do more with new math and trigonometry, statistical, engineering, date and time, lookup and reference, logical, and text functions.
You can embed part of your Excel worksheet on a web page, for others to work on. You can also share the workbook in online meetings from any mobile device using Lync.
New Saving Format
You can now save your worksheets Strict Open XML Spreadsheet (*.xlsx) file format. This format is intended to let you read and write ISO8601 dates to resolve a leap year issue for the year 1900.
New Features in Excel Charts and PivotTables
The Excel Charting Contextual Ribbon tabs is streamlined for easier access to commands. There are also include new buttons to pick charts and add combo charts. Chart data labels are also richer and stay fixed when you change charts. You can also see changes in your chart in real time as you make them.
PivotTables are often intimidating if you are not a regular user. Excel 2013 includes a robust feature that recommends ways in which you can summarize your data. You can now create different types of PivotTable using a single Field list. And, not only create PivotTables, but also create ones based on multiple Excel tables. Additionally, you can connect to new data sources, create relationships between tables, show data for different timelines, and drill down to analyze data at various levels. That’s not all; you can even create standalone PivotCharts. All of these features of course need to be analyzed in depth to get a better understanding, but these are simply a gist some of the cool improvements made for users.
New and Improved Add-Ins
Excel also lets power users take advantage of the PowerPivot add in to create more sophisticated models. There’s also the Inquire add in that lets you understand and analyze your workbook, find problems in formulas and more.
Have you started using Excel 2013? What are your thoughts on the new Office suite?