A new user interface
Excel 2007 (Version 12) became available in late 2006 and was part of the Microsoft 2007 Office
Ribbon UI replaced menus and toolbars. In addition, the Excel 2007 grid size is 1,000 times larger
than in previous versions, and the product uses a new open XML file format. Other improvements
include improved tables, conditional formatting enhancements, major cosmetic enhancements
for charts, and document themes.
Reaction to the new UI was mixed. Some users loved it, others hated it. Several companies even
created add-ins that allowed Excel 2007 users to revert to the old menu system. Clearly, Excel
2007 is easier for beginners, but long-time users may spend a lot of time wondering where to
find their old commands.
The current version, Excel 2010, is part of Microsoft 2010 Office System. Apparently, the decision-
makers at Microsoft are a bit superstitious. They skipped Version 13, and went straight to Version 14.
Excel 2010 features enhancements in pivot tables, conditional formatting, and image editing. The
product now supports in-cell charts called sparklines
and the ability to preview pasting before
committing to it. A new backstage
feature is devoted to document-related tasks, such as saving
and printing. In addition, end users can now customize the Ribbon. And finally, dozens of new
worksheet functions are available — mostly highly specialized functions that replace old functions
that had some accuracy problems.