Excel 2007 – The Final Look, and more rows and columns

The Final Look
For most of the history of this blog, I have been showing you screenshots produced using “Beta 1†builds of Excel 2007 and making comments along the lines of “not final UIâ€.  Today, the UI became a lot more final.  What do I mean?  This morning at the CeBIT conference in Germany, Microsoft publicly showcased what will be the final visuals for the Office 2007 user interface.  Here is a screenshot of Excel.

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There is another “skin†available too.

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There are a number of changes from what you saw in the “Beta 1†build.  Some are aesthetic – colours, fills – but there are plenty of others.  For example, the “quick access toolbar†is in the title bar, group (nee “chunkâ€) titles are at the bottom, there is a big round “Office Buttonâ€, there is a new View tab that contains view and window management controls, etc. 

Jensen Harris’ UI blog has screenshots of other apps, a description of what the Office Button is all about, and other information, so please take a look.  He will also be talking about the logic behind some of the designs over the coming weeks, so you might want to check back.

For all you “Beta1†testers out there, the “Beta1 technical refreshâ€, which is where these shots come from, will soon be available.  For folks that want to sign up for the public beta later this spring, please register here.

One more point on all this – there may still be minor tweaks between now and when we ship – an icon changing, a button moving – but for the most part, the UI is close to final.  I will be publishing a detailed look at each Excel tab around the timeframe of the public beta.

More Rows and Columns
Since I have received ~10 emails from blog readers in the past 2 weeks asking if we were increasing the size of the Excel grid this release, I thought I would briefly circle back to where I started and say “yes, we have made the grid bigger … specifically, the Excel 12 grid will be 1,048,576 rows by 16,384 columns.  That’s 1,500% more rows and 6,300% more columns than in Excel 2003, and for those of you that are curious, columns now end at XFD instead of IV.† For information on this and lots of other limits we changed, please see this blog post.

One other note to end this post – for readers that have not been following this blog since its inception, I have categorized all the posts (see the “Categories†box on the right-hand side of the page), so you can go back and browse topics that look interesting.