One of the themes we focused on with Office 2007 was â€œgreat looking documentsâ€. For the next half-dozen articles, I am going to explain what that means for Excel, and some of the cross-application features that users will see in Office 2007.
Way back when we were starting planning for Excel 2007, we talked to a lot of people about the documents they created using Office, and we looked at many, many examples of peopleâ€™s work. We asked them about what they found difficult, what they would like to see fixed, and what they thought good-looking output looked like. We also looked at many examples of â€œprofessionalâ€ output, drawn from textbooks, business journals, scientific journals, and professional design firms. During our planning, it became clear that there was still a lot of additional capability that we could add in this area that would benefit all sorts of users, so we set out to really improve Excelâ€™s capabilities in this area in a number of ways. Specifically, we set out to:
- Address existing limitations in Excel that made it challenging to create modern-looking documents
- Make formatting documents much faster and simpler
- Provide professionally-designed content available out-of-the-box
- Make it easy to see what your work will look like printed as you create it
- Make it easier to maintain your spreadsheet and update formatting
- Address some long-standing print-related customer requests
- Provide some examples of great-looking documents
- Make it easier to move your content (i.e. charts) to other Office applications (i.e. PowerPoint) without hassle
- Do this all in a way that is consistent between Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, so that users can apply features from one application in other applications
These goals translated in to the following work:
- Changing the number of unique colours allowed a single workbook from 56 to 4.3 billion (32-bit colour) (see post here) as well as adding some new visual effects, like gradient fill.
- Vastly improved charting. This will be covered in more detail in a later series of posts, but you can check out this post for some visuals that should give you an idea.
- Improvements to Excelâ€™s existing cell styles feature, and the addition of styles for Tables, PivotTables, and Charts (see here and here for information on Table styles and PivotTable styles)
- â€œGalleriesâ€ of professionally-designed styles (for all the objects previously listed)
- A new view â€“ Page Layout View – to supplement Normal and Page Break Preview
- “Live preview” of formatting
- Click-and-type headers and footers
- Some print-related features commonly requested by customers
â€œDocument Themesâ€ (colour, font, and effect variations that can be shared between Office applications)
- Updates to Office shapes (think Drawing toolbar) and WordArt
- ~25 great-looking templates available out-of-the-box
So thatâ€™s the introduction. Next time, I will cover some of the limitations we have changed as well as changes to cell styles.