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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Figure 5: Data Validation in Excel Web App.

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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

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20 comments
  1. Is there any way to unhide first row/column in excel web app?

  2. any update for sharepoint office web apps 2010 or 2013

  3. For some reason my Excel web app survey data doesn’t always automatically show data from surveys as it comes in. Not sure if that’s a Chrome issue but I sometimes get the data instantly and sometimes have to refresh to see what’s new.

  4. Cool. Pleasant surprise.

    I realize you are Excel team, but do you know if there will be a similar announcement for Word and or PowerPoint?

  5. @LorenzoA – When you’re collecting Survey data, you shouldn’t ever have to refresh in order to see the values coming in. However, depending on how frequently results are coming in through the Survey, as well as whether you’re also making changes in the workbook you are monitoring it can take several seconds (sometimes up to 30) for the results to show up.

    @maz – Right now, you need to use Excel to do that.

    @rtimi – No announcement for The 2010 Web Apps at this point, but the update we released is for the 2013 version of the Web Apps – at least, as they are part of Office 365 :-). Everything that I’ve outlined above is working both in SkyDrive and Office 365 now. For the on-prem products, you should expect to see these updates in a coming release.

    @jkpieterse – Thanks!

    @ron007 – Sorry, but I don’t have any information about Word and PowerPoint announcements, but I can confirm that those teams are hard at work as well :-). If you check out the video I linked in the blog ("much more"), you’ll see a bit of what I’m talking about.

    @David Derman – Thanks! (and me too on the Pivots!)

  6. Great additions! Sadly, web app freezes while loading for my whole office now. Using chrome on macs.

    • @evoinvitro – can you contact me using this form please? I’d like to follow up with the problem you’re seeing, to see if we can get whatever bug you are running into fixed. Thanks!

      note: a hyperlink doesn’t work here, so please copy/paste this into your web browser to navigate to the support form: sdrv.ms/14fRCy3

  7. Love the new additions, we are getting closer to a full web experience, congrats to the team

  8. Dan Battagin where are the new features? I do not see them in your Excel Web Apps.

  9. How to delete account on this site?

  10. Excellent! This is a great app, and I love it on the web.

    I’m still waiting for pivot tables though. :)

  11. Hi,
    I used Excel Web App from some months without any problems, but in these last week many of my spreedsheet crash for some bugs in the last update of the platform.
    First: try to add a comment to a cell with data validation. This bug made me crazy for some days.
    I updated excel files on skydrive and until yesterday all files worked well.
    Today I had similar problem with same files, but I cannot find the solution.
    I try to cancel macro, comments, data validation and also conditional formatting cells. Nothing changes until now.
    I ask if it’s possible to link to an old version of excelwebapp when something with the new version don’t work. In the while we can resolve some bugs due to new update.
    thanks
    Riccardo

    • Now it works, but I found something strange in some cells with formula like =A2&B5&C4, where I add some text cell in general format. The result was a sentence displaid in a group of cells. Sorry for my english :-) hope you understood !

  12. Please put conditional formatting and the ability to lock cells please…

  13. Hi

    I can’t tell you how much help this site is,

    I’m not quite sure how to post a question?

    I have a question relating to Excel 2010 and I have created a pivot chart from a pivot table. That shows all our products in a filter/selection box at the top, with period rows = periods and the sales rev p the columns (I have a secondary graph in there to which shows our MAT line for that product). I tried to add a snapshot/print screen (snag it) but I can’t. I’d like to know how I can make the Model number selected model family selected in the top filter list to be displayed on the graph too, so it is visible at a quick glance which model that graph is for at any particular time. Is that possible please?

    Thank you
    Clair

  14. When I integrated an excel spreadsheet via Web App in the blog, I noticed that if you do not allow users to download the file it is still possible to download it if you:
    1) click to open in full screen
    2) click on the skydrive name folder in the left upper corner of the screen
    3) voila! the file is available for download for any user

    Please correct it or explain me how can I prohibit users from downloading the file that way.

  15. Thank you very much for adding "Freeze panes". That was a huge one for me.
    It looks it must be set in Desktop Excel and can’t be accessed or controlled in the Web app. Is that right?

  16. For Excel Surveys, would really like to be able to include "hidden" values in the output, such as a survey key or item key. That way I would be able to track a response and link it with an email invitation that I may have sent earlier. The company I work for currently uses SurveyMonkey because it has this ability.

  17. If/When will you be providing support for smart-art and charts. I am currently using the share feature to allow our clients to use an excel spreadsheet to customize their product. We also use the organizational chart feature to organize their organization’s departments.

    However, we cannot send out a request for them to edit this spreadsheet without first taking a screenshot and pasting it into the spreadsheet which obviously does not allow them to edit the chart.

    I would really like to know if the ability to edit these charts is on the horizon or not.

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