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Before we begin our whirlwind tour of all things Excel, I thought I’d give you a quick glance at the things we’ve done. The “table of contents” if you will. That way you’ll have an idea of what to expect in the coming weeks, and I hope it gives you a sense of the amount of work we’ve put into this release.
Many of our investments in this release are a continuation of the goals and vision that started in the 2007 release. A few examples:
In addition to building on the work we started in 2007, we took a close look at all areas of Excel and made some new investments where we saw a clear customer need. Most notably, we made a number of improvements in programmability, such as closing the gap between XLM and VBA, enabling UDFs to run asynchronously, improving macro recording support, and enabling new integration scenarios with High Performance Computing clusters.
On top of all the Excel innovation, there were a number of improvements made across the Office suite, such as Backstage, better graphics and media editing support, and much more. I may touch on these topics from time to time, but most of this will get covered in the Microsoft Office 2010 Engineering blog. To really get the full view of all changes in Excel, make sure to also check out that blog as well.
So, there’s the 10,000 foot view. It’s by no means a complete list. As we get into the meat of things we’ll uncover lots of other areas where improvements were made.
Ready to start? In the next post we’ll talk about the work we did in sparklines.
Sorry for wanting to skip ahead, but why the XLM to VBA deal? Isn't XLM old and should be put out to pasture?
>cross-sheet conditional formatting
Does that mean what I think it means? We will be able to reference other sheets/workbooks as CF criteria? No more:
You cannot use references to other worksheets or workbooks for Conditional Formatting criteria.
>we added a few new functions
Great! But a "few" is still not enough! I'm gonna take a wild guess and say a couple of those functions are:
Those will help but we need some "heavy duty" functions like:
FilterCountif (sort of like if the SUBTOTAL function had a COUNTIF argument)
>improving macro recording support
Yeah, there's a lot of stuff missing in Excel 2007.
Is there any chance that Excel at some point will move to a proper one-window-per-file model, like e.g. Word? This is the number one productivity blocker for me. I have a dual monitor setup, and Excel is really not ready for that. Why can't I have two documents open, one on each screen, easily? I know, I can start a new instance of Excel, but this is cumbersome, and really in 2009 I think it would be about time for Excel to just fix it windowing story for good...
re davidacoder - this is already an option setting, but it seems many, maybe most, spreadsheet users prefer many workbook windows in a single application window.
Excel users who have multiple workbooks open at once are likely to want to have formulas in one workbook refer to ranges in other workbooks. Then there's synchronized scrolling of multiple worksheets in different menus, which is easier to manage with multiple worksheet windows inside a single application window.
Nothing comparable in Word.
Anyway, my vote cancels yours.
How come Word gets viewed from 20,000ft higher in the parallel blog? :) Look forward to hearing more about the enhancements...
@Harlan: Where is that option? There is an option to have a taskbar button per window, but that is not what I talked about.
I don't see why the option to have more than 1 top level window (where each could be placed on a different monitor) would rule out any of the other features you talk about. You could still refer to ranges in other workbooks, you could have synched scrolling etc.
All I'm asking for is that I can two Excel windows, with each one on a seperate monitor.
I'm with Harlan - I prefer multiple wbs in the same app window.
You can open two instances of Excel and one on each monitor or stretch the app across both screens. Or they could add SDI as an option - but please don't remove MDI.
I'm delighted to see the continued support for XLM, which is still very useful. The high performance Computing stuff looks interesting too.
>> closing the gap between XLM and VBA
There are a number of things that can only be done using XL4 macros (through XL2007). Or done better, e.g., changing printer setup options quickly. Years ago the Excel MVP presented the devs with a list of items they'd want VBA enhanced for before unplugging XLM.
Joe-Any details coming re the "closing" in 14?
I fully agree that MDI should not be removed. My dream scenario would be something that is a little bit like Chrome, where you can have multiple top level windows, and then can drag and drop tabs from one window to another. The perfect solution for Excel (for me) would be if you could have multiple top level MDI windows, and then could move individual workbooks (i.e. MDI window) from one top level window into another. I think that would please everyone, right?
As I said, multiple Excel instances work, but are cumbersome and not ideal. One large window that stretches across two screens is also really just a hack, in my opinion (e.g. I might want to bring the window on one screen to the top, but leave some other window on the second screen in front etc).
Biff: Yes, CF defined on one sheet will be able to reference cells in other sheets as criteria.
Jim: Yes, we will have a post at some point on VBA / XLM parity.
David: Thanks for the feedback. Excel 2010 continues to operate in one window. We hear this request from time to time, and I'll make sure the team hears it again. It's something we'd like to consider at some point, though I will say that for a number of reasons, Harlan alluded to some, it's a uniquely challenging problem for Excel.
Are you going to address the accuracy of statistical functions? They have got a lot of (probably deserved) criticism so far.
vf: Yes I will address our stats functions in an upcoming post.
What happened to conditional sum wizard, lookup wizard, internet assistant VBA? Also, is collaborated editing supported without SharePoint in the desktop version?
"What happened to conditional sum wizard, lookup wizard, internet assistant VBA?"
Nothing. They're all still there.
The implementation of changes to the calculation engine concerns me a bit.
In my job, I do work with the extreme ends of some distribution functions. And, while past changes to statistical functions have been minor in aggregate...well, one of the headaches I get to deal with on a regular basis is in explaining why certain spreadsheets generate slightly different answers depending on the version of Excel used.
The discrepancies (in addition to cost, learning curve, etc.) are one of the reasons why my office still primarily uses Excel '02.
It may be late in the development process, but it would be very cool if Excel '10 saw the ability to specify using older logic for certain functions, to ease the pain of a lengthy, phased rollout in a corporate environment.