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Thanks to Steve Tullis for putting this together.
Way back in November 2009, I wrote a short blog post announcing the two browser-based solutions the Excel team is delivering as part of the Office 2010 wave of products:
That article was mainly focused on Excel Services’ new features and functionality. This article is really part 2 – focusing on the Excel Web App 2010.
In July 2009, Microsoft publicly announced the Office Web Apps – new, web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. As a suite, the Office Web Apps are an extension of the Office client applications which will be available via Windows Live, Microsoft Online, and as part of Office Volume Licensing (VL).
Update: Office Web Apps are now available worldwide. And see this recent post that compares Office Web Apps and Google's Cloud Connect. See how to embed an Excel spreadsheet on a web page.
The Web Apps allow users to access their documents from virtually anywhere; and create, edit and collaborate on those documents using only the browser. All Web Apps support IE7 and greater (Windows), Safari 4 and greater (Mac), and Firefox 3.5 and greater (Windows, Mac, Linux).
This brings us to our topic of the day: Excel Web App 2010 . . . which is all about surfacing the power of the Excel spreadsheet through the web. If you take nothing else away from this article, I’d like you to take these points:
Keeping those in mind, I am going to give you a taste of some of the capabilities you will find in the Excel Web App . . . a taste because over the next few weeks, there will be a number of postings on this blog which will go into much more detail.
The three capabilities introduced below are View, Edit, and Co-author.
When you first open an Excel spreadsheet using your browser, the first thing you will notice is the striking visual fidelity with the Excel client:
Excel Web App
Figure 1: View mode in Excel and Excel Web App
As you can see, the content and formatting you have created appears with high fidelity in the browser. This includes numeric data, calculations, formatting, images, conditional formatting, charts1, and even new features available only in Excel 2010 such as Sparklines and Slicers.
As with Excel Services, there are a few features which are either partially supported – we show cached values or remove after alerting the user – and even fewer (IRM, Password protected files, etc.) which prevent the file from loading. Even though these tend to be lesser used features, we continue to work to reduce the list of such features.
And, instead of providing just a static view of the file contents, we have included a number of features, such as sorting, filtering, and find to allow data exploration while in view. And, dependent upon your rights to the file, you may also see “Open in Excel” and “Edit in Browser” buttons which allow you to transition to either the rich client or the browser to actually make changes to the file. Which is a nice introduction to . . .
Editing in the browser has been enabled and currently allows you to do basic spreadsheet operations such as data entry, formatting, and formula entry directly in the browser. I have put the spreadsheet shown above into edit mode:
Figure 2: Edit mode in Excel Web App
Again, the first thing you will notice is the high visual fidelity; which now extends to the Office Fluent UI (aka Ribbon) which appears directly above the spreadsheet. You will also notice that there are not as many ribbon tabs or icons on the existing tables. This is due to the Excel Web App having a subset of the client’s capabilities. Additionally, editing the spreadsheet itself acts as you expect. For example, if I want to total the values of the top sections in the spreadsheet above, I select the cell where I want the sum, and start typing the formula . . . and the expected autofill information appears:
Figure 3: Autofill in Excel Web App
Again, as this blog post is only an introduction, I will not go into further details about the editing capabilities.
I want to call your attention to the lower right corner of Figure 2 above where you see this status bar:
Figure 4: Co-authoring status
This is a feature we think will be a hit with our users – it is the ability for multiple people to be editing the same Excel workbook. All of the capabilities mentioned in the Edit section above, but available to multiple users at the same time.
As with my intro to Excel Services blog post, I likely created more questions than answers. Over the next few weeks there will be a number of posts on this blog which delve much deeper into the capabilities of Excel Web App 2010 and how it enables you to leverage Office 2010 to access documents from virtually anywhere, easily share your work, and to collaboratively work with others.
If you have read this far, congratulations! As a “reward”, here is a link which will allow you to use the Office Web Apps, to include Excel Web App, on SkyDrive: http://skydrive.live.com/acceptpreview.aspx/.documents?aobrp=browse.2 If you do use the technical preview, I ask that you provide feedback about your experience. We have provided a feedback link on the ribbon to allow you to impact our upcoming work.
Notes: 1 3D Charts are rendered as 2D 2 The Technical Preview is open to North American users, and requires a LiveID.
I was so interested in Access that I overlooked Excel. Very nice.
Are there plans for a German preview?
If so, when?
Hi Daniel, the current deployment is still a technical preview. We are working on rolling out to new markets, but will do so over time.
will it be possible with the webapp to use a pivottable and change the pivotfields? In Excel Services Pivot-tables works nice, but it isn't possible to change the structure (move measure from rows to columns...) will this be possible with the webbapp?
Does Excel Web App 2010 (from SharePoint 2010) plan to support running of Excel Add-Ins?
JJDE: Excel Web App and Excel Services behave the same way with respect to PivotTable functionality.
Chirag: In this release, Excel Web App cannot run add-ins built for the Excel client app. Excel programmability is an important area for us and we hope to address questions like these in a future release.
Thank you both for your interest in Excel Web App.
Does Excel Services (Excel Web App) 2010 support What-If Analysis (Analysis Services writeback) in PivotTable?
Sergey: Excel Services does not support performing What-If Analysis (aka writeback) in this version, but the Excel 2010 client does support it. Thanks for your feedback.
Joseph, many thanks for your prompt reply,
Yes, I'm aware of Excel 2010 client support thanks to few blog posts on the topic including an excellent one published in this blog titled Excel 2010 PivotTable What-If Analysis (Writeback).
Because of that I was really hoping to see Office 2010 Wave server side support of AS writeback in PivotTable to natively host Excel input templates to provide opportunities for browser-based multidimensional data collection (such as planning&budgeting) processes over WAN, at least for Intranet scenarios.
Just to confirm,
Is there any chance for Excel Web App 2010 (RTM or any SP timeframe) to support What-If Analysis(AS writeback), say in Edit mode?
Please bring back the direct manipulation of series line points to Excel charts. This depracated feature is a central part of a data interpretation spreadsheet my company uses, in Excel 2002 on XP. We have no upgrade solution for it.
Sergey: Unfortunately, I can't comment on future plans. I will say that typically we don't add new features in service packs.
Doug: An addin has been created that returns the ability to directly manipulate data points in Excel. The following blog article covers the details.
We are exploring the Excel web application on SharePoint 2010 and wondering if the excel web app uses the same underline components as excel service:
1)Does excel web app uses the same webpart (EWA) as excel service?
2)Does it uses the same excel service application and excel web service as the Excel service?
1) Excel Web App is like the Excel client – it is the application which enables people to create, view, and edit entire Excel workbooks. The display model is to show the entire workbook, and to use as much of the browser as possible – thus giving the user as much real-estate possible in which to do their work. Excel Services is more targeted for rich, interactive display and reporting of content stored in Excel. The Excel Web Access (EWA) web part, which ships as part of Excel Services, is designed to support the reporting mission of Excel Services, and displays a subset of a workbook in either static or interactive (sort / filter) view mode. it is also designed to be included in web part pages which contain multiple other web parts. So, as a direct answer to your question, the Excel Web App does not use the EWA.
2) When Excel Web App and Excel Services are co-installed on SharePoint, they will use the same Excel Service Application to ensure the most tightly integrated experience for the user.
I found an interesting problem on my Sharepoint 2010 Box: the excel service is not take the request, and I traced into the event logs and find out that the excel service is configured as http://sp2010:32843/f0ab278c132647489a765efd8b94e203/ExcelService*.asmx, the wild card * is the problem, in the physical path however, I see two .asmx files -- excelservice.asmx and excelserviceExt.asmx, is this a normal case, then how could I configure the web configuration file and/or IIS7 to make it work? What is the difference between this two files?