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Excel Online—what’s new in March 2016

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Excel Online lets you view, edit and share your Excel workbooks from anywhere and it is free as part of Office Online or available for collaborating securely across your organization as part of an Office 365 subscription. We are pleased to announce several updates that help you with some of your most common spreadsheet tasks, including new ways to format data, use hyperlinks in your spreadsheet and explore data using PivotTables.

Read on for details about each one of these new and exciting improvements.

New ways to format data

Data comes in all shapes and forms. Excel Online now offers more number formats to display your data. To display the full list of format options, under the Home tab, click the Number Format drop-down and then select More number formats or right-click in a cell and select Format cells.

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The beauty of using Excel Online is that it looks and feels like the Excel desktop experience you already know and love. Similarly, the Number Format dialog has the same options as the Excel desktop as we always try to keep the same and familiar user experience across all Excel platforms.

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We know that currency formats are very common in spreadsheets, so we have made it easier for you to find the most common currency formats for your data. When you click the $ sign, under the Number Format section of the Home tab, you will find a list of the most common currencies with access to more accounting formats.

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Connect your spreadsheet to more places using hyperlinks

You can now do more with hyperlinks in your spreadsheet when you are using Excel Online. For example, in addition to connecting a URL, you can now hyperlink to a place in the document or an email address. To display the Edit Hyperlink dialog, click Hyperlink under the Insert tab. Alternatively, right-click in the cell and select Hyperlink.

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Summarize and group data using PivotTables

PivotTables (and Pivot Charts) are one of the most productive tools that Excel has to offer because they make it quick and easy to summarize and group your tables of data in any way you like. With this update, you can do more with your PivotTables with settings to change the way you summarize your value fields. If you would like to see the average sales amount instead of total sales amount, then the Value Field Settings is your dialog. You can launch the dialog from the Value menu in the PivotTable setting pane.

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The Value Field Settings dialog consists of two tabs. The SUMMARIZE VALUE BY tab allows you to change the summarized value type.

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The SHOW VALUE AS tab enables you to change the type of calculation used in the PivotTable value fields. For example, instead of its absolute value, you can view the percentage out of the grand total.

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If you don’t like the value name, or if you wish to shorten it, you can rename it in the Custom Name text box.

Faster filtering in PivotTables with search

Just like regular tables in your workbook, you can filter data in your PivotTable for quick analysis. Now, Search dialog includes a Filter dialog to help you easily find the values you want to display. You no longer need to scroll through a list of hundreds or thousands of values to find what you are looking for. Search as you type makes your experience fast and friendly.

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Saving your last viewed workbook

When you save a workbook and then open it with Excel Online later on, we keep you on the same sheet you last viewed, making it faster for you to keep moving with your work.

On-premises availability

On-premises users will also be able to benefit from the improved experience that we’re building for the cloud. All you need to do is have SharePoint deployed and then integrate it with the upcoming release of Office Online Server. In the future, you can expect to see frequent updates coming to on-premises in parallel to being released to the cloud.

Try them out yourself

Try out these new features and see how they can help you do more with Excel from anywhere! Do you have ideas on other features and improvements that you’d like to see in Excel Online? Visit our Excel UserVoice and let us know what you think!

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14 comments
  1. Finally, some much awaited improvements for Excel Online. Please keep it up!

  2. Thank you for the improvements!! Every little bit helps.

    Please add support for password-protected documents and print formatting options next. Printing never seems to work right with margins and print size not corresponding to what you see in Excel for Desktop. Fit on one page would be a fantastic start! The browser options for squeezing everything together don’t seem to work well either, so we need a fix in Excel Online.

  3. Thanks for the new improvements and hard work you are putting into this product to make it even better. I’d love to be able copy a graph I made on Excel (online) and add it to a new sheet (online). You can do this on the desktop version and would love to be able to do this online!

  4. Need option to add data filters and freezing top row, has been missing from the start and is a needed for anyone working seriously with Excel.

  5. Very exciting to see some good Excel improvements. I am eagerly awaiting full collaboration support w/ Desktop app and Excel Online. Also, a very nice enhancement would be Excel online supporting the ability to reference cells from another spreadsheet. those two would be game changers for Excel!

  6. On the Stock Analysis template I used the symbol ANZ.AX which is the symbols for ANZ Bank (ANZ) on the ASX(AX). The neighboring cell says its ‘Not a Nasdaq symbol’. How can I use this template for ASX stocks analysis? Any suggestions?

    • Thank you for your comment!
      For this template we used NASDAQ symbols but you can add your own symbols following the next steps:
      1. Unhide ‘Symbols list’ worksheet.
      2. Add one more row to the table and type ‘ANZ.AX’ in Symbol column and ‘Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ.AX)’ in the name column.
      Now you can go back to ‘My Stock Analysis’ worksheet and you’ll be able to use ANZ.AX.
      You can go to ‘Learn More’ worksheet to learn how we built this template using Power Query.

  7. Even though you’ve released additional features for spread sheets with existing pivot tables, we’re still unable to create pivot tables in Excel online. This functionality is well overdue. When will this be released?

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