Excel Web App – What’s now available in a browser near you?

This blog post is brought to you by Dan Battagin, Group Program Manager for the Excel Web App team.

Greetings – I hope everyone’s been enjoying the content on the blog over the last few releases, and that everyone’s excited to see what’s coming in the next version of Office, Excel, and the Excel Web App. Jane mentioned in her last post how we went about deciding what to invest in, and today I’ll share with you some of the broad investment areas for the browser-based versions of Excel.  Of course, all I expect that to do is whet your appetite – so in the coming months the team and I will take you through the details of some of the key changes/additions we’ve made.

As always – we’d love to get your feedback here or directly through the public beta that’s available on SkyDrive or Office365. So without further ado, let’s see what’s on the topic list!

Performance. As with all of the Office Web Apps, on the Excel Web App team we are always talking about performance. We’re always looking for ways to squeeze more performance out of the browser and bring the experience closer to the one you’re used to with Excel itself. We’ve made some great strides this time that we’ll tell you about, as well as some places where we will continue to improve the live service as you use it.

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Features. Over the last couple of years, we’ve continued to add new features to Excel Web App on a regular basis – embedding and mash-ups, context menus, better sharing, printing, and more – but we’ve got a lot more that we waited until now to release. We’ll talk through some of the awesomeness that is now available in the coming posts – including better charting, new types of slicers, QueryTable support, PivotTable editing, and much more.

A New Look and Feel (literally). Each release of Excel always brings an update to the visuals, and this release is no different. We’ve embraced a new, more minimalist design while maintaining the familiarity that people have come to rely on from version to version. The result is a crisp, clean, modern look that’s sure to catch your eye. We’ve also taken the opportunity to optimize the look and interaction model on different devices – for instance, you’ll get a more spacious (finger friendly) experience on tablet devices.

2012-07 Excel Web App Overview - New Look

Excel Everywhere. There’s data all over the web, so now Excel is all over the web too! We’ve made improvements to embedding and are introducing two new ways to experience Excel in context of your everyday surfing:

Excel Button – Officially the Excel Interactive View, the Excel Button is similar to the Facebook Like button – when you see and click on an Excel Button, data on the page will automatically be presented in an interactive view complete with custom filters and charts, bringing the power of Excel to the Web. Learn more on ExcelMashup.com.

2012-07 Excel Web App Overview - Excel Button

Surveys – Ever wanted to collect data from a group of people directly into a spreadsheet? Now you can, easily, without them having to worry about where to enter the data because they are presented with a clean, simple, survey.

2012-07 Excel Web App Overview - Survey

Spreadsheet Compliance and Control. In June 2011 we acquired Prodiance, a leading spreadsheet compliance and control company. Since then, we’ve worked to integrate the functionality into Excel, Access, and SharePoint and we’re extremely excited by the results. We’ll walk you through the components in a series of posts, and I think you’ll be excited as well.

2012-07 Excel Web App Overview - Spreadsheet Compare

More, Better APIs for Developers. Extensibility has always been a key aspect of Excel, and this release we’ve continued to invest in our APIs in ways that we think will bring Excel Web App into the powerhouse of today’s web developers. We’ve added support for Apps for Office – HTML5 and JavaScript based solutions that can be hosted as floating objects or task panes inside Excel Web App, as well as made significant improvements to our embedding, REST, and JavaScript APIs, enabling new mash-up scenarios that were never possible in the past, even in desktop Excel.

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Whew, there’s a lot to cover in the next few months – but we’re excited about it and will do our best to share that excitement through the blog. As I mentioned before, we want to hear what you think too – so please, leave your comments here or head on over to SkyDrive and opt in to the Web Apps Preview so you can give us your feedback there!