After a really long wait finally I have used … Excel 2007 (drum roll) and contrary to what many people think, I have found Excel 2007 to be a very well designed piece of software. Of course there are various issues with it and I am sure folks at MS are working on them so that next versions of MS Office are much more pleasant and simpler to use.
I wanted to share 10 wow factors in Excel 2007 that may convince you to try it.
1. The interface is gorgeous and easy on eyes
The Excel 2007 interface is very well polished and looks neat. It is easy on eyes with simple colors. All the file related activities can be accessed from office button on the top-left corner, while ribbon UI provides access to all excel features.
2. When you right click on a cell it shows formatting options as well
Usually when you right click on a cell (or a range of cells) it is to format them. Now you can do that even faster. When you right click excel 2007 shows the standard formatting options as well.
3. Status bar now shows average and count as well
Remember how you can select a bunch of cells in excel 2003 and earlier and findout out their sum (or average or count) quickly by looking at status bar ? Well, now you can find out average, count and sum from status bar (actually you can add more options, just right click on status bar and choose the statistics you want)
4. Improved conditional formatting with micro charts
One of the significant new features of Excel 2007 is improved conditional formatting. It has all the goodness of excel 2003’s conditional formatting and on top added new features like incell micro charts. They are very easy to use.
5. You can format tables in a jiffy
One of the most common formatting tasks is table formatting. Excel 2007 totally automated it with some gorgeous table formats. You can customized these styles very easily.
6. They have a Remove Duplicates button !!!
That is right, finally a remove duplicates button. Select the data, press this button and mention whether you want to overwrite or paste in another place and that is all. Now, if only they could add other common data clean up tasks as buttons…
7. The default chart formatting is way better than that of Excel 2003
The default charts look much much better than those generated in earlier versions of Excel. What more, they have disabled annoyances like font-scaling by default. 🙂
8. Better and Visually Appealing Color Scheme
The default color scheme is very good and provides excellent contrast when used in charts and tables. What more, the colors are no longer limited to 56 but you can add your own colors with much ease.
9. Ribbon is not that difficult to use
The Ribbon UI has been criticized by lot of people. But it is not really that difficult to use and get used to. Although you would need 2-3 clicks for activities that previously took 1-2 clicks. It would have been excellent if MS had provided an option to switch to classic menu navigation.
10. Despite the new look most of the dialogs are same
Even though Excel 2007 may seem like a huge leap from Excel 2003, the underlying dialog boxes, customization options are all same as that of Excel 2003. For eg. you can see that Ctrl + 1 on a cell produces the above “format cells” dialog box which is almost same what you get in 2003 version of excel.
Another thing is all the excel 2003 keyboard shortcuts work in excel 2007, so power users who have learned the shortcuts over a period need not worry about productivity loss.
All in all, I found Excel 2007 pretty ok except for few glitches. I am planning to install (not upgrade) it on my personal computer as well so that I can experiment and learn more.
What is your take on Excel 2007 ? What are the features that wowed you?
PS: This review is based on my first look at the Excel 2007 and not an exhaustive review. I haven’t tested features like pivot tables, VBA, new formulas etc. Stay tuned for more excel 2007 articles in the coming weeks.