Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Five Key Ways to Use Excel Services
First, people viewing workbooks in the browser do not need to have Excel installed on their machines. A
second benefit is a performance benefit. There are many workbooks that are large. It is not uncommon to
see workbooks that are several megabytes in size. When users access these workbooks through e-mail or
file shares, they need to download these large files locally. This can be especially slow if the user is
working remotely. When you’re viewing the workbook in the browser, Excel Services loads the large file, but
only the result ranges designated by the workbook author are presented to the user in the browser. Even
if the entire workbook is accessible, Excel Services lets the user page through sheets sections at a time. In
this way, only a few hundred kilobytes of data need to be transferred across to the local machine,
potentially saving significant time.
This is different from simply saving the workbook as HTML and providing a link to generated web page
(a feature that exists in Excel today). When a workbook is saved as HTML, it is transformed into what
can be considered a snapshot or frozen picture of the workbook. The HTML page shows the values as
they were when the workbook author saved it as HTML. Users viewing the HTML page do not see any
updated values from external data sources, or volatile functions (such as time-based functions). They
also cannot interact with the workbook in any way to change parameters, drill down, or filter values.
On the other hand, when you access a workbook through Excel Services and view it in the browser, it is
live . When you request to see the workbook through the browser, Excel Services loads and calculates the
workbook, which means that any volatile data or functions are updated. The browser-based interface
provided by Excel Services also allows users to interact with the workbook and changes are calculated
by Excel Services with the results updating in the browser.
The following section describes how you can combine this capability with additional Office SharePoint
Server functionality to provide control and management for workbook distribution.
Controlling and Managing Workbook Distribution
Controlling and managing the distribution of workbooks is critical, especially when the workbooks have
key business impact. As discussed, this need is even more important given the various regulations and
compliance requirements being set. Managing and controlling workbooks with Office SharePoint Server
takes advantage of the core capability to calculate a workbook on the server, and display the results in
the browser.
Consider a simple example. A workbook author must distribute monthly sales results broadly and
must ensure that the results people are viewing are always the latest quarter results so that no
confusion occurs. The author also must verify that the people viewing the report only see the results once
they have been approved by the division’s financial analyst. Finally, each quarterly report must be
backed up and retained for future reference.
Office SharePoint Server and Excel Services can provide a solution to this scenario. To begin with, a
Report Library is created that will contain all the quarterly reports. The library is configured for content
approval and an approval workflow that is triggered every time a major version is checked in. In
addition, a retention policy is set up that creates a backup copy of each major version of the workbook in an
official file repository.
Only the workbook author and the analyst that reviews it are set up to have permission to view and edit the
workbook in the Excel client. Everyone else has only the permission to view the workbook in the browser.
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