Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Chapter 1: Excel 2010: Where It Came From
In early 1997, Microsoft released Office 97, which included Excel 97. Excel 97 is also known as
Excel 8. This version included dozens of general enhancements plus a completely new interface
for developing VBA-based applications. In addition, the product offered a new way of developing
custom dialog boxes (called UserForms rather than dialog sheets). Microsoft tried to make Excel
97 compatible with previous versions, but the compatibility was far from perfect. Many
applications that were developed using Excel 5 or Excel 95 required some tweaking before they would
work with Excel 97 or later versions.
I discuss compatibility issues in Chapter 26.
Excel 2000 was released in early 1999 and was also sold as part of Office 2000. The
enhancements in Excel 2000 dealt primarily with Internet capabilities, although a few significant changes
were apparent in the area of programming.
Excel 2002 (sometimes known as Excel XP) hit the market in mid-2001. Like its predecessor, it
didn’t offer many significant new features. Rather, it incorporated a number of minor new
features and several refinements of existing features. Perhaps the most compelling new feature was
the ability to repair damaged files and save your work when Excel crashed.
Excel 2003 (released in fall 2003) was perhaps the most disappointing upgrade ever. This
version had very few new features. Microsoft touted the ability to import and export eXtensible
Markup Language (XML) files and map the data to specific cells in a worksheet — but very few
users actually needed such a feature. In addition, Microsoft introduced some “rights
management” features that let you place restrictions on various parts of a workbook (for example, allow
only certain users to view a particular worksheet). In addition, Excel 2003 had a new Help system
(which put the Help contents in the task pane) and a new “research” feature that lets you look up
a variety of information in the task pane. (Some of these required a fee-based account.)
For some reason, Microsoft chose to offer two sub-versions of Excel 2003. The XML and
rights management features are available only in the stand-alone version of Excel and
in the version of Excel that’s included with the Professional version of Office 2003.
Because of this, Excel developers may now need to deal with compatibility issues
within a particular version!
A new user interface
Excel 2007 (Version 12) became available in late 2006 and was part of the Microsoft 2007 Office
System. In terms of user interface, this upgrade was clearly the most significant ever. A new
Ribbon UI replaced menus and toolbars. In addition, the Excel 2007 grid size is 1,000 times larger
than in previous versions, and the product uses a new open XML file format. Other improvements
include improved tables, conditional formatting enhancements, major cosmetic enhancements
for charts, and document themes.
 
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