Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Why Excel Is Great for Developers
Reaction to the new UI was mixed. Some users loved it, others hated it. Several companies even
created add-ins that allowed Excel 2007 users to revert to the old menu system. Clearly, Excel
2007 is easier for beginners, but long-time users may spend a lot of time wondering where to
find their old commands.
The current version, Excel 2010, is part of Microsoft 2010 Office System. Apparently, the
decisionmakers at Microsoft are a bit superstitious. They skipped Version 13, and went straight to Version 14.
Excel 2010 features enhancements in pivot tables, conditional formatting, and image editing. The
product now supports in-cell charts called sparklines and the ability to preview pasting before
committing to it. A new backstage feature is devoted to document-related tasks, such as saving
and printing. In addition, end users can now customize the Ribbon. And finally, dozens of new
worksheet functions are available — mostly highly specialized functions that replace old functions
that had some accuracy problems.
Current Competition
So there you have it: More than three decades of spreadsheet history condensed into a few
pages. It has been an interesting ride, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have been involved with
spreadsheets the entire time.
Things have changed. Microsoft not only dominates the spreadsheet market, it virtually owns it.
What little competition exists is primarily in the form of free open-source products, such as
OpenOffice and StarOffice. Increasingly, you hear about Web-based spreadsheets, such as
Google Spreadsheets (see Figure 1-5). Microsoft has responded, and now has its own Web-based
version of Excel and other Office 2010 applications.
In the final analysis, Microsoft’s biggest competitor is probably itself. Users tend to settle on a
particular version of Excel, and if things are working well, they have very little motivation to
upgrade. Convincing users to upgrade to a new version that provides only a few advantages is
one of Microsoft’s biggest challenges.
Why Excel Is Great for Developer s
Excel is a highly programmable product, and it’s easily the best choice for developing
spreadsheet-based applications.
 
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