Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Understanding Excel Versions
Understanding Excel Versions
If you’re reading this topic, you should be using Excel 2010 — which is part of Microsoft Office
2010, released in 2010.
I’ve found that many users don’t even know which version of Excel they use. The easiest way to
find out is to press F1, which brings up the Help window. The Help window identifies the version
of Excel — but you might have to look for it. If the version number isn’t displayed in the main
Help window, just search for version, and you’ll find it. A more surefire method for Excel 2010 is
to choose File
Help. Then you’ll see complete details about the Excel version.
So, who cares which version of Excel you use? Most of the time, nobody cares. As long as your
version does what you want it to do, the version makes no difference. But if you share your
workbooks with other users, the version may be very important.
Suppose that you use Excel 2010 and you give a coworker who uses Excel 2002 a copy of a
workbook. If you happened to use a feature that was introduced in Excel 2003, Excel 2007, or
Excel 2010, your coworker may not be able to work with your file in the way you intended. In
fact, if you saved the file in one of the newer Excel file formats, she may not even be able to open
the file.
Microsoft provides the free add-on Office Compatibility Pack. This download gives
previous versions of Office support for the new Office file formats introduced in Office
2007. Therefore, you can share Excel 2007 and Excel 2010 files with users of Excel
2000, Excel 2002, and Excel 2003. Note, however, that this add-on doesn’t endow
the older versions with any new features. It just allows the software to open and save
the files.
For the record, the following table shows the major version numbers of Excel.
Version
Released
Comments
1
1985
The first version of Excel was for the Apple Macintosh.
2
1987
The first Windows version was labeled 2 to correspond to the
Macintosh version. Because Windows was not widely used, this version
included a runtime version of Windows.
3
1990
This version included toolbars, drawing capabilities, outlining, add-in
support, 3D charts, and many more new features.
4
1992
The first “popular” version of Excel. It included quite a few usability
features.
5
1993
Excel 5, a major upgrade, included multisheet workbooks and support
for VBA.
7*
1995
This version, known as Excel 95, was the first major 32-bit version of
Excel. Feature-wise, it was similar to Excel 5.
continued
 
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