Microsoft updates Excel Web App with new features

While we wait for Microsoft to add the promised real time co-authoring features to its free Office Web Apps, it has been busy adding new functions to the Excel Web App. This week, Microsoft revealed several new features that it had added to the free browser-based spreadsheet program.

In a post on the Office blog, Microsoft said the most requested features from users was adding freeze frames to the Excel Web App and now it has the ability to view workbooks that have freeze panes. Microsoft states, "That means you can see all of those column headings at the top of your sheet all the time, as opposed to scrolling up and down as you've done in the past."

The new version also adds a way to sort data that's not in a table by clicking on the Sort commands on the Home ribbon, along with right clicking on sheet tabs to hide or unhide them. The Excel Web App adds support for Data Validation and Autocomplete in this update. Microsoft says:

Data Validation works just as you'd expect (like Excel) in that it provides a list of valid values a user can enter into a cell. And, we took Autocomplete a step further than desktop Excel - not only does it complete what you're typing, but if you start typing and there's more than one possible match, we'll show you the whole list that you can pick from!

Finally, the app now allows users to clear any formatting or content that's put into to a cell or range. Microsoft says we can expect a lot of other new features to be added to Excel Web App in the coming months.

Source: Office blog | Image via Microsoft

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Fair play to them I get a LOT of use out of Excel & Word web apps, for a free service it is an amazing product. There are very very few features I now find aren't there, they suit my needs down to the ground.

Mr. Dee said,
If they are continuing like this, how really needs to buy Office?

Not many people unless you have very specific needs (automation, legacy systems, macros, etc) or depend on that one feature that's only available in the desktop client

Mr. Dee said,
If they are continuing like this, how really needs to buy Office?

I'm sure there's a large number of things the web apps still can't do and probably never really will, there's also the need for a native client so you can work without the internet etc.

Also if you do buy office you get other apps that they don't have web apps for, plus things like sharepoint and so on. So it really depends on ones needs.

Mr. Dee said,
If they are continuing like this, how really needs to buy Office?

Me. I'm constantly connecting to external data sources, writing VBA, and using pivot tables. Ho hum.