What's new in Excel 2013
Part three of a seven-part series of blogs

Excel 2013 contains radical changes to charts, pivot tables and the user interface. This review explains all the new features of Excel 2013

  1. Excel 2013 - the Wise Owl Review!
  2. First Impressions - the Excel 2013 Look-and-Feel
  3. Excel 2013 changes: working with files (this blog)
  4. Excel 2013 changes: pivot tables and data analysis
  5. Excel 2013 - Changes to Charts
  6. What's new in Excel 2013 - general changes
  7. Excel 2013 - summary and recommendations

Posted by Andy Brown on 30 January 2013

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Excel 2013 changes: working with files

There are lots of changes to the way that you can open, share and export files.  Let's start with what the file dialog boxes look like.

Opening files

When you choose to open a file, you see the following:

Opening an Excel workbook

A beautifully designed "dialog box" - it could hardly be easier to use.

You can right-click on a file to pin it to the list of recent workbooks, or to remove it.

Exploring folders

When you click on Computer, you see recent locations that you've used - again, a brilliant idea and implementation:

Browsing your computer

You can click on Browse to find the folder you want, but I suspect that after a while you'll nearly always be able to choose it from your list of recently used locations.



Microsoft have gone cloudy!  You can save files to the cloud using SkyDrive (more on this below), although first you have to sign in to your Microsoft account:

SkyDrive dialog box

When you click on SkyDrive, this is what you first see.


When you sign on with your Microsoft account (if you've got a Windows Live one, it's the same), you can create files and folders:

Folders and files in SkyDrive

Here I've created 3 files.

You can also use web-based cut-down versions of Excel, Word and PowerPoint to edit Office documents online.

Opening an Excel workbook

You can open any Excel workbook either into your desktop copy of Excel, or using the Excel web app.


All in all, it's a seamless way to save files directly from MS Office into the cloud.

I have to say I'm impressed with SkyDrive.  It shows up as a normal folder in Windows Explorer, and you can choose exactly which files and folders to synchronise.  For the first time I can see the benefit of cloud computing!

Saving to social networks

You can save any Excel workbook to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc:

Saving to social network

Four services are provided by default.


Sharing workbooks

You now have copious amounts of ways to share documents, including the ability to invite people to work with it:

Sharing a workbook

You can email workbooks out in various ways too ...


Exporting workbooks

When you export a workbook, another very well-designed "dialog box" (perhaps I should stop using this term?) makes everything very easy:

Exporting Excel workbook

I only mention this because you can also import a PDF document into Word and then save it as a Word document!

Choosing what will be browsable online

You can embed Excel workbooks on webpages or share them online.  Browser view options allow you to specify which worksheets (or even which named ranges) are viewable and/or editable online:

Browser view options dialog box

Browser view options work in a similar way to the way protection works.


I hope I've given an impression of how much work Microsoft have put into making working with files easy.  They have invested a huge amount of time in SkyDrive!

One last statistic: my SkyDrive folder shows up as having 25GB of space.  That's a serious bit of cloud.

Time now to look at changes made to working with data and pivot tables.

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