10 awesome new features in Excel 2013

The number-crunching workhorse in the Office suite is getting new tools to help newbies and power users alike.

By Helen Bradley, PC World |  Enterprise Software, Excel

6. Quickly analyze your data

The new Quick Analysis tool can help both new and experienced users find options for working with selected data. To use it, select the data to analyze, and the Quick Analysis icon  appears in the bottom-right corner of the selected data.

Click that icon, and a dialog appears showing a range of tools for analyzing the data, such as Formatting, Charts, Totals, Tables and Sparklines. Click any option, and a series of selectable choices appear; preview those choices by mousing over them. Next, click the option you like to apply it to your data. This feature speeds up the process of formatting, charting and writing formulas.

7. Answer questions instantly with Pivot Tables

Pivot Tables are a powerful tool for analyzing and answering questions about  your data, but they're not easy for new users to create. For the first time, though, if you can click a mouse key, then you can create a meaningful Pivot Table, thanks to the new Recommended PivotTables. To use it, select your data, including headings, and choose Insert, Recommended PivotTables. A dialog appears showing a series of PivotTables with explanations of what they show. All you need do is to select the table that shows what you want to see, click ok, and the PivotTable is automatically drawn for you.

8. Make quick reports with Power View

The Power View add-in, available for previous versions of Excel, is now integrated inside Excel 2013. Power View is typically used for analyzing large quantities of data brought in from external data sources--just  the sort of tool that big business might use.

Incorporated within Excel, it's now  accessible to anyone. To see it at work, select your data and choose Insert, Power View. The first time you use it, the feature installs automatically. Then a Power View sheet will be added to your workbook, and the analysis report will be created.

You can add a title and then filter the data and organize it to display the way you like. The Power View tab on the Ribbon toolbar displays report format options, such as Theme and text formats, as well View options for Field List and Filters Area panels that you can use to filter and sort your data.

9. Share files and work with other people

Working with other people on shared files in real time is a double-edged sword. While it's useful to do this, you will face problems when two people try to change the same item at the same time. In Excel 2013 you can share and work collaboratively on files with others via SkyDrive using the Excel WebApp, and multiple people can work on the same file at the same time. However, you cannot open a worksheet from SkyDrive in Excel 2013 on your local machine if someone else is currently working in the same worksheet. This protects the worksheet against conflicting changes.

Instead, if one person is editing an Excel file that's stored online, others with permission can view and download it, but they cannot change the original, which is locked until the person working with it is finished.

Like other applications in the Office 2013 suite, Excel 2013 saves files by default to the cloud. You can open, view, and edit Excel files  online in a browser using the Excel WebApp without having Excel 2013 on the local hard drive.


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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