Excel Name List Format For Essay

In Excel page setup options can help you make your worksheet look more professional. Learn all about using the page setup feature in Excel here.


By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Set page margins
  • Change page orientation and paper size
  • Create headers and footers
  • Create sheet settings

Setting page margins

The page margins define where on the page Excel will print the worksheet. By default, the top and bottom margins are set at 1 inch in Excel 2003, while the left and right margins are set at .75 inch. Margin settings can be changed to whatever you want. Different margins can be defined for each worksheet in the workbook.

To change the margins in the Page Setup dialog box:

  • Select the correct worksheet.
  • Choose File Page Setup from the menu bar.

  • Select the Margins tab.

  • Use the spin box controls to define the settings for each page margin—top, bottom, left, right, header, and footer.
  • Click the OK button to change the margin settings.

Changing the page orientation and paper size

The Page tab of the Page Setup dialog box lets you change page orientation (portrait or landscape) or paper size (letter size or legal size). The default paper size in Excel 2003 is 8.5 x 11 inches, with a portrait orientation (prints up and down on the long side of the page). A landscape orientation, on the other hand, prints up and down on the short side of the page.

To change page orientation:

  • Select the correct worksheet.
  • Choose File Page Setup from the menu bar.
  • Click the Page tab.

  • Choose an orientation (portrait or landscape) for the worksheet.
  • Select a paper size from the list of available paper size options that appear in the list box.
  • Click on the paper size.
  • Click OK to accept the page settings.

The Page tab of the Page Setup dialog box lets you shrink the spreadsheet data so it fits on a specified number of pages when you print. Click the Fit to: option button, and enter the desired number of pages wide and pages tall.

The Page tab of the Page Setup dialog box lets you define the resolution of the print job. Print quality is measured in dpi, or dots per inch. High dpi provides a better print quality.

Creating headers and footers

Headers and footers can be added to any worksheet, although they are not required. A header is any information that appear at the top of each page, while a footer prints at the bottom of the page. If you want a header or footer inserted onto a page, you will have to define them. Excel 2003 defaults to no header and no footer.

To create a header:

  • Choose File Page Setup from the menu bar.
  • Select the Header/Footer tab in the Page Setup dialog box.

  • Click the Header drop-down list, and select one of the predefined headers:


    Click the Custom Header button to create your own header. Follow the instructions in the Header dialog box to make your entry.

  • Click OK to return to the Page Setup dialog box.

To create a footer:

  • Choose File Page Setup from the menu bar.
  • Select the Header/Footer tab in the Page Setup dialog box.
  • Click the Footer drop-down list, and select one of the predefined footers.


    Click the Custom Footer button to create your own footer. Follow the instructions in the Footer dialog box to make your entry.

You can insert placeholder buttons into both the header and footer to format text and insert page numbers, dates, times, file names, and tab names. Excel replaces these placeholders with the information each represents when the worksheet is printed. Follow the instructions in the Header and Footer dialog boxes.

Creating sheet settings

The Sheet tab in the Page Setup dialog box provides additional print options that you may want to add to your worksheet.

Print area

By default, Excel prints from the A1 to the last occupied cell in a worksheet. You can specify a different range of cells to print.

Print titles

Prints column and row labels on each page of the printout. Specify these rows or columns in the Rows to Repeat at Top and Columns to Repeat at Left textboxes.

Print - gridlines

This determines whether gridlines are printed. However, turning off gridlines does not affect their appearance in Normal View.

Print - black and white

If you used colors in your worksheet but don't want to waste the ink in your color printer, use black and white.

Print - draft quality

Choose draft quality to print the worksheet without gridlines or graphics.

Print - row and column headings

Click this option to include row numbers and columns letters in your printed document.

Page order

This determines the order in which worksheets are printed.


  • Open your Monthly Budget file.
  • Change the right and left margins to .5".
  • Verify that the top and bottom margins are 1".
  • Change the page orientation to landscape, and verify that the page size is 8.5" x 11".
  • Create a custom footer with your name or GCF user name in the left section and the date in the right section.
  • Save and close the document.

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet developed by Microsoft for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. It features calculation, graphing tools, pivot tables, and a macro programming language called Visual Basic for Applications. It has been a very widely applied spreadsheet for these platforms, especially since version 5 in 1993, and it has replaced Lotus 1-2-3 as the industry standard for spreadsheets. Excel forms part of Microsoft Office.


Basic operation

Main article: Spreadsheet

Microsoft Excel has the basic features of all spreadsheets,[4] using a grid of cells arranged in numbered rows and letter-named columns to organize data manipulations like arithmetic operations. It has a battery of supplied functions to answer statistical, engineering and financial needs. In addition, it can display data as line graphs, histograms and charts, and with a very limited three-dimensional graphical display. It allows sectioning of data to view its dependencies on various factors for different perspectives (using pivot tables and the scenario manager).[5] It has a programming aspect, Visual Basic for Applications, allowing the user to employ a wide variety of numerical methods, for example, for solving differential equations of mathematical physics,[6][7] and then reporting the results back to the spreadsheet. It also has a variety of interactive features allowing user interfaces that can completely hide the spreadsheet from the user, so the spreadsheet presents itself as a so-called application, or decision support system (DSS), via a custom-designed user interface, for example, a stock analyzer,[8] or in general, as a design tool that asks the user questions and provides answers and reports.[9][10][11] In a more elaborate realization, an Excel application can automatically poll external databases and measuring instruments using an update schedule,[12] analyze the results, make a Word report or PowerPoint slide show, and e-mail these presentations on a regular basis to a list of participants. Excel was not designed to be used as a database.[13]

Microsoft allows for a number of optional command-line switches to control the manner in which Excel starts.[14]

Macro programming

VBA programming

Main article: Visual Basic for Applications

The Windows version of Excel supports programming through Microsoft's Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), which is a dialect of Visual Basic. Programming with VBA allows spreadsheet manipulation that is awkward or impossible with standard spreadsheet techniques. Programmers may write code directly using the Visual Basic Editor (VBE), which includes a window for writing code, debugging code, and code module organization environment. The user can implement numerical methods as well as automating tasks such as formatting or data organization in VBA[15] and guide the calculation using any desired intermediate results reported back to the spreadsheet.

VBA was removed from Mac Excel 2008, as the developers did not believe that a timely release would allow porting the VBA engine natively to Mac OS X. VBA was restored in the next version, Mac Excel 2011,[16] although the build lacks support for ActiveX objects, impacting some high level developer tools.[17]

A common and easy way to generate VBA code is by using the Macro Recorder.[18] The Macro Recorder records actions of the user and generates VBA code in the form of a macro. These actions can then be repeated automatically by running the macro. The macros can also be linked to different trigger types like keyboard shortcuts,[19] a command button or a graphic. The actions in the macro can be executed from these trigger types or from the generic toolbar options. The VBA code of the macro can also be edited in the VBE. Certain features such as loop functions and screen prompt by their own properties, and some graphical display items, cannot be recorded but must be entered into the VBA module directly by the programmer. Advanced users can employ user prompts to create an interactive program, or react to events such as sheets being loaded or changed.

Macro Recorded code may not be compatible with Excel versions. Some code that is used in Excel 2010 cannot be used in Excel 2003. Making a Macro that changes the cell colours and making changes to other aspects of cells may not be backward compatible.

VBA code interacts with the spreadsheet through the Excel Object Model,[20] a vocabulary identifying spreadsheet objects, and a set of supplied functions or methods that enable reading and writing to the spreadsheet and interaction with its users (for example, through custom toolbars or command bars and message boxes). User-created VBA subroutines execute these actions and operate like macros generated using the macro recorder, but are more flexible and efficient.


From its first version Excel supported end user programming of macros (automation of repetitive tasks) and user defined functions (extension of Excel's built-in function library). In early versions of Excel these programs were written in a macro language whose statements had formula syntax and resided in the cells of special purpose macro sheets (stored with file extension .XLM in Windows.) XLM was the default macro language for Excel through Excel 4.0.[21] Beginning with version 5.0 Excel recorded macros in VBA by default but with version 5.0 XLM recording was still allowed as an option. After version 5.0 that option was discontinued. All versions of Excel, including Excel 2010 are capable of running an XLM macro, though Microsoft discourages their use.[22]


Excel supports charts, graphs, or histograms generated from specified groups of cells. The generated graphic component can either be embedded within the current sheet, or added as a separate object.

These displays are dynamically updated if the content of cells change. For example, suppose that the important design requirements are displayed visually; then, in response to a user's change in trial values for parameters, the curves describing the design change shape, and their points of intersection shift, assisting the selection of the best design.

Data storage and communication

Number of rows and columns

Versions of Excel up to 7.0 had a limitation in the size of their data sets of 16K (214 = 7004163840000000000♠16384) rows. Versions 8.0 through 11.0 could handle 64K (216 = 7004655360000000000♠65536) rows and 256 columns (28 as label 'IV'). Version 12.0 can handle 1M (220 = 7006104857600000000♠1048576) rows, and 7004163840000000000♠16384 (214 as label 'XFD') columns.[23]

File formats

Microsoft Excel up until 2007 version used a proprietary binary file format called Excel Binary File Format (.XLS) as its primary format.[25] Excel 2007 uses Office Open XML as its primary file format, an XML-based format that followed after a previous XML-based format called "XML Spreadsheet" ("XMLSS"), first introduced in Excel 2002.[26]

Although supporting and encouraging the use of new XML-based formats as replacements, Excel 2007 remained backwards-compatible with the traditional, binary formats. In addition, most versions of Microsoft Excel can read CSV, DBF, SYLK, DIF, and other legacy formats. Support for some older file formats was removed in Excel 2007.[27] The file formats were mainly from DOS-based programs.


OpenOffice.org has created documentation of the Excel format.[28] Since then Microsoft made the Excel binary format specification available to freely download.[29]

XML Spreadsheet

Main article: Microsoft Office XML formats

The XML Spreadsheet format introduced in Excel 2002[26] is a simple, XML based format missing some more advanced features like storage of VBA macros. Though the intended file extension for this format is .xml, the program also correctly handles XML files with .xls extension. This feature is widely used by third-party applications (e.g. MySQL Query Browser) to offer "export to Excel" capabilities without implementing binary file format. The following example will be correctly opened by Excel if saved either as Book1.xml or Book1.xls:

<?xml version="1.0"?><Workbookxmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:spreadsheet"xmlns:o="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office"xmlns:x="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:excel"xmlns:ss="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:spreadsheet"xmlns:html="http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40"><Worksheetss:Name="Sheet1"><Tabless:ExpandedColumnCount="2"ss:ExpandedRowCount="2"x:FullColumns="1"x:FullRows="1"><Row><Cell><Datass:Type="String">Name</Data></Cell><Cell><Datass:Type="String">Example</Data></Cell></Row><Row><Cell><Datass:Type="String">Value</Data></Cell><Cell><Datass:Type="Number">123</Data></Cell></Row></Table></Worksheet></Workbook>

Current file extensions

Main article: Office Open XML

Microsoft Excel 2007, along with the other products in the Microsoft Office 2007 suite, introduced new file formats. The first of these (.xlsx) is defined in the Office Open XML (OOXML) specification.

Excel WorkbookThe default Excel 2007 and later workbook format. In reality a ZIP compressed archive with a directory structure of XML text documents. Functions as the primary replacement for the former binary .xls format, although it does not support Excel macros for security reasons.
Excel Macro-enabled WorkbookAs Excel Workbook, but with macro support.
Excel Binary WorkbookAs Excel Macro-enabled Workbook, but storing information in binary form rather than XML documents for opening and saving documents more quickly and efficiently. Intended especially for very large documents with tens of thousands of rows, and/or several hundreds of columns.
Excel Macro-enabled TemplateA template document that forms a basis for actual workbooks, with macro support. The replacement for the old .xlt format.
Excel Add-inExcel add-in to add extra functionality and tools. Inherent macro support because of the file purpose.

Old file extensions

SpreadsheetMain spreadsheet format which holds data in worksheets, charts, and macros
Add-in (VBA)Adds custom functionality; written in VBA
ToolbarThe file extension where Microsoft Excel custom toolbar settings are stored.
ChartA chart created with data from a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that only saves the chart. To save the chart and spreadsheet save as .XLS. XLC is not supported in Excel 2007 or in any newer versions of Excel.
DialogUsed in older versions of Excel.
ArchiveA backup of an Excel Spreadsheet
Add-in (DLL)Adds custom functionality; written in C++/C, Visual Basic, Fortran, etc. and compiled in to a special dynamic-link library
MacroA macro is created by the user or pre-installed with Excel.
TemplateA pre-formatted spreadsheet created by the user or by Microsoft Excel.
ModuleA module is written in VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) for Microsoft Excel
LibraryCode written in VBA may access functions in a DLL, typically this is used to access the Windows API
WorkspaceArrangement of the windows of multiple Workbooks

Using other Windows applications

Windows applications such as Microsoft Access and Microsoft Word, as well as Excel can communicate with each other and use each other's capabilities. The most common are Dynamic Data Exchange: although strongly deprecated by Microsoft, this is a common method to send data between applications running on Windows, with official MS publications referring to it as "the protocol from hell".[30] As the name suggests, it allows applications to supply data to others for calculation and display. It is very common in financial markets, being used to connect to important financial data services such as Bloomberg and Reuters.

OLE Object Linking and Embedding: allows a Windows application to control another to enable it to format or calculate data. This may take on the form of "embedding" where an application uses another to handle a task that it is more suited to, for example a PowerPoint presentation may be embedded in an Excel spreadsheet or vice versa.[31][32][33][34]

Using external data

Excel users can access external data sources via Microsoft Office features such as (for example) connections built with the Office Data Connection file format. Excel files themselves may be updated using a Microsoft supplied ODBC driver.

Excel can accept data in real time through several programming interfaces, which allow it to communicate with many data sources such as Bloomberg and Reuters (through addins such as Power Plus Pro).

  • DDE : "Dynamic Data Exchange" uses the message passing mechanism in Windows to allow data to flow between Excel and other applications. Although it is easy for users to create such links, programming such links reliably is so difficult that Microsoft, the creators of the system, officially refer to it as "the protocol from hell".[30] In spite of its many issues DDE remains the most common way for data to reach traders in financial markets.
  • Network DDE Extended the protocol to allow spreadsheets on different computers to exchange data. Starting with Windows Vista, Microsoft no longer supports the facility.[35]
  • Real Time Data : RTD although in many ways technically superior to DDE, has been slow to gain acceptance, since it requires non-trivial programming skills, and when first released was neither adequately documented nor supported by the major data vendors.[36][37]

Alternatively, Microsoft Query provides ODBC-based browsing within Microsoft Excel.[38][39][40]

Export and migration of spreadsheets

Programmers have produced APIs to open Excel spreadsheets in a variety of applications and environments other than Microsoft Excel. These include opening Excel documents on the web using either ActiveX controls, or plugins like the Adobe Flash Player. The Apache POIopensource project provides Java libraries for reading and writing Excel spreadsheet files. ExcelPackage is another open-source project that provides server-side generation of Microsoft Excel 2007 spreadsheets. PHPExcel is a PHP library that converts Excel5, Excel 2003, and Excel 2007 formats into objects for reading and writing within a web application. Excel Services is a current .NET developer tool that can enhance Excel's capabilities. Excel spreadsheets can be accessed from Python with xlrd and openpyxl. js-xlsx and js-xls can open Excel spreadsheets from JS.

Password protection

Main article: Microsoft Office password protection

Microsoft Excel protection offers several types of passwords:

  • Password to open a document [41]
  • Password to modify a document [42]
  • Password to unprotect worksheet
  • Password to protect workbook
  • Password to protect the sharing workbook [43]

All passwords except password to open a document can be removed instantly regardless of Microsoft Excel version used to create the document. These types of passwords are used primarily for shared work on a document. Such password-protected documents are not encrypted, and a data sources from a set password is saved in a document’s header. Password to protect workbook is an exception – when it is set, a document is encrypted with the standard password “VelvetSweatshop”, but since it is known to public, it actually does not add any extra protection to the document. The only type of password that can prevent a trespasser from gaining access to a document is password to open a document. The cryptographic strength of this kind of protection depends strongly on the Microsoft Excel version that was used to create the document.

In Microsoft Excel 95 and earlier versions, password to open is converted to a 16-bit key that can be instantly cracked. In Excel 97/2000 the password is converted to a 40-bit key, which can also be cracked very quickly using modern equipment. As regards services which use rainbow tables (e.g. Password-Find), it takes up to several seconds to remove protection. In addition, password-cracking programs can brute-force attack passwords at a rate of hundreds of thousands of passwords a second, which not only lets them decrypt a document, but also find the original password.

In Excel 2003/XP the encryption is slightly better – a user can choose any encryption algorithm that is available in the system (see Cryptographic Service Provider). Due to the CSP, an Excel file can't be decrypted, and thus the password to open can't be removed, though the brute-force attack speed remains quite high. Nevertheless, the older Excel 97/2000 algorithm is set by the default.[44] Therefore, users who did not changed the default settings lack reliable protection of their documents.

The situation changed fundamentally in Excel 2007, where the modern AES algorithm with a key of 128 bits started being used for decryption, and a 50,000-fold use of the hash function SHA1 reduced the speed of brute-force attacks down to hundreds of passwords per second. In Excel 2010, the strength of the protection by the default was increased two times due to the use of a 100,000-fold SHA1 to convert a password to a key.

Microsoft Excel Viewer

Microsoft Excel Viewer is a freeware program for viewing and printing spreadsheet documents created by Excel.[45] Excel Viewer is similar to Microsoft Word Viewer in functionality. (There is not a current version for the Mac.) Excel Viewer is available for Microsoft Windows and Windows CEhandheld PCs, such as the NEC MobilePro.[46] It is also possible to open Excel files using certain online tools and services.[citation needed]Online excel viewers do not require users to have Microsoft Excel installed.[45]


Further information: Spreadsheet § Shortcomings

Other errors specific to Excel include misleading statistics functions, mod function errors, date limitations and the Excel 2007 error.[47]

Statistical functions

The accuracy and convenience of statistical tools in Excel has been criticized,[48][49][50][51][52] as mishandling missing data, as returning incorrect values due to inept handling of round-off and large numbers, as only selectively updating calculations on a spreadsheet when some cell values are changed, and as having a limited set of statistical tools. Microsoft has announced some of these issues are addressed in Excel 2010.[53]

Excel MOD function error

Excel has issues with modulo operations. In the case of excessively large results, Excel will return the error warning instead of an answer.[54][55]

Fictional leap day in the year 1900

Excel includes February 29, 1900, incorrectly treating 1900 as a leap year, even though e.g. 2100 is correctly treated as a regular year.[56][57] The bug originated from Lotus 1-2-3 (deliberately implemented to save computer memory), and was also purposely implemented in Excel, for the purpose of bug compatibility.[58] This legacy has later been carried over into Office Open XML file format.[59]

Thus a (not necessarily whole) number greater than or equal to 61 interpreted as a date and time is the (real) number of days after December 30, 1899, 0:00, a non-negative number less than 60 is the number of days after December 31, 1899, 0:00, and numbers with whole part 60 represent the fictional day.

Date range

Excel supports dates with years in the range 1900-9999, except that December 31, 1899 can be entered as 0 and is displayed as 0-jan-1900.

Converting a fraction of a day into hours, minutes and days by treating it as a moment on the day January 1, 1900, does not work for a negative fraction.[60]

Conversion problems

Entering text that happens to be in a form that is interpreted as a date, the text can be unintentionally changed to a standard date format. A similar problem occurs when a text happens to be in the form of a floating point notation of a number. In these cases the original exact text cannot be recovered from the result. In the case of entering gene names this is a well known problem in the analysis of DNA, for example in bioinformatics. The problem was first described in 2004.[61][62]


Microsoft Excel will not open two documents with the same name and instead will display the following error:

A document with the name '%s' is already open. You cannot open two documents with the same name, even if the documents are in different folders. To open the second document, either close the document that is currently open, or rename one of the documents.[63]

The reason is for calculation ambiguity with linked cells. If there is a cell ='[Book1.xlsx]Sheet1'!$G$33, and there are two books named "Book1" open, there is no way to tell which one the user means.[64]

Numeric precision

Main article: Numeric precision in Microsoft Excel

Despite the use of 15-figure precision, Excel can display many more figures (up to thirty) upon user request. But the displayed figures are not those actually used in its computations, and so, for example, the difference of two numbers may differ from the difference of their displayed values. Although such departures are usually beyond the 15th decimal, exceptions do occur, especially for very large or very small numbers. Serious errors can occur if decisions are made based upon automated comparisons of numbers (for example, using the Excel If function), as equality of two numbers can be unpredictable.[citation needed]

In the figure the fraction 1/9000 is displayed in Excel. Although this number has a decimal representation that is an infinite string of ones, Excel displays only the leading 15 figures. In the second line, the number one is added to the fraction, and again Excel displays only 15 figures. In the third line, one is subtracted from the sum using Excel. Because the sum in the second line has only eleven 1's after the decimal, the difference when 1 is subtracted from this displayed value is three 0's followed by a string of eleven 1's. However, the difference reported by Excel in the third line is three 0's followed by a string of thirteen 1's and two extra erroneous digits. This is because Excel calculates with about half a digit more than it displays.

Excel works with a modified 1985 version of the IEEE 754 specification.[65] Excel's implementation involves conversions between binary and decimal representations, leading to accuracy that is on average better than one would expect from simple fifteen digit precision, but that can be worse. See the main article for details.

Besides accuracy in user computations, the question of accuracy in Excel-provided functions may be raised. Particularly in the arena of statistical functions, Excel has been criticized for sacrificing accuracy for speed of calculation.[66][67]

As many calculations in Excel are executed using VBA, an additional issue is the accuracy of VBA, which varies with variable type and user-requested precision.[68]

Content type auto-detection

In 2004 scientists reported automatic (and inadvertent) conversion of gene nomenclature into dates.[61] A follow-up study in 2016 found many peer reviewedscientific journal papers had been affected and that "Of the selected journals, the proportion of published articles with Excel files containing gene lists that are affected by gene name errors is 19.6 %.[62] Excel parses the copied and pasted data and sometimes changes them depending on what it thinks they are. For example, MARCH1 (Membrane Associated Ring-CH-type finger 1) gets converted to the date March 1 (1-Mar) and SEPT2 (Septin 2) is converted into September 2 (2-Sep) etc.[69] While some secondary news sources[70] reported this as a fault with Excel, the original authors of the 2016 paper placed the blame with the researchers mis-using Excel.[62][71]


Early history

Microsoft originally marketed a spreadsheet program called Multiplan in 1982. Multiplan became very popular on CP/M systems, but on MS-DOS systems it lost popularity to Lotus 1-2-3. Microsoft released the first version of Excel for the Macintosh on September 30, 1985, and the first Windows version was 2.05 (to synchronize with the Macintosh version 2.2) in November 1987.[72] Lotus was slow to bring 1-2-3 to Windows and by the early 1990s Excel had started to outsell 1-2-3 and helped Microsoft achieve its position as a leading PC software developer. This accomplishment solidified Microsoft as a valid competitor and showed its future of developing GUI software. Microsoft maintained its advantage with regular new releases, every two years or so.

Microsoft Windows

Excel 2.0 is the first version of Excel for the Intel platform. Versions prior to 2.0 were only available on the Apple Macintosh.

Excel 2.0 (1987)

The first Windows version was labeled "2" to correspond to the Mac version. This included a run-time version of Windows.[73]

BYTE in 1989 listed Excel for Windows as among the "Distinction" winners of the BYTE Awards. The magazine stated that the port of the "extraordinary" Macintosh version "shines", with a user interface as good as or better than the original.[74]

Excel 3.0 (1990)

Included toolbars, drawing capabilities, outlining, add-in support, 3D charts, and many more new features.[73]

Excel 4.0 (1992)

Introduced auto-fill.[75]

Also, an easter egg in Excel 4.0 reveals a hidden animation of a dancing set of numbers 1 through 3, representing Lotus 1-2-3, which was then crushed by an Excel logo.[76]

Excel 5.0 (1993)

With version 5.0, Excel has included Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), a programming language based on Visual Basic which adds the ability to automate tasks in Excel and to provide user-defined functions (UDF) for use in worksheets. VBA is a powerful addition to the application and includes a fully featured integrated development environment (IDE). Macro recording can produce VBA code replicating user actions, thus allowing simple automation of regular tasks. VBA allows the creation of forms and in‑worksheet controls to communicate with the user. The language supports use (but not creation) of ActiveX (COM) DLL's; later versions add support for class modules allowing the use of basic object-oriented programming techniques.

The automation functionality provided by VBA made Excel a target for macro viruses. This caused serious problems until antivirus products began to detect these viruses. Microsoft belatedly took steps to prevent the misuse by adding the ability to disable macros completely, to enable macros when opening a workbook or to trust all macros signed using a trusted certificate.

Versions 5.0 to 9.0 of Excel contain various Easter eggs, including a "Hall of Tortured Souls", although since version 10 Microsoft has taken measures to eliminate such undocumented features from their products.[77]

5.0 was released in a 16-bit x86 version for Windows 3.1 and later in a 32-bit version for NT 3.51 (x86/Alpha/PowerPC)

Excel 95 (v7.0)

Released in 1995 with Microsoft Office for Windows 95, this is the first major version after Excel 5.0, as there is no Excel 6.0 with all of the Office applications standardizing on the same major version number.

Internal rewrite to 32-bits. Almost no external changes, but faster and more stable.

Excel 97 (v8.0)

Included in Office 97 (for x86 and Alpha). This was a major upgrade that introduced the paper clip office assistant and featured standard VBA used instead of internal Excel Basic. It introduced the now-removed Natural Language labels.

This version of Excel includes a flight simulator as an Easter Egg.

Excel 2000 (v9.0)

Included in Office 2000. This was a minor upgrade, but introduced an upgrade to the clipboard where it can hold multiple objects at once. The Office Assistant, whose frequent unsolicited appearance in Excel 97 had annoyed many users, became less intrusive.

Excel 2002 (v10.0)

Included in Office XP. Very minor enhancements.

Excel 2003 (v11.0)

Included in Office 2003. Minor enhancements, most significant being the new Tables.

Excel 2007 (v12.0)

Included in Office 2007. This release was a major upgrade from the previous version. Similar to other updated Office products, Excel in 2007 used the new Ribbon menu system. This was different from what users were used to, and was met with mixed reactions. One study reported fairly good acceptance by users except highly experienced users and users of word processing applications with a classical WIMP interface, but was less convinced in terms of efficiency and organisation.[78] However, an online survey reported that a majority of respondents had a negative opinion of the change, with advanced users being "somewhat more negative" than intermediate users, and users reporting a self-estimated reduction in productivity.[79]

Added functionality included the SmartArt set of editable business diagrams. Also added was an improved management of named variables through the Name Manager, and much improved flexibility in formatting graphs, which allow (x, y) coordinate labeling and lines of arbitrary weight. Several improvements to pivot tables were introduced.

Also like other office products, the Office Open XML file formats were introduced, including .xlsm for a workbook with macros and .xlsx for a workbook without macros.[80]

Specifically, many of the size limitations of previous versions were greatly increased. To illustrate, the number of rows was now 1,048,576 (220) and columns was 16,384 (214; the far-right column is XFD). This changes what is a valid A1 reference versus a named range. This version made more extensive use of multiple cores for the calculation of spreadsheets; however, VBA macros are not handled in parallel and XLL add‑ins were only executed in parallel if they were thread-safe and this was indicated at registration.

Excel 2010 (v14.0)

Included in Office 2010, this is the next major version after v12.0, as version number 13 was skipped.

Minor enhancements and 64-bit support,[81] including the following:

  • Multi-threading recalculation (MTR) for commonly used functions
  • Improved pivot tables
  • More conditional formatting options
  • Additional image editing capabilities
  • In-cell charts called sparklines
  • Ability to preview before pasting
  • Office 2010 backstage feature for document-related tasks
  • Ability to customize the Ribbon
  • Many new formulas, most highly specialized to improve accuracy[82]

Excel 2013 (v15.0)

Included in Office 2013, along with a lot of new tools included in this release:

Excel 2016 (v16.0)

Included in Office 2016, along with a lot of new tools included in this release:

  • Power Query integration
  • Read-only mode for Excel
  • Keyboard access for Pivot Tables and Slicers in Excel
  • New Chart Types
  • Quick data linking in Visio
  • Excel forecasting functions
  • Support for multi-selection of Slicer items using touch
  • Time grouping and Pivot Chart Drill Down
  • Excel data cards[89]

Apple Macintosh

  • 1985 Excel 1.0
  • 1988 Excel 1.5
  • 1989 Excel 2.2
  • 1990 Excel 3.0
  • 1992 Excel 4.0
  • 1993 Excel 5.0 (part of Office 4.x—Final Motorola 680x0 version[90] and first PowerPC version)
  • 1998 Excel 8.0 (part of Office 98)
  • 2000 Excel 9.0 (part of Office 2001)
  • 2001 Excel 10.0 (part of Office v. X)
  • 2004 Excel 11.0 (part of Office 2004)
  • 2008 Excel 12.0 (part of Office 2008)
  • 2011 Excel 14.0 (part of Office 2011)
  • 2015 Excel 15.0 (part of Office 2016— Office 2016 for Mac brings the Mac version much closer to parity with its Windows cousin, harmonizing many of the reporting and high-level developer functions, while bringing the ribbon and styling into line with its PC counterpart.)[91]


  • 1989 Excel 2.2
  • 1990 Excel 2.3
  • 1991 Excel 3.0


Legend:Old versionOlder version, still supportedCurrent stable versionLatest preview versionFuture release
1987Excel 2Old version, no longer supported: 2.0Renumbered to 2 to correspond with contemporary Macintosh version
1990Excel 3Old version, no longer supported: 3.0Added 3D graphing capabilities
1992Excel 4Old version, no longer supported: 4.0Introduced auto-fill feature
1993Excel 5Old version, no longer supported: 5.0Included Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) and various object-oriented options
1995Excel 95Old version, no longer supported: 7.0Renumbered for contemporary Word version. Both programs were packaged in Microsoft Office by this time.
1997Excel 97Old version, no longer supported: 8.0
2000Excel 2000Old version, no longer supported: 9.0Part of Microsoft Office 2000, which was itself part of Windows Millennium (also known as "Windows ME").
2002Excel 2002Old version, no longer supported: 10.0
2003Excel 2003Old version, no longer supported: 11.0Released only 1 year later to correspond better with the rest of Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, etc.).
2007Excel 2007Old version, no longer supported: 12.0
2010Excel 2010Older version, yet still supported: 14.0Due to superstitions surrounding the number 13, Excel 13 was skipped in version counting.
2013Excel 2013Older version, yet still supported: 15.0Introduced 50 more mathematical functions (available as pre-packaged commands, rather than typing the formula manually).
2016Excel 2016Current stable version:16.0Part of Microsoft Office 2016
1985Excel 1Old version, no longer supported: 1.0Initial version of Excel
1988Excel 1.5Old version, no longer supported: 1.5
1989Excel 2Old version, no longer supported: 2.2
1990Excel 3Old version, no longer supported: 3.0
1992Excel 4Old version, no longer supported: 4.0
1993Excel 5Old version, no longer supported: 5.0Only available on PowerPC-based Macs. First PowerPC version.
1998Excel 98Old version, no longer supported: 8.0Excel 6 and Excel 7 were skipped to correspond with the rest of Microsoft Office at the time.
2000Excel 2000Old version, no longer supported: 9.0
2001Excel 2001Old version, no longer supported: 10.0
2004Excel 2004Old version, no longer supported: 11.0
2008Excel 2008Old version, no longer supported: 12.0
2011Excel 2011Older version, yet still supported: 14.0As with the Windows version, version 13 was skipped for superstitious reasons.
2016Excel 2016Current stable version:16.0As with the rest of Microsoft Office, so it is for Excel: Future release dates for the Macintosh version are intended to correspond better to those for the Windows version, from 2016 onward.
1989Excel 2.2Old version, no longer supported: 2.2Numbered in between Windows versions at the time
1990Excel 2.3Old version, no longer supported: 2.3
1991Excel 3Old version, no longer supported: 3.0Last OS/2 version. Discontinued subseries of Microsoft Excel, which is otherwise still an actively developed program.


Excel offers many user interface tweaks over the earliest electronic spreadsheets; however, the essence remains the same as in the original spreadsheet software, VisiCalc: the program displays cells organized in rows and columns, and each cell may contain data or a formula, with relative or absolute references to other cells.

Excel 2.0 for Windows, which was modeled after its Mac GUI-based counterpart, indirectly expanded the installed base of the then-nascent Windows environment. Excel 2.0 was released a month before Windows 2.0, and the installed base of Windows was so low at that point in 1987 that Microsoft had to bundle a runtime version of Windows 1.0 with Excel 2.0.[92] Unlike Microsoft Word, there never was a DOS version of Excel.

Excel became the first spreadsheet to allow the user to define the appearance of spreadsheets (fonts, character attributes and cell appearance). It also introduced intelligent cell recomputation, where only cells dependent on the cell being modified are updated (previous spreadsheet programs recomputed everything all the time or waited for a specific user command). Excel introduced auto-fill, the ability to drag and expand the selection box to automatically copy cell or row contents to adjacent cells or rows, adjusting the copies intelligently by automatically incrementing cell references or contents. Excel also introduced extensive graphing capabilities.


Because Excel is widely used, it has been attacked by hackers. While Excel is not directly exposed to the Internet, if an attacker can get a victim to open a file in Excel, and there is an appropriate security bug in Excel, then the attacker can get control of the victim's computer.[93] UK's GCHQ has a tool named TORNADO ALLEY with this purpose.[94][95]

See also


Use of a user-defined function sq(x) in Microsoft Excel. The named variables x & y are identified in the Name Manager. The function sq is introduced using the Visual Basic editor supplied with Excel.
Subroutine in Excel calculates the square of named column variable x read from the spreadsheet, and writes it into the named column variable y.
Graph made using Microsoft Excel
Excel maintains 15 figures in its numbers, but they are not always accurate: the bottom line should be the same as the top line.
Microsoft Excel 2010 running on Windows 7
Microsoft Excel for Mac 2011

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