Excel Journey From 2003 To 2019


What is MS Excel?

Microsoft Office suite offers Excel which is a computer application for organizing, analyzing, and storing data in a tabular form. It is available for all OS like Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. Spreadsheets are the computerized analogs of paper accounting worksheets. MS Excel has features that are applicable almost at every level of management in an organization.

Excel contains various widely used features like calculation, graphing tools, pivot tables, and a macro programming language called Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). Excel has replaced Lotus 1-2-3 as the industry standard for spreadsheets to become the most widely used platform for spreadsheets since version 5 in 1993. Nowadays, it is kind of a necessity to have a better hand at Excel and for the same MS Excel training is necessary. Like Excel has a huge feature list, Microsoft provides another Business Analytics tool called Power BI which helps in creating interactive visualizations and dashboards

Well known MS Excel features

The first release of MS Excel happened back in 1987 i.e. 33 years ago and gained huge popularity just within 6 years. Since then, Windows has been adding all new features in Excel. To talk about a few very familiar ones:

  1. Excel 4.0 introduced AutoFill function back in 1992.

2. VBA and Macros dated back to Excel 5.0, released in 1993. Excel was a major target of Macro viruses due to the flexibility of VBA until Excel 2007 which revamped the file formats to improve the security of Excel.

3. Microsoft also introduced an Office assistant “Clippy” in Excel 97 i.e. back in 1997. Cool Right? Not actually! Users found it extremely annoying. This reason made Windows switch off Clippy by default in Excel 2002 and got it completely removed in Excel 2007.

Year-wise improvements in MS Excel

Excel 2003* Excel 2003 was the last version of Excel to use the “WIMP” interface (Windows, Icons, Menus, Pointer)- the one with drop-down menus and icons at the top of the screen
* First version to introduce Tables features
* The Mac version was released in 2004
Excel 2007* Excel 2007 introduced the new Ribbon interface, Live Preview, Style Galleries, Page Layout view, Conditional Formatting
* Changing the file format from the .xls to the new .xslx and .xlsm which allowed Excel files to store over 1 million rows against the previous limit to 16,384
Excel 2010* Excel 2010 introduced features like multi-threading support, sparklines, Ribbon customization, and the back-stage view
* Funny fact: Because 13 is considered an unlucky number, Microsoft officially declared Excel 2010 as version 14 against actually being version 13
Excel 2013* An exclusive Windows-only version
* New Flash Fill, Slicers and 50 new functions were added in this version
Excel 2016* For the first time, Mac and Windows versions were launched in the same year and were are called Excel 2016, though they are very different
* Office 365 users were told that they will receive regular feature updates from the internet and that created a huge difference between Office 365 and Office 2016 users
* New tools like Power Query integration, Read-only mode for protection against viruses, etc were introduced
Excel 2019* Excel 2019 is now a common MS suite app for both OS
* Map charts, Funnel charts, new functions like CONCAT, IFS, etc., Full SVG graphics support  are introduced
* New 3D imaging capability was introduced with few available online accessible via Insert tab


Excel remains the best option for spreadsheets as it offers infinite possibilities to manage, analyze, and store huge chunks of data. Though the standalone version of Excel 2019 is self-sufficient with a huge number of features but still Office 365 Excel beats it when it comes to working in groups as it gives additional functionality in terms of cloud support, AI support and it also has a lot of apps for better group connectivity like Teams, Stream, Yammer, etc.

To know more about why Office 365, re-branded as Microsoft 365 beats Microsoft’s standalone Office 2019, we recommend you go through the blog Microsoft Office 365 vs 2019.


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A learner, dreamer, and passionate about modern tools and technology like Excel 365, Power BI, SQL, HR Analytics, Six Sigma, WordPress and Visuals to name a few. Total Experience 15+ years including more than a decade of experience in S&P Global and ongoing 4+ years of experience with fast-growing startups & few MNCs. Clients served: Startups, MSMEs to a few of the Big 4 Consulting firms. Trained more than 2500 professionals in the last 4 years on various skills (Analytics, Content, WordPress, Finance, Entrepreneurship, etc). Last but the most important - mother of an awesome kid!


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  9. There are many benefits of excel like-
    1)Best way to store data
    2)You can perform calculations.
    All the tools for data analysis.
    3)Easy to data visualizations with charts.
    4)You can print reports easily.
    5)So many free templates to use.
    6)You can code to automate.
    7)Transform and clean data.


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