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Office 365 – Excel


Microsoft Office 365 is a cloud-based service for organizations which need a technology that enables flexibility and cost-effectively adds value to their organization. It delivers feature-rich productivity tools to users while helping to relieve the burden of managing and maintaining business systems—freeing up IT departments and businesses to focus on initiatives that can deliver true competitive advantage.

Microsoft Office 365 for professionals and small businesses is relatively very easy to use. Everyone can work together easily with anywhere access to email, web conferencing, documents, and calendars. The first time I heard about it, I was actually curious to know what it was all about. So today I finally registered as a trial user at this link.

Microsoft Office 365 is a set of web-enabled tools that lets you access your email, important documents, contacts, and calendar from almost anywhere and any device (Depends on Wi-Fi capability or depends on carrier network availability).

These tools include Microsoft Office Web Apps, which are web versions of the Microsoft Office desktop apps that you are already familiar with, like Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

With these Office Web Apps you can create and edit documents on any PC with a web browser.

Basic requirements:
Office 2007+, IE 7+, Windows XP SP3+

Full Requirements:
OS: Windows XP SP3 / Windows Vista SP2 / Windows 7 / Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard), 10.6 (Snow Leopard) / Windows Server 2003 / Windows Server 2008
Office client requirements: Office 2007 SP2 or Office 2010 / Office 2008 for Mac & Entourage 2008 Web Services Edition / Office 2011 for Mac and Outlook 2011 for Mac / .NET 2.0 or later / Lync 2010
Browser requirements: Internet Explorer 7 or above / Firefox 3 or above / Safari 4 or above / Chrome 3 or above

There are basically three different plans for Office 365.

  • Microsoft Office 365 for professionals and small businesses
  • Microsoft Office 365 for midsize businesses and enterprises
  • Microsoft Office 365 for education

You can check them out at this link.

After you login this is how your main portal looks:

In this section we will be covering Excel.

When you click on the Excel icon, a new Excel document opens in a browser window which looks like this:

There are 3 tabs that one has access to when working on a document in a web interface. Let’s see what do they cover.


The File Tab looks like this:

Two main things that I liked in this is the Automatic Save so that you don’t have to save again and again. It is handy if you have a bad connection. There is no “Save” button as the workbook gets saved automatically. Some might argue that this could be a disadvantage but then remember that there is always the Undo button. However you do have an option of a “Save As“. The other thing that I liked is the ability to download this online workbook to your computer and vice versa (covered later in this post).

For now, let’s save our document with a name that we want. Click on the File Tab → Save As and then give it a name “Sample“.


The Home Tab looks like this.

One disadvantage working with online documents is that you lose access to your “Right Click” menu. However, the Home Tab lists many of those “Right Click” options. For example Insert, Delete, Number Formats etc… If you are familiar with Excel 2007 / 2010 then you can make out what the above buttons are for.


The Insert tab just has two button and looks like this:

I tried few Excel shortcuts and was pleased to discover that they worked just fine in the online document as well. For example to insert a hyperlink, you may press, CTRL K.

MY PANEL (Team Site)

You might be wondering that this all sounds cool but how do I access my document that was saved or how do I upload a document from my computer online? For that you need to click on “Team Site”.

When you click on Team Site, you are presented with many options.

If you notice there is a small panel on the left.

The “Documents” link on the left panel gives you access to options like:

  • Upload documents to make them available to anyone with access to this site
  • Create a new shared document using the Office Web Apps

When you click on that link you are taken to “Documents” section which look like this:

If you notice, right at the bottom is the file that we saved.

If you click on the file, you will now have access to some very basic operations that you can now perform.

Let’s go back one step. This is where we had come when we clicked on the “Team Site“.

The same saved file can be accessed from this view as well.

The “Site Actions” menu gives you further access to many options like editing the web parts of the current page, inviting new users to your site and other “Site Settings”.

Well, that’s pretty much to it.

If you are interested, I would recommend enrolling as a Trial User and checking it out. I have already given the link at the top.

  1. David L. Miller
    David L. Miller08-10-2011

    Thanks for the post. Question: Will 365 support Excel Spreadsheets with macro capability? This has been a serious problem in the past with users who’d like to more broadly share their dashboard workbooks that contain macros but cannot without major work.


  2. siddharthrout

    Hi David

    Unlike Google Docs which uses “Google Apps Script” for Macro’s, Excel Spreadsheet does not support macro capability at the moment. You cannot run or edit a macro once it is uploaded online.

    Office Web Apps is a tool which can enhance office 2010 functionality. Google Apps on the other hand has better features and a pure online web document processing system.