Excel in a web browser has some new improvements, many of them are familiar Excel desktop features moved online but one is unique to the browser-based version.
Version history for collaboration, more zoom options for keyboard and screen, multiple range selections and changing regional settings are all now available online.
Let’s start with the new feature only in Excel on the web, though there’s an equivalent in desktop Excel.
Excel Online now has an ‘All Sheets’ button to the left of the first tab. It shows a list of all the worksheet tabs, handy when there’s a lot of tabs that scroll off the right of the screen.
The equivalent in Excel desktop is to right-click on the arrows (left of the first tab).
The other Excel online innovations bring to the browser features already in the desktop versions of Excel.
Better Keyboard shortcuts
A long-standing problem for web apps has been keyboard conflicts. Common application key-combinations are ‘grabbed’ by the browser first and the web app doesn’t get a chance to react.
That’s a problem for Office with customers wanting to use shortcuts like Alt to access the ribbon, Ctrl + <number> and many others.
Now you can choose whether keyboard shortcuts are used by the browser or, more likely, Excel Online.
Ctrl + 1 opens the Format Cell dialog in Excel, instead of switching to the first browser tab.
Go to Help | Keyboard Shortcuts and check the option ‘Override browser shortcuts’.
Now pressing Alt will show the ribbon shortcut tips, just like on Excel desktop.
Change Regional Settings
At long last, you can change the regional setting in Excel on the web! This changes the date/time, number, and currency formats used in Excel.
Go to File | Options and there’s only one option, Change Regional Settings.
Or go to Number Format. Under Date, Time or Special there is a Locale option.
Multiple range selection
For a long time, you’ve been able to select multiple cell ranges (non-continuous or discontinuous) by holding down the Ctrl key while selecting. The same trick works in Word too.
Now the same is possible in Excel on the web. Hold down the Ctrl key while selecting the cells/ranges.
More Zooming options
There are now more zoom view options available on keyboard, mouse and touchscreen.
The obvious choices are the + and – buttons or predefined zoom levels from 25% to 200% in the bottom right corner.
Other choices are:
- Ctrl Alt +/- keys
- Ctrl + mouse wheel
- Pinch/stretch to zoom on touch screen or trackpad
Zoom on the View tab
Promised soon are Zoom options on the View tab.
Seeing changes made by others is an important part of collaborating on document. Go to File | Info | Version History.