In computing, Microsoft Excel (full name Microsoft Office Excel) consists of a proprietary spreadsheet-application written and distributed by Microsoft for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. It features calculation, graphing tools, pivot tables and, except for Excel 2008 for Mac OS X, a macro programming language called VBA (Visual Basic for Applications). It is overwhelmingly the dominant spreadsheet application available for these platforms and has been so since version 5 in 1993, and is bundled as part of Microsoft Office.
Microsoft originally marketed a spreadsheet program called Multiplan in 1982, which became very popular on CP/M systems, but on MS-DOS systems it lost popularity to Lotus 1-2-3. Redmond released the first version of Excel for the Mac in 1985, and the first Windows version (numbered 2.05 to line up with the Mac and bundled with a run-time Windows environment) in November 1987. Lotus was slow to bring 1-2-3 to Windows and by 1988 Excel had started to outsell 1-2-3 and helped Microsoft achieve the position of leading PC software developer. This accomplishment, dethroning the king of the software world, solidified Microsoft as a valid competitor and showed its future of developing GUI software. Microsoft pushed its advantage with regular new releases, every two years or so. The current version for the Windows platform is Excel 12, also called Microsoft Office Excel 2007. The current version for the Mac OS X platform is Microsoft Excel 2008.
Early in 1993, Excel became the target of a trademark lawsuit by another company already selling a software package named "Excel" in the finance industry. As the result of the dispute Microsoft was required to refer to the program as "Microsoft Excel" in all of its formal press releases and legal documents. However, over time this practice has been ignored, and Microsoft cleared up the issue permanently when they purchased the trademark of the other program. Microsoft also encouraged the use of the letters XL as shorthand for the program; while this is no longer common, the program's icon on Windows still consists of a stylized combination of the two letters, and the file extension of the default Excel format is .xls.
Excel offers many user interface tweaks over the earliest electronic spreadsheets; however, the essence remains the same as in the original spreadsheet, VisiCalc: the program displays cells are organized in rows and columns, and each cell contains data or a formula, with relative or absolute references to other cells.
Excel was the first spreadsheet that allowed 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 has extensive graphing capabilities, and enables users to perform mail merge.
When Microsoft first bundled Microsoft Word and Microsoft PowerPoint into Microsoft Office in 1993, those applications had their GUIs redesigned for consistency with Excel, the killer app on the PC at the time.
Since 1993, 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 which, in later versions, 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 has caused Excel to become a target for macro viruses. This was a serious problem in the corporate world 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 for Microsoft Windows include:
Versions for the Apple Macintosh include:
Versions for OS/2 include:
Versions of Excel up to 7.0 had a limitation in the size of their data sets of 16K (2^14) rows. Versions 8.0 through 11.0 could handle 64K (2^16) rows and 256 columns (2^8 as label 'IV'). Version 12.0 can handle 1M (2^20=1048576) rows, and 16384 (2^14 as label 'XFD') columns.
Microsoft Excel up until 2007 version used a proprietary binary file format called Binary Interchange File Format (BIFF) as its primary format. 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. The latter format is not able to encode VBA macros.
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.
The new Excel 2007 formats are:
|Excel Workbook||.xlsx||The default Excel 2007 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 Workbook||.xlsm||As Excel Workbook, but with macro support.|
|Excel Binary Workbook||.xlsb||As 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 Template||.xltm||A template document that forms a basis for actual workbooks, with macro support. The replacement for the old .xlt format.|
|Excel Add-in||.xlam||Excel add-in to add extra functionality and tools. Inherent macro support due to the file purpose.|
The most common and easiest way to generate VBA code is by use of the macro recorder function that faithfully writes the code for the actions that the user carries out with mouse/keyboard. There is a relative/absolute toggle button that allows the user to switch between the two whilst recording a macro. Relative/absolute in this context means the relative to the start cell location or an absolute cell reference for example cell A1 (column A, row 1).
Certain features such as loop functions and screen prompts by their own properties cannot be recorded, but must be entered into the VBA module directly by the programmer.
The macros can easily be activated using a button using the form menu, and advanced users can use user prompts to create an interactive program.
Although conceptually simple to understand (especially using a macro recorder), the combination of multiple steps under many different constraints/conditions requires a robust testing/quality control processes to gain regular/reliable/predictable results for the product to realise its benefits.
On September 22, 2007 it was reported that Excel 2007 will show incorrect results in certain situations. Specifically, for some pairs of numbers with a product of 65,535 (such as 850 and 77.1), Excel will display their product as 100,000. This occurs with about 14.5% of such pairs. In addition, adding to this result gives 100,001, but subtracting one from the original product produces the correct result of 65,534.
Microsoft has reported on the Microsoft Excel Blog that the problem exists in the display of six specific floating point values between 65534.99999999995 and 65,535, and six values between 65535.99999999995 and 65,536 (not including the integers). Any calculation that results in one of these twelve values will display incorrectly. The actual value stored and passed to other cells is correct, only the displayed value is wrong. The error was introduced with changes made to the Excel display logic for the 2007 version, and does not exist in previous versions. On October 9, 2007, Microsoft released a fix to the public. This issue is also corrected with Service Pack 1.
Chris Lomont presented a detailed explanation of the bug, how it was likely caused by changing 16-bit formatting code to 32-bit code, why it only affects 12 values and then only while formatting, and how the hotfix corrects the bug.
Ramapo's Bob McAdoo heading downcourt in recent game against Englewood. McAdoo was one of several players to excel in Ramapo's state tournament victory over Northern Highlands. He had 19 points, five
Mar 06, 1991; The Record (Bergen County, NJ) 03-06-1991 Ramapo's Bob McAdoo heading downcourt in recent game against Englewood. McAdoowas one...