Here’s a preview of some of the new features in Excel 2013 from CFO. A couple of the features that interest me:

Combo Charts get a new interface. You want to show Revenue and GP% on the same chart. There used to be a confusing method for assigning GP% as a line chart on the secondary axis. The new Combo Chart interface (below) makes it incredibly straightforward. For each series, you control the chart type and where it’s plotted.

Relationships instead of VLOOKUP. If you add your worksheets to the pedestrian “Data Model” feature, you can use the Relationships icon to define that CustID in your million row transaction worksheet is related to CustNumber in your customer worksheet. Now, without doing millions of VLOOKUPs, you can create pivot tables from the data on both worksheets. Whether you’re sick of people who feel superior because they can do VLOOKUP, or someone who does VLOOKUP in their sleep, no one can argue that creating a relationship in 3 clicks is faster than waiting for a million VLOOKUPs to recalculate.

This sounds like a feature I will really like (once I learn how to use it).

• =FORMULATEXT(A2). This new function will put the formula from cell A2 in a cell. Whether you’re trying to document the formulas you used, or you’re looking for plug numbers in a column, this tiny little function is a winner. There are 50 new calculation functions in Excel, none will ever get mentioned in the Microsoft marketing materials, but FORMULATEXT is the one that I can’t see living without. I still use Excel 2010 and Excel 2013 interchangeably, but the first thing that makes me aware that I am not in 2013 is when my =FORMULATEXT() functions don’t work.

There are several more interesting features that I’m excited to check out. I know, I’m a geek.

4 responses to A Preview of Excel 2013 – Sounds Interesting

  1. Wow, you really are a spreadsheet geek aren’t you? 😉

  2. Yeah, but there is so much that I don’t know how to do.

  3. You should give the free Apache OpenOffice (or offshoot “LibreOffice”) a try sometime. Your Excel example of =FormulaText(A2) is done in OpenOffice with =Formula(A2).

    I just downloaded an ancient version of OpenOffice (v2.0 from 2005) and it had that capability way back then…

  4. We are still on Excel 2007 in our office, plus Windows XP. I’ll be retired before I see Excel 2013.