Microsoft Excel 2010 review

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Excel 2007 effectively rewrote the rulebook on spreadsheet usability. The introduction of the Ribbon changed forever the way we interacted with the application and we’ve never looked back. There’s understandably nothing so extraordinary this time around, but Excel 2010 still has a few tricks up its sleeve.

The global changes that permeate the rest of the suite are all present here. Backstage view works well, particularly the combined Print/Print Preview function, while the redesigned, customisable Ribbon will be of use to those who regularly use Excel’s more esoteric functions.

But, for heavy users, the most important changes are under the hood. The most noticeable area is in the rendering of charts and in loading large workbooks with many sheets, where Excel can now take advantage of multicore processors to load the sheets in parallel.

Microsoft Excel 2010

If you’re running the 64-bit version of either Windows Vista or Windows 7, you also get the choice of installing the 64-bit version of Office 2010, the principal advantage of which is to let you work with Excel workbooks larger than 2GB. 64-bit Excel also works faster on large workbooks than the 32-bit version, provided you give it enough memory, but choose carefully before going down the 64-bit route as some third-party plugins may not work and your VBA macros may need recoding. Elsewhere, PivotTables and PivotCharts run faster, thanks to multithreading. Reporting from SQL Server Analysis Services has been expanded with support for Named and Dynamic sets, and calculations can be written back to the data cube to be summarised.

If you need to analyse millions of rows, or data from multiple sources, you can use the new PowerPivot for Excel. This separate plugin for Excel gives fast access to mountains of data, automatically analysing relationships between tables and presenting disparate data as a coherent whole.


Software subcategoryOffice software

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported?yes
Operating system Windows XP supported?yes

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