Excel version usage

Saw this recently, its a common question, how many people are using the various version of Excel.

Some software vendor kindly gave details from installs of their add-in here:


Martin Green (spoke at last years UK Excel User conf) ran a survey here:


neither considers 2007 (who does?) – oh thats harsh ;-)

Summary if you are too busy to click the links:

  • 97 – 5%
  • 2k – 15%
  • XP – 20%
  • 2k3 – 60%

Both sources said they might be skewed towards more tech savvy users.

The numbers seem reasonable to me, what do you think?



15 Responses to “Excel version usage”

  1. MikeC Says:

    Seems about right from what I see day-to-day, though I’m a little surprised that 97 is still on there as high as it is. Personally I use 2K at work, because we run both 2K and 2K3 across our offices.

    At home I mainly use 2K3, except when I’m drinking too much coffee I mean working from home and I use 2K then.

    I wonder what the takeup for 2K7 would have been if they had included it? Hmmm.

  2. Marcus Says:

    Hi Simon,

    Let’s put it this way. The figure don’t appear unreasonable. Working mainly in a large, corporate environment tends to skew your view a little. All I’ve really seen in the last year of so is 2K and 2K3.

    I’ve yet to deal with anyone (FSO) where 2007 was even on the radar. Remember though that Martin’s survey is nigh on 12 months old. The JoS survey is reasonably fresh though.

    Interesting side note related to some previous posts: If you develop your project as a VB6 COM Add-In, you’ll have covered 95% of the existing Excel install base (this =! target market). A .Net implementation wouldn’t even come close to that.

    Cheers – Marcus

  3. Dennis Wallentin Says:

    Hi Simon et al,

    I’m surprised to see that XP gets around 20 %. In my part of the world 2k and 2k3 are the most frequent used versions. In some corporates 2k7 is slowly replacing 2k. Excel 97?

    Sorry to spoil the joy for You Marcus but with .NET COM Add-ins we can also cover 95 %!

    However, it’s true that VSTO COM Add-ins only cover 60 % but within a year or so I do belive that percentage will be more.

    Kind regards,

  4. Marcus Says:

    Hi Dennis,

    I was under the impression that penetration of .Net installations wasn’t that high yet. I was working on the assumption of being able to deliver an add-in without relying on any other installation but the add-in (that is, .Net is already installed on the machine).

    Is that what you meant, or have I missed something?

    Kind Regards – Marcus

  5. Dennis Wallentin Says:


    Yes, it’s true that the penetration is still low among Windows XP’s systems while with Vista .NET Framework is installed with Vista.

    Another aspect is that Office 2k3 and earlier is usually installed before .NET Framework on Windows XP which require a fix in order to get things running properly (except for 2k7 if I remember it right).

    Yet another aspect is that the PIA is only installed (for 2k3 and 2k7 as there exist no officially PIAs for 2k and XP) if Office installation’s routine detect that .NET Framework is available on the targeting machines.

    In view of the above and in view of the strategy to only install the add-in file I can agree that it’s not doable unless we’re running Vista & 2k7.

    I don’t believe that You have missed anything. However, since we have the knowledge and knows our ways to deploy .NET COM add-ins I don’t see any issue with it.

    That’s why I also see 2k to 2k7 as the targeting versions for any type of .NET COM add-ins.

    What strikes me is that with the “install only the add-in file itself” strategy we are limited to use native add-ins, i e XLAs. That could be a problem as both VB6 and .NET offer a wider possibilities then what the XLAs do.

    The only conclusion I can see, at present, is that we are back to the square “what to use to achieve what the customers requires to support their different kind of business processes.”

    Kind regards,

  6. Ken Puls Says:


    We migrated away from Office 97 about 3 months ago now. My organization is part of the 60% of 2k3 users.

    I run Office 2007 in addition to 2003, but then I like to have access to the latest and greatest. Fortunately I get to test new software as an unofficial part of my role, so it’s all good.

  7. Nick Hebb Says:

    I’ve seen a decent uptake of 2007 recently. I sell to a lot of small organizations and independent consultants, and that’s were I see the majority of XP and 2007 installs. For corporate customers, 2k3 seems to be the norm and 2k is fading.

    [Disclaimer: Unqualified and opinionated speculation follows.]

    For corporate environments, I don’t see a strong impetus to upgrade unless there’s a big demand for SharePoint Services. Microsoft is pushing it hard, but I’m not sure the SharePoint adoption is that strong compared to the overall Office user base. Without that driver, most companies would take short term productivity drops as users got accustomed to the new UI.

  8. Simon Says:

    .net/com – I’ve just posted partly about that, basically you can always use an xla wrapper (or an xla ‘shim’?)(how far we have come!)
    Dennis I think Marcus is making the point that the VB runtimes are guaranteed to be there from O2k, so a VB COM add-in just needs your dll and regsvr32.
    .net deployment is a bit(!) more involved, except as you say in Vista.
    The MS recommended technology for Excel add-ins as of last month is still xlls.
    Ken do you think your co wil move to 2007 or skip a version?
    Nick thanks for the info, I can’t disagree with your speculation. None of my clients have ever had Sharepoint, although I have strongly recommened it to all of them. Most have Notes, migration would be massive/unthinkable/career limiting.

  9. Ken Puls Says:

    On the question of moving to 2007 or skipping a version, it would totally depend if there were something really, really important in the package to make us do so.

    We sit in kind of an interesting place. I’m the one man IT show in our company, and make most of the decisions. Our company is managed by a huge company, though, and we occasionally have some of their policies pushed down on us. There policy with software is always to be one release behind. So while my boss would place great weight on my recommendation, we’d have to be VERY sure it was the right move to fly in the face of their idea.

    I can’t see anything compelling enough in 2007 for my users to have to suffer the learning curve of the new UI just yet, so we’ll likely skip a version. That could change, however, if we find that we’re implementing something that needs it. (Sharepoint?)

  10. Dennis Wallentin Says:

    Thanks for the clarification Simon. It requires a controled to use that strategy.

    Actually I think I will test to only install & registrate the .NET assembly just to confirm it works with .NET COM add-ins as well.

    Kind regards,

  11. Simon Says:

    ‘Compelling v leaning curve’ – my view exactly. There is some good stuff but its outweighed by the bad of the ribbon, the learning curve as you say.
    What a shame they didn’t include a proper ‘classic’ UI.

  12. Marcus Says:

    I seemto recall that when Win 95 came out, there was an option to retain the 3.x interface. While it wasn’t exact it was pretty close.

    We used this option at a training company I worked at so we’d only need one O/S installed on each machine.

    Regards – Marcus

  13. Stephen Says:

    From my experience with small business users in Australia (particularly accounting firms) there are a considerable number still using 2k. The feedback I’ve got as to why this is the case is that the 2k version was the last one that you could easily copy and load onto multiple machines throught the organisation (despite it obviously being illegal to do so). The versions after this required individual licences to be purchased. Most businesses weren’t likely to utilise many/any of the new features and were therfore reluctant to invest in the upgrade to 2k3 etc. Of those businesses that are currently using 2k3, most have only purchased it as part of a new workstation purchase where 2k3 was bundled with the computer.

    My observations would be:

    97 – <1%
    2k – 45%
    XP – <5%
    2k3 – 50%
    2k7 – <1%

  14. Visual Studio version usage v Excel « Smurf on Spreadsheets Says:

    […] For fun I tried to line up the nearest equivalent Excel version and the numbers we discussed a few weeks back. […]

  15. John Says:

    I found an interesting poll results here:


    It says that Excel 2007 users are just the 1/4

    The most interesting thing they mention is that “More than half of New Excel users also use Classic Excel.”

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