Excel 2010 TP review

[I wrote this some time ago (pre release), but I thought I would stick out there as its still relevant, and I havent done much more on 2010 since]

I’ve been playing around with twenty ten, and reading around some of the features. Bear in mind though this is pre release, so it may be missing some polish etc.

Here are those features I consider most important.

  1. You can still insert and write XLM. (So what? – XLM UDFs can be way faster than VBA ones, XLM used to cover a few thins you could not do in VBA (they are addressing these VBA gaps). But also XLM is the best guidance we have for VBA’s lifetime – and its looking like 2023 minimum) (2010 + 2010 – 1997))
  2. VBA still primary development environment, no obvious changes from 1997 IDE.
  3. VBA got ported to 64 bit – so its going to be around for some time.
  4. There is a new xll SDK – suggesting this will still be the add-in technology of choice.
  5. UI Customisation is back, programmability will probably reappear in V next +1, then we will just need to able able to adjust the ribbon size and orientate it at the side, and maybe drag and drop, and we will be back at 1995 (or earlier?), minus a few bazillion dollars of course.
  6. Base UI appears consistent with 2007 which is a relief
  7. Massive re-write of key stats functions
  8. High performance cluster stuff sounds like they are serious about Excel as a calc engine for serious application, especially with the new massive file size potential of 64 bit.

So in summary 2010 is reassuring to me, the 2007 noddy UI worried me that MS think Excel is for numpties and kids. 2010 suggests they see very serious applications.

Killer features to persuade you to migrate? Dunno, I’m not sure the real value proposition is in the client alone anymore. But I will move I think.

Are you live on 2010? what do you think? (some people are calling it O2007 SP3)

cheers

simon

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14 Responses to “Excel 2010 TP review”

  1. Ken Puls Says:

    Hey Simon,

    I installed Office 2010 in our accounting offices the day it was available on the Volume Licensing download site. I did this for two reasons:

    1) The users can customize their own UI without having to get down and dirty with XML. That is functionality that Office 2007 should never have been released without. It was enough of a reason to me to tell users not to migrate from 2003.

    2) PowerPivot. While it’s not baked into the core office install, the fact that it is a free download and was available for 2010 made the decision simple. That additional functionality adds a whole bunch of killer back to the app.

  2. Harlan Grove Says:

    I’ve moved to a Linux box full time. I run Excel 2000 erratically under wine (I don’t have and am not planning to buy a retail Windows license in order to use a VM). As soon as Crossover Office supports Office 2010 I’ll buy both.

    Not sure XLM functions are a good thing. I wrote a few way, way back, so I should be able to figure them out when I see them. However, if I were a manager, I doubt I’d let anyone (including outside contractors) use XLM to do anything nontrivial.

  3. dougaj4 Says:

    I also switched to 2010 soon after release, but only because I’m a compulsive upgrader (said the bloke who was still using Lotus 123 10 years after everyone else had forgetten it ever existed). I haven’t used power pivot, and I don’t mess around with the UI (other than inserting the odd custom menu, which still worked in 2007), so those aren’t big things for me.

    I believe that some aspects of performance are substantially improved (but I haven’t had time to really check that out, and updating graphics with complex shapes is still painfully slow).

    So no great benefit from the upgrade for me, but no particular downside either.

  4. Ed Ferrero Says:

    For me the big reason to go from 2003 to 2010 is the increase in calculation speed. Try to run Solver on a large spreadsheet and you will see what I maen.

    2007 is too flawed to be usable. It should just be regarded as a beta version of 2010. IMO 2007 users really deserve a free upgrade to 2010.

  5. Marcus from London Says:

    sigh. Still on 2002 SP3 at work. I’ve only seen 2007 once in the wild (IB environment). Use 2003 at home as I’ve yet to witness any demand for a higher version commercially.

  6. Bob Phillips Says:

    That is odd Marcus. Apart from two of my users, everyone I meet now is on 2007 or 2010. Last year was the big change, even though some switched to 2007 when 2010 was available!

  7. Harlan Grove Says:

    So I sign on to the company Citrix server this morning, and we finally have Excel 2010 (so we can begin testing all our key pre-ribbon models). I have to say XLSM and XLSB files are a lot smaller than the XLS files from which they came. My only other impression so far is that there’s too little color contrast between the application window title area, where the QAT lies, and the ribbon and formula bar background. As far as I’m concerned, MSFT erred by imposing color themes on ribboned apps, though grant it’s minor. More annoying is every 2003-era add-ins’ custom menu items dumped into the Add-In ribbon tab.

    Still going to wait for Crossover Office to support it before running it locally.

  8. Harlan Grove Says:

    Maybe I’ll wait for the next version. I was playing around with Excel 2010, trying to customize my QAT. With my personal.xls file loaded as a hidden workbook but no visible workbooks loaded, I bring up the QAT customization dialog. In the drop-down box for the from list, I select Macros, and Excel 2010 crashes immediately. I refuse to use any software that fragile.

  9. Carl Mackinder Says:

    In 2010 I see the ability for a normal user to easily connect a slicer to multiple pivot tables as a real game changer.

    Add using slicers in cube formulas, named sets, searching in pivot table fields, sparklines and I think you have to move to 2010 from a BI perspective.

    Sadly I have also seen some stability issues with 2010 which seem to hit lower memory machines with more frequency. I really hope they sort these out with SP1 but overall I would say the benefits are worth it.

    I am still trying to make up my mind about PowerPivot. It’s fun to play with but for the professional I do not see PP offers me much that I don’t already have in SQL server. From the user perspective, well they need to be quite high level users to make full use of its potential.

    Sorry about the advertising in this video but it demos slicers connecting to multiple pivots http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4S_uIIZyN0 .

  10. Bob Phillips Says:

    Hey Carl,

    Good to see you chipping in :)

    What you say about PP is true, it doesn’t support hierarchies and has no built-in security, but you can use it with cheap SQL Server (e.g. free), or no SQL Server (Access, text files, even Excel tables). I think PP is severely limited at present (MS hav ejust joined up with HP and are even suggesting you need special hardware – read expensive – to support PP), but I think it has a place.

  11. Carl Mackinder Says:

    Hi Bob,

    Good to see you here too.

    I just noticed that Chris Web gave a presentation on SSAS versus PowerPivot. I would go straight to the PowerPoint and QA workbook.

    http://cwebbbi.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/powerpivot-videos-from-sql-server-day-2010/

  12. Bob Phillips Says:

    I actually saw Chris give that presentation at a SQLBE day just before Christmas. It was a tad light-hearted, but he was making a serious point, horses for courses, although he wasn’t even considering the point I added, a no-SSAS shop.

  13. ross Says:

    I upgraded to office 2010 at work….

    Because Power Point is much better in 2010.

  14. Harlan Grove Says:

    One of the BIG problems we’ve been having with the group testing legacy workbooks under Excel 2010 is the frequency of these people saving XLS files with macros in XLSX file format, thus killing off the macros/modules/bulk of functionality. Naturally IT refuses to alter the default configuration to make either XLSM or XLSB the default file format for saving workbooks, so the Excel 2010 transition is looking a lot more difficult than it should be.

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