Excel for iPad

With the introduction of Excel for iPad, the obvious question that comes to mind is around usability. But a lot more important topics also surface up in the background. And that is exactly the topic for today’s discussion. Let’s join Jordan Goldmeier, Oz du Soleil, Rick Grantham and our special guest Bill Jelen to see what future of Excel might hold!

1 – Excel for iPad – Overview

According to Bill, Microsoft has done an amazing job with it. Data Validation, Sparklines, Charts, Tables and 3D shapes, it’s all there. It cannot even be compared to the version that came out for iPhone. Moreover, for people working in the field with iPads, it will be easier than ever before to access data reports.

But before declaring it as an all-out win, we should keep in mind that Slicers (for tables and Pivot tables) are still missing. Ability to run Macros in any version of Excel for iPad is also missing. Moreover, hyperlinks to other sheets within your workbook may not work.

2 – Problems

Absence of Slicers implies that a useful dashboard will have to contain many complex functions like SUMIFs and a whole layer of protection to avoid breakdown in these formulas. But Bill is hopeful that Apple Experience team within Microsoft will bring the Mac/iPad version in-line with what we have for PC. This will mean, for example, that DAX-based PowerPivot and Power View (as part of a larger Power BI suite) will get introduced within a few versions.

3 – Future of Excel Technology

In terms of the near future of Excel technology, analysts and experts will still be using their PCs. But that would not keep people from consuming results and reports on their iPads.

As far as current Excel products are concerned, like dashboards, the future beholds something very different. VBA might not be developed any further since Microsoft has stopped working on Visual Basic 6 (what powered VBA). But since it is a legacy product, it will always be available.

The focus has shifted to sole development of Web Apps and Power BI using languages such as jQuery. And even though VBA is relatively much easier to use at present, the fast-paced development for other programming languages may mean that soon something will surpass VBA in terms of ease of writing code.

What’s next?

Do not forget to write your opinions on Excel for iPad to us in the comments section below. And share these awesome insights with your friends and colleagues.

Jamani Arsalan


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  • Great Great Discussion on Excel Development and VBA. ” If they were slinging data for 40 hrs a week then these things would be more important to the developers….” Bill Jelen… So True

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