Excel for the web just got a big makeover – and it’s a lot easier to use

Microsoft Excel logo and branding pictured on a smartphone with a notepad and coffee cup.
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Microsoft has updated the web version of Excel with a raft of new features and a new user interface with added functionality, bringing it closer in line with its desktop counterpart.

The tech giant has added new features to the Mac and Windows versions of the spreadsheet app over recent weeks, including introducing checkboxes and support for the ODF 1.4 file format.

But now it’s focussing on bringing the web version of Excel up to speed with its desktop cousins, promising that the new user interface will streamline a number of common tasks.

In a blog post announcing the update, Microsoft claimed it has modernized the Excel grid with “a host of powerful features designed to make your spreadsheet tasks simpler, faster, and more enjoyable.”

The first of these updates is making it easier to resize rows and columns with fewer clicks. Now, users can simply hover over the border of a row or column header and then click and hold the handles to resize it.

Web users will also get simplified insert options, enabling them to add rows and columns by hovering over the respective header and clicking the small ‘plus’ circle that appears to insert a new column or row.

In a similar vein, users can also show hidden rows and columns with a single click by hovering over the respective header and hitting the small arrow symbols that will appear.

More Excel updates ease user experience

As part of the updates, Microsoft confirmed Excel for the web will now give users the ability to freeze panes for simplified navigation in larger spreadsheets. You can now pin important headers or columns to ensure they remain visible as you scroll.


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A new drag and drop feature should help users rearrange elements of their spreadsheet more easily, allowing you to drag and drop any selected row or column into another.

The final addition included in this update is the ability to highlight important cells, rows, or columns within Excel, a quality of life feature that promises to dramatically improve the readability of larger spreadsheets on the web.

Solomon Klappholz
Staff Writer

Solomon Klappholz is a Staff Writer at ITPro. He has experience writing about the technologies that facilitate industrial manufacturing which led to him developing a particular interest in IT regulation, industrial infrastructure applications, and machine learning.