Three Stand Out Features of Excel 2013

The latest version of Microsoft’s Office suite includes a more functional version of Excel. Some of the complex tasks can now be performed with much more ease because of tools like Recommended PivotTables and Recommended Charts. This article, however, elaborates on three novel features that Microsoft has incorporated into Excel 2013.


An Excellent Start Screen

The newly designed Start Screen scores highly when it comes to ergonomics and ease of use. The leftmost edge allows you access to all your recently used spreadsheets. If some of those files are called upon more frequently, you can simply pin them to the ‘Recent’ list for quicker access. There is also an ‘Open Other Workbooks’ option that lets you work on documents stored in a physical drive or a cloud. Talking of cloud, your SharePoint or SkyDrive account is also displayed on the right corner at the top. Although you can disable this Start Screen, there is no denying the fact that it does help in getting work done quickly.


You also have the choice of many templates to quickly get a project underway. Again, pinning of any particular template(s) is possible. Particularly impressive is the range of template choices users get. Things are also made easy thanks to the search suggestions by the suite itself.

Flash Fill

One of the brightest spots of the new Excel version, Flash Fill’s specialty is that it helps in predicting data entry. This allows the feature to learn the patterns associated with the entered data, which it then uses to further extrapolate and fill-in data that corresponds to the existing pattern. Seasoned Excel users will appreciate the fact that this solves many of the problems that users commonly face when working on Excel.


So if you have a task of extracting last names from a list containing full names, you can achieve the same by typing in the last name of the first entry and then using the Flash Fill option. Doing so will extract all the last names in that list into a separate column. The Flash Fill option can also be used for other similar scenarios like segregating months, years or dates from dates, extracting first or last names, or even joining them together. The need for formulas is negated altogether with this option.

New & Improved Backstage View

Already introduced in Office 2010, Backstage View in the new Excel can be accessed from the File menu. As for improvements, in the newest version, all your activities are displayed accurately which allows you to pick on an appropriate task.


Recently worked upon spreadsheets can be accessed through the Open tab and pinning of spreadsheets to this list is also possible. Access to SkyDrive and SharePoint is also made available from here. There is also an option to setup multiple SharePoint and SkyDrive accounts.

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