Microsoft Excel Version History

Microsoft Excel is the largest used Reporting and Data Analysis application now a days. Its important to know the Microsoft Excel version history since the version 1. The table below lists the various versions of Excel for Windows.

VERSIONRELEASEDDESCRIPTION
11985

Version 1, for the Macintosh was released. There never was an Excel 1.0 for DOS or Windows.

21987

Excel 2.0 is the first version of Excel for Intel platform.

31990

Included Toolbars, drawing capabilities, outlining, add-in support, 3D charts, and many more new features.

41992

The first “popular” version. Included lots of usability features.

51993

A major upgrade. Included multi-sheet workbooks. Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) was introduced in this version.

71995

Known as Excel 95. The first major 32-bit version of Excel. This is the first major version after Excel 5.0, as there is no Excel 6.0. Almost no external changes, but faster and more stable.

81997

Known as Excel 97. A new interface for VBA developers, UserForms, Data Validation, and lots more.

This was a major upgrade that introduced the paper clip office assistant and featured standard VBA used instead of internal Excel Basic. It introduced the now-removed Natural Language labels.

92000

Included in Microsoft Office 2000. This was a minor upgrade, but introduced the upgrade to the clipboard where it can hold multiple objects at once. The Office Assistant, whose frequent unsolicited appearance in Excel 97 had annoyed many users, became less intrusive.Can use HTML as a native file format, “self-repair” capability, pivot charts, modeless user forms.

102002

Known as Excel 2002. Included in Office XP. It has a long list of new features, but most of them will probably be of little value to the majority of users. Perhaps the most significant feature is the ability to recover your work when Excel crashes.

This version features product activation technology. Please consider the ramifications of this before deciding whether to upgrade. 

112003

Known as Microsoft Office Excel 2003. The new features in this version are:

  • Improved support for XML
  • A new “list range” feature. Most significant feature in this version
  • Smart Tag enhancements
  • Corrected statistical functions.

Most users will not find the upgrade worthwhile. 

122007

Included in Microsoft Office 2007. This release was a major upgrade from the previous version. Similar to other updated Office products, Excel in 2007 used the new Ribbon menu system. This was different from what users were used to, and was met with mixed reactions. One study reported fairly good acceptance by users except highly experienced users and users of word processing applications with a classical WIMP interface, but was less convinced in terms of efficiency and organisation. However, an online survey reported that a majority of respondents had a negative opinion of the change, with advanced users being “somewhat more negative” than intermediate users, and users reporting a self-estimated reduction in productivity. The new features included in this version are:

  • New Ribbon menu System. This was a major upgrade.
  • SmartArt set of editable business diagrams.
  • Improved management of named variables through the Name Manager
  • Much improved flexibility in formatting graphs, which allow (x, y) coordinate labeling and lines of arbitrary weight.
  • Several improvements to pivot tables were introduced.
  • Office Open XML file formats were introduced, including .xlsm for a workbook with macros and .xlsx for a workbook without macros.
  • Specifically, many of the size limitations of previous versions were greatly increased. To illustrate, the number of rows was now 1,048,576  and columns was 16,384. This changes what is a valid A1 reference versus a named range.
  • This version made more extensive use of multiple cores for the calculation of spreadsheets; however, VBA macros are not handled in parallel and XLL add‑ins were only executed in parallel if they were thread-safe and this was indicated at registration. 
142010

Included in Microsoft Office 2010, this is the next major version after version 12, as version number 13 was skipped.

Minor enhancements and 64-bit support, including the following features:

  • Multi-threading recalculation (MTR) for commonly used functions
  • Improved pivot tables
  • Pivot Table Slicers
  • More conditional formatting options
  • Additional image editing capabilities
  • In-cell charts called sparklines
  • Ability to preview before pasting
  • Office 2010 backstage feature for document-related tasks
  • Ability to customize the Ribbon
  • Many new Function, most highly specialized to improve accuracy 
152013

Included in Microsoft Office 2013, along with a lot of new tools included in this release:

  • Improved Multi-threading and Memory Contention
  • FlashFill
  • Power View
  • PowerPivot Add-In
  • Timeline Slicer
  • Slicer with Excel Tables
  • Ability to Save files in OneDrive
  • Windows App
  • Inquire Add-In
  • Charting Enhancements
  • Recommended Charts and Pivot Tables
  • 50 new functions
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