Course summary: Make the switch to Excel 2013

Just start working

Open a file from Excel 2003, or click File > New.

The ribbon

Instead of menus, the ribbon gives you tabs with groups of commands. The tools you use most are on the Home tab. Click Insert to add a chart or PivotChart. Click Page Layout to set page sizes, margins, and print areas. Use the Formulas tab to add formulas. Use the Data tab to connect to other data sources. Go to the Review tab to add comments and protect a worksheet or workbook. And check out the View tab to freeze or unlock rows or columns.

Save your files

Click File > Save As. Select a location for your file and click Save. If you use Office 365 or OneDrive, click Add a Place, click the service you want to use, then log in.

Use files between versions

Excel 2003 files should open and run in 2013. Files created in 2013 but saved in the 2003 format, then opened in 2003 may look different. And any features unique to 2013, such as the Quick Analysis Lens, are not available in Excel 2003.


When you create a table or chart, Excel gives you a Styles gallery. Point at a style to see a live preview.

Contextual tabs

Some tabs appear and disappear, depending on what you’re doing. For example, when you click a table, the Design tab appears until you click outside the table.

Convert to other Excel formats

Convert an Excel 2003 file to Excel 2013

  1. Click File > Info > Convert.

  2. Use the Save As dialog to save the file.

Convert an Excel 2013 file to Excel 2003

  1. Click File > Info > Check for issues > Check Compatibility.

  2. Click OK to close the compatibility checker.

  3. Click File > Save As, click a location, and in the Save As dialog, open the Save As type list and click Excel 97-2003.

See also

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