Differences between using a workbook in the browser and in Excel

Office 365 operated by 21Vianet enables you to use a workbook in a browser window. When you are viewing a workbook in a browser window, can typically use certain features, such as the ability to print and interact with items, similar to how you would use those features in Excel 2013. However, there are some differences between using a workbook in a browser window and in Microsoft Excel 2013.

Tip:  If a feature is unavailable in a browser window, try opening a workbook in Excel 2013.

In this article

Workbook file formats that are supported in a browser window

Workbook features that are supported for viewing in a browser window

Workbook features that can differ between the browser and the desktop

Workbook functions in Excel and in a browser window

Workbook file formats that are supported in a browser window

Workbooks in any of the following file formats can be viewed in a browser window:

  • Excel workbook (.xlsx)

  • Excel binary workbook file (xlsb)

  • OpenDocument Spreadsheet file (.ods)

  • Excel macro-enabled workbook (.xlsm)
    A workbook in this format can be opened but macros do not run in a browser window.

  • Excel 97- Excel 2003 Workbook (.xls) or Excel 97- Excel 2003 Template (.xlt)
    You can view a workbook in .xls or .xlt format. However, you cannot edit a workbook in this format in a browser window. When the file is edited, it is saved in .xlsx or .xltx format.

Workbooks in other formats, such as .csv format, are generally not supported for viewing in a browser window.

For more information about Excel 2013 file formats, see Save a workbook in another file format.

Top of Page

Workbook features that are supported for viewing in a browser window

When you view or print a workbook in a browser window, some features might work differently, as summarized in the following table.

This feature

Works like this in a browser window

Calculations

Calculations and calculation settings, including automatic, manual, and iterative calculation settings for ranges or worksheets work in a browser window similar to how they do in Excel.

Cells

Cells, including cell values, merged cells, and cell content overview, are displayed in a browser window similar to how they are displayed in Excel 2013.

Charts and tables

In general, charts and tables are displayed in a browser window similar to how they are displayed in Excel 2013. Exceptions include charts that are part of a group of charts, charts that rely on external references, and charts that use external data sources. PivotChart reports and PivotTable reports are not supported in Office 365 operated by 21Vianet.

Dates

Dates are displayed in a browser window similar to how they are displayed in Excel 2013.

External references

The last known value for an external reference is displayed in a browser window. External references must be updated using Excel 2013.

Formatting

Cell and cell-range formatting and number formats display in a browser window similar to how they are displayed in Excel 2013.

Functions

Most Excel functions work in a browser window as they do in Excel 2013. Exceptions are listed in the Workbook functions section of this article.

Line borders

Most, but not all, line borders are displayed in a browser window as they are displayed in Excel 2013. Line colors, continuous- and double-line styles, solid and dashed lines, and lines using thin, medium, and thick line weights are supported.

Sparklines

Sparklines display in a browser window similar to how they are displayed in Excel 2013.

Tables

Excel 2013 tables, including data, column headers, and total rows are displayed in a browser window similar to how they are displayed in Excel 2013.

Top of Page

Workbook features that can differ between the browser and the desktop

Some features work differently in a browser window than they do in Excel 2013. In addition, some workbook features can prevent a workbook from being viewed in a browser window.

Tip:  If you cannot view a workbook in a browser window because it contains unsupported features, try opening the workbook in Excel 2013.

This feature

Works like this in a browser window

Controls

Controls, such as ActiveX controls and form toolbar controls, prevent a workbook from being viewed in a browser window.

Data connections

External data connections are not supported.

Data validation

Workbooks that use data validation cannot be edited in a browser window.

Digital signatures

Workbooks that use visible or invisible digital signatures cannot be viewed in a browser window.

Fonts

Fonts are usually displayed using the same style and size in a browser as they are displayed in Excel 2013. If a workbook uses a specific font that is not available on your device, then another font might be substituted when a workbook is displayed in a browser window.

Functions

Some kinds of functions can behave differently in a browser window than they do in Excel 2013. For more information, see the Workbook functions section later in this article.

Legacy macro languages

Workbooks that contain legacy macro features, such as Microsoft Excel 4.0 Macro Functions and Microsoft 5.0 dialog sheets cannot be displayed in a browser window.

Save

When you or other people edit a workbook in a browser window, changes are saved automatically.

Shapes

Workbooks that contain shapes cannot be edited in a browser window.

Undo and Redo

When a workbook is edited by more than one person at a time, the Undo and Redo commands are not available in a browser window as soon as another user makes a change.

Worksheet protection or workbook protection

Workbooks that are protected cannot be viewed in a browser window.

XML

XML maps, XML embedded smart tags, and XML expansion packs prevent a workbook from being viewed in a browser window.

Workbook functions in Excel and in a browser window

Some workbook functions behave differently in a browser window than they do in Excel 2013. The following table summarizes how some functions work in Excel 2013 and in a workbook viewed in a browser window.

This function

Works like this in Excel

Works like this in a browser window

CHAR

Returns a character specified by a number. For non-printing characters, returns a block character.

Returns a character specified by a number. For non-printing characters, returns blank values.

HYPERLINK

Returns an active link that you can click and follow

Depending on the Workbook Interactivity and Workbook Navigation settings that are specified for a workbook, the HYPERLINK function can return an active link or an inactive link text string.

INFO

Returns the path of the current directory or folder on the computer.

Returns a #VALUE! error.

NOW

Returns the date and time on your computer

Returns the date and time on the server

RAND, RANDBETWEEN

Returns a random number each time it is used

Returns a random number each time it is used

RTD (real-time data)

Returns real-time data from a program that supports COM automation.

If values that have been returned by an RTD function are stored in a workbook, those values are displayed. If no values are stored in the workbook, a #N/A error is returned.

TODAY

Returns the date on your computer

Returns the date on the server

Top of Page

Share Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Email Email

Was this information helpful?

Great! Any other feedback?

How can we improve it?

Thank you for your feedback!

×