Comparing Excel Services and Excel Web App (SharePoint 2013)

In SharePoint Server 2013 on premises, you could be using Excel Services in SharePoint Server 2013 OR Excel Web App (as part of Office Web Apps Server) to view workbooks in a browser window, depending on how your SharePoint environment is configured. These applications are similar, but not identical.

What are the differences between Excel Services and Excel Web App?

Excel Services and Excel Web App all have a lot in common, but they are not exactly the same. These applications can differ in what workbook features are supported for viewing in a browser window. Some of the key differences are summarized in the following table by common tasks:

Task

Supported in Excel Services (SharePoint Server 2013, on premises)

Supported in Excel Web App (Office Web Apps Server, on premises)?

Create or edit a workbook in a browser window

No

Yes

View and interact with a workbook that contains a Data Model

Yes

No

Refresh data in a workbook in a browser window

Yes (in most cases)

Depends on the data sources. Workbooks that contain a Data Model are not supported.

View and interact with a workbook that contains a Power View sheet

Yes

No

View and interact with a workbook that contains a Power Map view

No

No

View and interact with items, such as PivotCharts, PivotTables timeline controls, and slicers

Yes

Yes, so long as those items do not use a Data Model as their data source.

View and interact with a workbook that contains calculated items (such as Calculated Fields, Calculated Measures, or Calculated Members)

Yes

See Calculated items in Excel and Excel Services.

Calculated Fields (created by using Power Pivot) are not supported.

Calculated Measures and Calculated Members are supported for viewing.

See Calculated items in Excel and Excel Services.

Display a single item from a workbook in its own Web Part

Yes

Yes

View a workbook in a browser window when the workbook is in a SharePoint library that has Information Rights Management (IRM) applied

No

You must open the workbook in Excel

Yes

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You might not know at first whether you’re using Excel Services on premises or Excel Web App on premises to view and interact with a workbook in a browser window. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to find out.

If you’re using SharePoint Server 2013 on premises, one good way to determine whether you’re using Excel Services or Excel Web App is to examine the website address (URL) for the workbook:

  • If the URL resembles “http://[servername]_layouts/15/xlviewer.aspx?id=/Documents/...” then Excel Services is used to render the workbook.

  • If the URL resembles “http://[servername]/_layouts/15/WopiFrame2.aspx?sourcedoc=/Documents/...” then Excel Web App is used to render the workbook.

    Important:  The decision about whether Excel Web App or Excel Services is used to display workbooks in a browser window applies to the entire SharePoint environment. You can’t have Excel Web App in one site and Excel Services in another. Contact your SharePoint administrator for more information about how your environment is configured. For more detailed information, see Excel Services Overview (TechNet).

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