Make the switch to Excel 2013

A first look at Excel 2013

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In this video, take an in-depth look at Excel 2013: from starting it up, to saving your file. Also learn how to convert your .xls file to an .xlsx file.

When you open Excel 2013 for the first time, this is what you see.

It’s a little different from the blank worksheet you're used to when you open Excel 2003.

In Excel 2013, you start by choosing what you want to do.

You can choose a template and create a new workbook, or open an existing workbook here.

Let’s see what happens when you open an Excel 2003 workbook.

It looks about the same, and it works about the same too. And all the basic tools and features you’re used to are still here.

You type and format text and numbers the same way. The commands are just organized differently.

You used to select a menu item; then click a command. Now you select a tab on the ribbon, and click a command.

By default, the HOME tab is selected when you first open Excel, and if you just want to get up to speed fast, this is where you’ll find the most common commands for working with your data.

For example, let’s select the header row and change the background color, and font color.

If you want to save time, you can click here and choose a cell style.

Notice that you can move the mouse over a Style and see a preview before you select it.

When it comes time to save your workbook, you can use the Save command up here, or you can use the familiar keyboard shortcut, CTRL+S.

What’s that? This is the Compatibility Checker.

It appeared because we are saving an .xls file that was created in Excel 2003.

And it has found that the formatting we just added might not look right when we open the file in an older version of Excel.

Click Continue to save the file anyway.

Now let’s see how the file looks in Excel 2003. In this case, everything seems to be okay.

So, let’s take a closer look at the message that appeared. It comes up every time we save the file.

You can clear this checkbox to make the message go away.

But, as you can see up here, you are running in Compatibility Mode, because Excel is saving the file in the old xls format.

Excel will essentially work the same as it always has. But, you’ll miss out on a few new features: like for example, when we select a chart, this button would normally show a list, Chart Styles we could use.

But because we’re in the compatibility mode, that feature is unavailable.

So, if you don’t need to open the file in Excel 2003, the best thing to do is convert it to the new xlsx format. And here’s how to do that.

Click the FILE tab to go to the backstage. With Info selected here, click Convert. Click OK to perform the conversion. And then, click Yes to reopen the workbook so that you can use the new features.

Now, when we select the chart, we have a whole range of Chart Styles to choose from. Again, you can preview the styles before you select one.

We’ll get into compatibility mode in more detail in the final video.

So you’re well on the way to making the switch to Excel 2013. Now stick around, and we’ll do more. In the next video, you’ll see how things are organized in Excel 2013.

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