SharePoint Application Blog

The Excellence of Excel Services in SharePoint: Part 1

excel servicesWhat is Excel Services and what is it used for? Among its multiple advantages and capabilities, it allows Excel workbooks that are uploaded to SharePoint to be shared, secured, managed, and used directly inside of a browser. This means that Excel spreadsheets can be viewed and manipulated by users without Microsoft Excel installed on the local machines.

In terms of Business Intelligence (BI), Excel Services in SharePoint provides a simple-to-use reporting tool for end users. Excel workbooks can be connected to a variety of external data sources, including SQL Server databases and SQL Server analysis services cubes. Once connected to a data source, the workbook can then be refreshed so that users are always looking at the most current data.

End users can interact with Excel spreadsheets in a SharePoint library by sorting, filtering, expanding, and collapsing Pivot Tables and passing in parameters. This allows analysis and sharing of data without the need for Excel to be installed locally.

Excel Familiarity Leads to Ease of Use in SharePoint

One of the biggest advantages to using Excel Services as your organization’s reporting tool is that many users these days are already familiar with Excel at some level. This translates to a much shorter learning curve in terms of users being able to create and navigate Excel Services reports.

Excel Services is the perfect tool for an end user or analyst who needs to share data or other content with multiple employees across an organization. It does this by providing a simple method for taking content in Excel 2013 and making it available in a browser. As with other aspects of SharePoint, it’s about the ability to quickly and easily share information of various forms across a broad spectrum of individuals and departments.

Excel Services can also be utilized to publish a generated model, such as a mortgage calculator, for example, that will be widely used. Excel Services make it easy for an author to publish specific, targeted content without making the underlying intellectual property available to consumers. It is just this kind of versatility that helps to give your organization the edge.

Excel Services in SharePoint allows users to directly save their workbook and publish their reports to a SharePoint site, which renders the workbook in the browser. This feature now supports a greater level of uniformity between the browser and the Excel client, as well as the full features of SharePoint, such as collaborative editing.

Employees can easily explore data, conduct analysis, and produce Excel Services reports that use SQL Server analysis services data. They can point to a value and a PivotChart or PivotTable report and see suggested ways to view additional information. Find out more about both these kinds of reports in Part 2 of this blog.

The streamlined Business Intelligence (BI) center is easy to use. Integration of mobile devices has not been overlooked. It delivers touch base data exploration and visualization capabilities through the browser on iOS, Android, and Microsoft-based mobile devices.

What’s the Difference between Excel Services and Excel Web App?

excel servicesThe Excel Web App allows users with a browser to view, create, and edit Excel spreadsheets without requiring the underlying Excel desktop application to be installed on the computer they are using. A further bonus is that using the Excel Web App enables collaboration by supporting multiple users editing the spreadsheet at the same time.

The Excel Web App operates collaboratively with other products to provide:

  • Edit and browser functionality
  • Grid interactivity
  • Multi-user collaboration
  • Browser editing sessions

Excel Services is a true champion of Business Intelligence. It allows you to create dashboards with web parts in SharePoint, connect to external data systems (like SQL Analysis Services), and also provides advanced BI functionality through Power View integration.

The Excel Web App, on the other hand, is part of the Office Web Apps and meant to provide browser-based spreadsheet functionality for editing documents. It’s a winning combination, as the two together provide the best of both BI and Excel capabilities for your company.

 

Crow CanyonScott Restivo has worked in the IT industry for over 20 years. A certified systems engineer, with CNE, MCSE, and CCNA designations, he consulted to major corporations and the military …read more

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Crow Canyon Software.

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