New interface


A lot of small changes have been made to the Excel 2013 user interface.


Modern User Interface (UI)

First time you open Excel, you could be surprised to discover new colors. Only 24 colors are used in the ribbon and the Excel window presentation. 24 is not a lot but in fact, the reduced colors will help to set off your data.

As you can see in this screenshot, when your document has a lot of data, charts, or conditional formatting, you notice them much more than the menu or the Excel interface and this is really important for your presentation.


All names of the ribbon tabs are now in uppercase.

First / Last worksheet

In this version, these 2 classical buttons have been removed. Studies found that very few people used them so Microsoft has decided to remove these buttons.

Nevertheless, you can easily get to the first and the last worksheet by

  • holding down the Ctrl key and clicking the arrow
  • click and hold down the mouse button

Insert a new worksheet

Next to the last worksheet tab, you can see this icon.


There is a major difference to the previous versions: the new worksheet is no longer added after the last sheet but always after the active sheet.

In this example, you can see 3 worksheets. The first one is active. When you click on the icon “add a new worksheet”, the new worksheet will be added after Sheet1 and not after Sheet3 at the end.

Split screen

At the top and bottom of the scroll bars, the split screen icons have been removed. To freeze the pane of your worksheet, you need to click Freeze Panes on the VIEW ribbon.


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    • Tom on 18/12/2014 at 17:28
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    Office 2013 is absolutely horrible. Microsoft loves to change everything and make auto format screw everything up – automatically. Who wants to re-learn how to use these programs for every new release? I spend so much time trying to find a way to work around their “new and improved” features.
    “Lets remove all the buttons they’re used to and completely change the way the program behaves! That’s what customers want!” The auto format, lack of familiar buttons, and moving settings/menus is a pain and totally unnecessary. Why aren’t these features options?

    They could probably make a lot of money selling a version that they don’t change anything in. I know I would pay just to not have to play the ‘relearn how to do your job’ game.

    Bravo Microsoft. “If it ain’t broke- fix it till it is”

    1. Office 2013 is a great tool for BI (Power Query, Power Pivot, Power View, …). I know that it disturb at the beginning but it is much better than Office 2010 … for me

    • Tina on 11/12/2014 at 19:09
    • Reply

    I agree with Michael. I used the icons in just about every spreadsheet I touch. Microsoft, bring back the split icon – Pa’lease.

    • Nathan on 31/03/2014 at 16:29
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    For what it’s worth, Splitting the screen and Freezing Panes are two different things.

    • Michael on 19/03/2014 at 02:11
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    Hi, yes I have just recently been ‘upgraded’ to this new version of office at work and am currently in the standard procedure of spending hours looking for workarounds to everything Micro$oft have stuffed up in this new version. The outright removal to the scroll to first/last sheets buttons is a joke, I don’t care is ‘studies’ have shown other people don’t use them, I DO, I use them about a million times a day. Why couldn’t you offer users a choice to hide or show them??

    • Mary on 12/02/2013 at 02:31
    • Reply

    How do I get rid of the “decorative” and screen hogging gray scale arrows and circles? Visually distracting and adds no useful information!

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