Want to find out the key changes in Excel 2010? This article brings you details of the top ten changes to help you to get to grips with what's new in Excel 2010.

Change one: The Customisable Ribbon

The biggest change to Excel 2010 is that the Ribbon navigator, introduced with Excel 2007, is now fully customisable, so you can add or remove any command to or from any Ribbon Tab. You can also create your own tabs with any commands, so the entire Ribbon can be customised.

Change Two: The Backstage View

The new Backstage View, accessed by the new File Tab, replaces the Office Button in Excel 2007. The Backstage View contains all the Excel file management, Excel options, Help and security features.

Change Three: Recover unsaved files

Excel 2010 users can recover the most recently used file even if it was not saved. To set this, choose the File Tab, then Options, then Save. Under the "Save Autorecover..." box you'll see a new checkbox "keep the last autosaved version if I close without saving". Tick it to enable this really useful feature.

Change Four: New Sparklines

These are mini graphs which are placed in single cells. The Sparkline can show a mini chart in a single cell. The chart can be a line, column or Win/Loss bar (shows bar above and below zero) and you can set a Sparkline to data from a range of cells just as you would setup a regular chart. Sparklines are useful to show a trend or data comparison without having to create a separate graph.

Change Five: Pivot Table Slicers

Pivot tables have a new feature called Slicers. These allow you to filter the entire pivot table for one particular item. So if you have a pivot table setup showing various rows, columns and numerical analysis, then you can click the Slicers button to show a panel listing all the pivot table fields. Click on one of the fields in the panel and the entire pivot table is filtered to only show the data for that field. This would be particularly useful for pivot table showing large and relatively complex sets of data. For very large data sets, there's a new PowerPivot Excel add-in to allow fast data processing.

Change Six: Improved Graphics and Image Editing

Image and picture editing has been improved in Excel 2010 giving you features previously only found in image editing software. For example you can now editing colour saturation and colour temperature in addition to brightness, contrast and sharpness. You can also add artistic effects to an image such as sketch, drawing and texture effects. There's also a new one click screen capture feature right from within Excel. And there are additional SmartArt graphics which can include images within the graphics.

Change Seven: Improved Conditional Formatting

Excel 2010 contains additional icon sets for conditional formatting such as triangles, starts, boxes and more data bars, and you can also customise icon sets. You can also now set conditional formatting rules from other worksheets.

Change Eight: Improved Collaboration

Individuals or small business users can collaborate on Excel files stored on the web by using the new Excel web app. Users need a free Windows Live ID which allows them to save to up to 25G on the SkyDrive. Saved files can be marked for sharing as appropriate, allowing multi users editing at the same time.

For users in larger organisations using SharePoint, Excel 2010 files can be saved to the SharePoint 2010 server which allows multi user editing through appropriate permissions.

Change Nine: New Security Features

Excel 2010 has a new Protected View which is used if you open a file in from a questionable source such as the internet or from an email attachment. You can set Excel2010 to open files from trusted sources on your computer or a network share, or you can choose to open a protected view file.

Change Ten: Improvements to Solver Add-In

The Excel add-in Solver has been improved to allow the user to choose from different solving methods (non linear as well as linear for those who work in this area).

Additional Changes

There have been improvements to some of the more specialised Excel functions for example some statistical functions have been renamed and there is more accuracy for others.

There are a number of improvements to charts in Excel 2010 for example to be more easily built from large sets of data. If you're interested in macros, you can now include moving and resizing charts and editing chart formatting within the macro recorder actions.

There are changes to the Excel Paste feature. If you copy one or more cells in Excel 2010, then choose a target cell, you can choose the new Paste live preview lets you see how the various paste options such as values, formulas, formatting etc look prior to applying.

Other Excel improvements include the ability to add equations inside text boxes, and the use of additional themes and styles.

And there are more! To find out more about working with Excel 2010 why not attend a training course and really boost your skills to the next level.