If you go to see a theatrical performance, a music concert or pretty much any live event the chances are that what you take away with you will be the action that unfolds before you on the stage. And this is how it should be. It is what you have paid your money for and what you are expecting. But there is another aspect to the event that you may not even consider, namely the lengths gone to behind the scenes to ensure that the play moves you or the band rocks sufficiently. The technical stuff may not be hugely exciting but it is absolutely essential and without it the spectacle you have enjoyed would simply not happen.

This may seem like a strange metaphor to use at the beginning of an article about Microsoft Excel 2010 but it is not for nothing that Microsoft have chosen to call their substitute File menu Backstage View. This terminology acknowledges the technical work that goes on in order to create, organise and assimilate the spreadsheets, charts and tables that look so impressive on your computer screen.

Microsoft made a radical decision in their 2007 version of Excel by introducing the controversial Ribbon interface which abandoned the traditional method of navigational menus in favour of separate functionality tabs. This in turn meant that the drop down File menu was abolished and instead transferred to the Office button, a move that confused and infuriated users in equal measure.

Well, Microsoft have learned their lesson and the Office button is no more. The File menu returns in Excel 2010 as Backstage View and what this essentially means is that the original functionality of the File menu is not only restored but also expanded and clarified. When selected Backstage View takes over the entire screen, providing handy thumbnails of the document currently under construction as well as laying out all the familiar options in the most accessible and uncluttered way possible.

One of the most useful innovations within the Backstage View is the Print pane which allows you to preview exactly what the spreadsheet will look like without having to waste time and paper printing it out every time you make an alteration. By zooming in and out of specific data and flicking from one page of the spreadsheet to another you can get a clear understanding of how the spreadsheet will look as a physical print-out and also easily modify any data within the particular document.

Backstage View is not exclusive to Excel as many of the premier programs in Microsoft's Office 2010 suite also make use of its comprehensive and accessible features. But because of the large amounts of fiddly data that spreadsheets tend to incorporate the clarity that Backstage View provides is most useful for Excel. In order to put Backstage View in context alongside other features within the 2010 version of the program it is advisable to enrol on a course where the full benefits of Microsoft Excel 2010 will become apparent.