Consumers in fast-moving retail sectors including fashion and consumer electronics welcome trade-in programmes, as they help offset the prohibitive expense of staying up-to-date with always-desirable new products with ever-shorter life spans, and often ensure that outdated items get reused or recycled. Trading-in gives us the opportunity to quickly and conveniently unlock the value of our old products, while instantly getting our hands on new, improved versions.

To reinforce this, one US-based electronics trade-in site bought 2,000 iPads in the hour after the iPad 2 was launched. Indeed, almost all electronics brands offer trade-in schemes, and this is increasingly spreading to bricks and mortar retailers, too. And it's not just mobile phones and high-end printers that are being traded in. One global sportswear manufacturer ran a campaign to refresh your gear. Customers could get an amazing discount off of a new pair of shoes after trading in their old ones.

Whenever a new version of software is launched, it's always a priority to know what's new, and what works differently from the previous version. Excel 2010 offers improvements to the mathematical, financial and statistical functions. One noticeable change that Excel 2007 users will notice in Excel 2010 is that the Office button has now been replaced with the File tab.

New features include new functionality for visually displaying data such as Sparklines, additions to Pivot Tables, and the new Power Pivot add-in. There's a new version of Sparklines and the Slicer button. And Excel spreadsheets can now run in the web browser, meaning that you can work with workbooks directly on the site where the workbook is stored. There's also the option to share Excel via the browse and with other users and set special permissions on who can access the document.

As with the other programs in the Office 2010 suite, the Ribbon is here to stay in Excel 2010. The idea behind the Ribbon, which was introduced across the Office 2007 suite, was to make it easy for you to find commands and features that were previously buried in complex menus and toolbars.

Previously you could customise the Quick Access Toolbar in Excel 2007, but it wasn't possible to add your own tabs or groups to the Ribbon. In Excel 2010 you can now customise the Ribbon so that you can organise it to the way you work and with the commands you use most often. Customising the Ribbon is easy and allows you to move and add commands to suit your own needs. To access the customisation tools, simply right-click any tab on the Ribbon and select the Customise The Ribbon option.

A there's a new feature called Sparklines. Sparklines are small charts that visually show values and can be sorted into an individual cell. Sparklines give a visual snapshot image of a data trend over time within a cell. Sparklines allows you to insert similar graphic elements into sliced cells. They can show trends in a small amount of space, so they are especially useful for dashboards or other places where you need to show a snapshot of your business in an easy-to-understand visual format.

Pivot Tables, while not new, have been enhanced with Slicers. Slicers are visual controls that let you quickly filter data in a Pivot Table in an interactive, intuitive way. If you insert a Slicer, you can use buttons to quickly segment and filter the data to display just what you need.

In addition, when you apply more than one filter to your Pivot Table, you no longer have to open a list to see which filters are applied to the data. Instead, it is shown there on the screen in the Slicer. You can make Slicers match your workbook formatting and easily reuse them in other PivotTables, PivotCharts, and cube functions.

Slicers enable users to create tables that dynamically filter and segment data. Slicers also allow users to drop down in a Pivot Table to get the desired results, PowerPivot allows non-technical users to load large stat sets and perform complex reporting functions with the familiar Excel interface.

The advanced reporting and functionality is party enabled by the 64-bit support that was introduced in the 2010 release. The increase to 64-bit means that users can now handle large amounts of data due to the removal of the 4GB limitation on accessible memory. In short, you can now create larger workbooks with more rows, charts and Pivot Tables without being restricted by a slow PC. So if you're thinking of trading in your spreadsheet software - don't! Trade up to Excel 2010 instead.