The interface for Excel 2007 is substantially different than any earlier version of Excel and many users have been frustrated with the change. It is possible to upgrade with a minimum of inconvenience to your users if you prepare for the change.

Advanced Excel Courses Illustrate the Changes

It's more important than ever that employees receive full training on Excel right up through advanced Excel courses. While the interface might be intuitive to someone who has never laid hands on the software before, people used to doing things a certain way are going to have a hard time with it.

Excel instructors can show where everything went. They can guide users through the new ribbon interface so they can find all of their old functions easily. Users find it much easier to adapt to the new interface with some help rather than hunting around at random.

Along the way your employees might discover something new about the software. Advanced Excel courses are often full of tips and tricks that even experienced users weren't aware of.

Working With The Ribbon

The most obvious feature of the new Excel interface is "the ribbon". Everything is laid out where users need it, but some may be overwhelmed by all of the clutter. There are a couple of ways to handle this.

Pressing CTRL-F1 causes the ribbon to disappear, leaving behind just the tab names. This makes the interface look very much like the menus from old versions of Excel, not to mention opening up a lot more screen real estate. When users click on a tab, then ribbon reappears so they can select a command and then disappears again.

Each person uses different commands so one interface isn't going to be ideal for everyone which is why Microsoft included the Quick Access Toolbar. While this is covered in advanced Excel courses, some users don't understand just how powerful it is. Frequently used commands can be added to the small row of icons located above the tab bar so they are easy to find and access.

Learn The New Features

While many people find the learning curve a bit steep on the new version of Excel most agree, if somewhat reluctantly, that the new interface is easier to use once you get used to it.

Another advantage of advanced Excel courses is that instructors can show students more than just how to do the same old tasks. New features have been added that experienced users can easily overlook. Just like learning Excel the first time, users will be slow with the new functions at first but soon will find them making their jobs easier.

There is no question that Excel 2007 has the steepest transition learning curve of any of the previous versions of Excel. However once people get past the differences, they will find it has more to offer than past versions.