Getting Started with the SharePoint 2010 Excel Services

Microsoft Excel is the most popular spreadsheet application used in every office. As such SharePoint Server provides special support for it. In the current article, we will review SharePoint Excel Services and  publish a sample spreadsheet using Excel services.

Microsoft Office Excel is powerful but not perfect. For example if you want a colleague to preview the data they will need a compatible version of the Excel installed on their computer. In addition, if you send a spreadsheet containing complex calculations  you will probably reveal some internal information about your organization. Moreover, somebody may change these calculations and send the modified spreadsheet to a third party. But don’t worry – SharePoint 2010 Excel Services comes to your rescue. You can publish the spreadsheet on the web and other users will need only a web browser to view the data. If required they can change some of the cell values and this way you can publish templates which perform complex calculations but the end user will not be able to see how the calculations are performed.

The sample spreadsheet we are going to build will be used to calculate wages. You can jump quickly to Figure 7 and take a look what will be the final result. The logic is simple – input hourly rate and hours to calculate the payment. Although the final result looks like a custom made solution that requires highly trained software developer to do the job, everything is pretty simple to build and run. More importantly we will do everything without writing a single line of programming code.

The first step is to create the Document library where the Excel spreadsheet will be published. To do this, select the Site Actions menu and then choose  New Document Library as shown in Figure 1. A new dialog for creating Document library will appear (Figure 2). Enter “Wages” for the Name of the new library and optionally provide description. Select Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet for  Document template and leave all other options as they are as they are not relevant to the current example. Finally, click  Create and a new Document library will be created.

Figure 1 Create New Document Library

Figure 2 Document Library  Properties

Next, we need to prepare the Excel spreadsheet we are going to publish. Start  Microsoft Excel (this example uses Excel 2007 but later versions are fine as well) and type Hours for cell A1, Hour rate for cell A1 and Total for cell A3. Go to cell B3 and type “=B1*B2” (without the quotes). Then delete Sheets 2 and 3 (right click on the sheet name and choose delete). Rename Sheet 1 as “Wage Calc” by right clicking on the sheet name and choosing Rename from the context menu. The result should look like the one in Figure 3. You can fill some sample values for cells B1 and B2 to check if everything works as expected.

The next thing we need to do is to define some named cells. These cells will be modified later by the end user via the web browser interface. To do so select cell B1 and go to the Formulas tab. Then choose Define name.  A new popup dialog will appear. Enter “Hours” for Name and click OK (Figure 4). Do the same for cell B2 – select B2, press “Define name” from the Formulas tab and fill “HourRate” for Name. That’s it. We are ready to publish our spreadsheet to SharePoint using Excel Services.

Figure 3 Excel Formula

Figure 4 Naming Excel Cells

Publish an Excel SpreadSheet on Sharepoint 2010

To publish the spreadsheet we have just created, go to Excel Services from the  Publish menu as shown in Figure 5.
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