Getting Started with Excel Services and Excel Web Access

Excel Services makes it possible for you to view and interact with Excel workbooks (.xlsx and xslb file formats) in the browser, even if you do not have Excel installed on your computer. If Excel is installed on your computer, you can use Excel Services to publish a workbook on a SharePoint site. Then, you can share the workbook across your enterprise, and control access by using site permissions. Workbook data is secure, whether the data is stored with the workbook or comes from an external source such as a database. With Excel Services, you can maintain just one copy of an important workbook, instead of trying to manage many copies on many different computers. You can make sure that only trusted authors can change the workbook.

If you want to use all or part of the workbook on a dashboard or other site page, you can connect the workbook to an Excel Web Access Web Part. You can also customize the appearance and functionality of the Excel Web Access Web Part by configuring properties such as the size of area in which to display the workbook, which options appear on the toolbar, and the kinds of interaction that are available to the user (such as supplying input values for parameters and downloading). In addition, you can connect the Excel Web Access Web Part to other Web Parts, such as a Current User Web Part or a Filter Web Part.

In this article


What is Excel Services?

Excel Services is a SharePoint technology that extends Excel by using server technology. It lets a user access a workbook from the browser, while the server manages security and storage for the workbook and does any calculations that might be required. Users can navigate or sort and filter data in the workbook in the browser.

The workbook author can designate certain cells in the source workbook as parameters, which enables users to input values for run-time calculations. If the user’s computer has Excel installed and the user has appropriate permissions, the user can capture and save a snapshot of the workbook in the browser, or download the workbook and work on it in Excel.

Excel Services has three main components that work together to publish a workbook on a SharePoint site:

Overview of Excel Services

Callout 1 Excel Calculation Services     is the "engine" of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. It loads the workbook, calculates in full fidelity with Microsoft Excel 2010, refreshes external data, and maintains sessions. Excel Calculation Services performs calculations on the server; users cannot access functions and formulas directly.
Callout 2 Excel Web Access    is a Web Part. It can display all or part of an Excel workbook, and enables interaction with the workbook in a browser by using Dynamic Hierarchical Tag Markup Language (DHTML) and JavaScript. Because Excel Web Access is a Web Part, you can add it to a site page such as a team site, and then re-use on another page at any time with no need to download an ActiveX control to your computer. In addition, you can connect the Excel Web Access Web Part to other Web Parts, such as filters, charts, and lists.
Callout 3 Excel Web Services provides an application-programming interface (API) that developers can use to build custom applications based on the Excel workbook.

Because Excel Services is a SharePoint technology, you can take advantage of features such as security and access management, server-based performance management, and scalability.


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How do Excel Services and Excel work together?

When Excel and Excel Services work together, Excel is the authoring tool and Excel Services is a reporting tool. That is, you create a workbook in Excel, and then save the workbook to a SharePoint site. Then you can open the workbook in the browser or use the workbook in a Web Part.


How  Excel Services and Excel 2007 work together

Callout 1 A workbook author uses Excel to create the workbook. The author can choose from many different Excel features, such as tables or PivotTables, charts, and filters. In addition, the author can specify named items for selective viewing, or define parameters to accept user input from Excel Services.
Callout 2 The workbook author saves the workbook to a document library (or to a network or Web folder), where it is managed and secured by an administrator.
Callout 3 The workbook author and other users can create reports and Web Part Pages that use the workbook.
Callout 4 Many business users can access the workbook by viewing it in a browser. If the author created external data connections, users can even refresh the data. Administrators can control security and access to the workbook.
Callout 5 With appropriate permissions, users can copy the current state of the workbook and the results of any interactions (such as sorting and filtering) that happened during the current session to a local computer for further analysis in Excel.

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Interacting with a workbook in Excel Services

Although you cannot edit the data in an Excel workbook in Excel Services, you can interact with the data in a number of ways. The following table provides a list of articles that might help you start interacting with a workbook in Excel Services.

Article Description
Open a workbook in the browser Learn how to open a workbook in the browser for viewing, or how to open it in Excel for editing.
.Calculating formulas in browser-based workbooks View the latest formula results by recalculating data in the workbook
Refresh external data in a browser-based workbook Refresh live data from an external data source, such as a database or an Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) cube.
Sort data in a workbook in the browser Sort information in workbook columns
Filter data in a workbook in the browser Use filters to select only the values that match your criteria.
Find text, numbers, or dates in workbook in the browser Use Search to find target values in the workbook.
Using charts and PivotChart reports in a workbook in the browser Make the workbook more useful by incorporating charts or Pivot Table reports.
Using parameters in a workbook in the browser Temporarily change the values of cells by entering values for parameters to update the results of a formula or do simple what-if analysis.
Print an Excel workbook from the browser Copy the workbook to Excel, and then use all the features of Excel, for well-formatted printing.

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Publishing a workbook to a SharePoint site

To publish a workbook to a SharePoint site, you must first create the workbook in Excel. You can include many Excel features such as tables, charts, and PivotTables.

 Tip    Excel Services supports most Excel features, although it supports some in a slightly different way. For more information about supported and unsupported features, see Differences between using a workbook in the browser and in Excel.

The following table provides a list of articles that can help you publish a workbook to Excel Services.

Article Description
Publish a workbook to Excel Services Describes how to publish a workbook, and how to use options such as parameters and named items
Roadmap for publishing an Excel workbook as "one version of the truth" Provides an end-to-end view of publishing a workbook, which includes configuring administrative settings
Edit or remove a workbook from Excel Services Describes how to edit a published workbook

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Connecting to external data

An Excel workbook might store all data with the workbook, or it might use data connections to access externally stored data. When you publish a workbook to Excel Services, data storage is similar, whether the workbook is stored in a document library, or used in an Excel Web Access Web Part. Some workbooks in Excel Services store all the data in the workbook, and other workbooks have one or more connections to external data sources, such as a database or OLAP cube.

A data connection includes information about how to locate, log in, query, and access the external data source. Although connection information can be stored in the workbook, often it is stored in an Office Data Connection (.odc) file, especially when many users share the data and you might need to update the connection information periodically. The workbook author or an administrator can create the connection information by using Microsoft Excel to author the connection, and then export the connection information to an .odc file. For more information about how to author connections to external data in an Excel workbook, see Overview of connecting to (importing) data.

To make it easier to store, secure, share, and manage .odc files, an administrator can specify a SharePoint Server 2010 Data Connection Library as a trusted location library (DCL). Then, an administrator can manage any revisions to the connection information from a single central file, such as a change from a test server to a production server. A refresh operation, whether on the client or server computer, gets up-to-date changes to that connection file. You can even set up SharePoint Services and a user's client computer to detect changes to the connection file automatically. For more information about data connection libraries, see Share and manage connections to external data.

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Excel Services and Information Rights Management

Information Rights Management (IRM) is a technology that protects information from unauthorized access. IRM can provide protection for a document or workbook, and ensure only appropriate people view sensitive information. For example, you can use IRM to make sure that only select members of an executive committee can access certain financial data before the data becomes publicly available.

Windows SharePoint Services Version 3.0 or later supports IRM on a document library and all the documents in that library (whether or not those individual documents are enabled with IRM). When you upload a document to a document library that is enabled with IRM, the document, in effect, becomes IRM-enabled.

Excel Services will not load an Excel workbook that has been enabled with IRM or comes from a document library enabled with IRM. For more information, see Information Rights Management in Office 2010.

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