Excel 2007 represents the greatest change in Excel since Excel 97. The most impact will be made by the new user interface, which uses the Ribbon as the primary navigation tool, replacing menus and toolbars. Although the Ribbon is probably much easier to digest for new users, it means that experienced users need to be re-educated. From a developer's point of view, the Ribbon is a major challenge requiring a whole new approach in application interfaces and a completely new set of programming rules.

Excel 2007 lifts many of the old limits, supporting 1,048,576 rows and 16,384 columns, for example. There are many changes to the way features are accessed so that PivotTables and charts are more accessible and easier to manipulate, as are many other features.

The List feature of Excel 2003, which handles database tables, has become the Table feature in Excel 2007 and is easier to use and has more capabilities. Sorting and filtering have been redesigned. You can sort on up to 64 keys simultaneously, for example. Enhancements have also been made in the range of external data sources that are now accessible, and the ways in which the data is accessed have been improved.

New file formats are used in Excel 2007, which are not compatible with previous versions although data can be saved back to older formats with the loss of any new features. If you want to have VBA code saved with a workbook, the format of the file is different compared with a standard workbook file.

Security concepts have been redesigned, introducing the Trust Center. You can now designate folders as "trusted," and macros in these folders will be allowed to run without needing digital certificates.

For a VBA programmer there are a number of new objects to be discovered and new concepts to be learned.

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