For this lesson I need to open a new blank Excel 2013 Workbook.
Let's now view the file formats supported by Excel. So I'll click the File button at the top left hand side of the screen, then Save As in the left hand Menu Bar. Then Computer, and then the Browse button. And I'll click the Dropdown arrow to the right of the Save As Type drop-down.
You can see that there are many different formats in which I can save a workbook. We're going to discuss the most common and most important file formats.
First of all, the Excel Workbook format. This is also called the Open XML format. Before Office 2007 was released, every program stored its information on the hard disk in a completely different way. These incompatible formats are called Binary Formats, and they made it very difficult to write applications that could be used together. All of this changed when the new Open XML format was introduced. Microsoft published exactly how the format works and gave it away free to the world's developer community. This allows other programs to easily work with Excel Workbook files. For example, the Apple iPhone supports Office Open XML email attachments, so most of the time you'll want to save your files in the Excel Workbook format.
But notice there's also an Excel 97-2003 Workbook format. This is the old format that used to be used before Excel 2007 was released. Very few people in the world now use Excel 2003 and earlier, but if you did have to share a file with such a user, you'd need to save it in the old Excel 97-2003 format.
Now let's talk about the Excel Macro-Enabled Workbook. An Excel Macro-Enabled Workbook is simply a workbook that has program code (called VBA Code) embedded within it. Macros are beyond the scope of this course, but are covered in the Excel Expert Skills course in this series. While Macro Code is very powerful it can also be destructive, as it's extremely simple to write damaging viruses within Excel Macro Code. Versions of Excel before Excel 2007 could potentially allow a workbook to infect your machine with a macro virus, because all Excel files were capable of carrying macros. Because the formats are now separate, it's easier to avoid opening potentially infected files.
Now let's look at the Excel Binary Workbook Format. It's very unusual to use this format, but it does have one advantage over the others. If you're working with a very large workbook, it can take a long time to open or save it. The Excel Binary Workbook will open and save a lot faster. So if you do find yourself working with a huge workbook and it's taking a long time to open and save, you might want to consider using the Excel Binary Workbook format.
Now let's move onto an extremely useful format: the PDF format. If you need to send a worksheet to a user who doesn't own a copy of Excel, you can save it in PDF format. It stands for Portable Document Format. This format was invented by Adobe and it's also sometimes called Adobe Acrobat, or simply Acrobat. Adobe provides a free reader program for PDF files and most users will already have this installed on their computer. If you send a user a PDF file, they'll be able to read and print but not change the worksheet.
It's probably also worth mentioning the XPS Document Format at this stage. This format isn't widely used, but it's a Microsoft-developed alternative to the Adobe PDF format.
You can see that there's also many other less commonly used formats supported by Excel 2013, but the formats we've discussed are the only ones you'll normally encounter.
The most important thing to remember is that, unless there's a good reason to use a different format, you should always save workbooks in the default Excel Workbook format.
I'll now click Cancel to close the dialog, Back button, and I'll close Excel.
And you've now completed Lesson 1-7 Understand Common File Formats.