Explaining Excel Services


EXCEL SERVICES – By Don Pistulka




MOSS 2007 provides Excel Services as a shared service. Excel Services helps you integrate with the portal reporting features in MOSS 2007, view and work with Office Excel 2007 spreadsheets in a browser, and control access to spreadsheets.


Excel Services is not simply a server-side version of Excel.

You cannot use Excel Services to:

  • Author spreadsheets in the browser. The Excel Web part is designed only to display data and perform calculations.

  • Collaborate multiple users on a single spreadsheet at the same time. When multiple users access a spreadsheet through Excel Services, each user has his or her own environment.

  • Support all the Excel spreadsheets. When you view spreadsheets in a browser, some of the Excel 2007 features are not supported.

Excel Services supports Web browsers, Office Excel 2007, and custom applications as clients.

Web Browsers

When using a Web browser as a client, you can use Excel Services for the following:

  • Offload calculations using server-side spreadsheet calculation.

  • View and work with Excel spreadsheets on the server.

  • Limit user access to cells and formulas and enable remote access to a spreadsheet.

  • Visualize data by creating PivotTable and PivotChart dynamic views.

  • Create Business Intelligence portals by integrating with Report Center.

Office Excel 2007

When using Excel 2007 as a client, you can use Excel Services for the following:

  • Create snapshots of a spreadsheet.

  • Maintain a copy of the spreadsheet in a secure central place.

  • Secure and protect spreadsheet models and back-end data.

Custom Applications

When using custom applications as a client, you can use Excel Services for the following:

  • Simplify programming work by using the advanced calculation functionality available in Excel spreadsheets.

  • Increase maintainability of spreadsheets without modifying the application.

  • Increase maintainability because spreadsheets can be maintained without modifying the application.

  • Access Excel functionality.

The following table describes the Excel functionalities that you can access by using Excel Services.

Excel Functionality

Server-Side Excel Calculation

A custom application uses an Excel model as part of its logic for server-side Excel calculation. Each time the application needs to perform a calculation, it calls Excel Services, which performs the following functions:

  • Receives inputs from the custom application

  • Loads the specified Excel spreadsheet

  • Refreshes data and performs calculations to process the spreadsheet

  • Sends the results to the custom application

For example, you can use an Excel spreadsheet to store the model for evaluating credit ratings of loan applicants. Each time an applicant is evaluated, the custom application passes the criteria to Excel for calculation of the credit rating.

Server-Side Spreadsheet Automation

Excel Services also performs server-side spreadsheet automation for custom applications. Server-side spreadsheet automation is used to track the status of a spreadsheet over time. The spreadsheet extracts the data from another source, such as a database, and displays the required status. For example, a spreadsheet can pull inventory and order information from a database to display current inventory versus upcoming orders.

To perform server-side spreadsheet automation, Excel Services:

  • Receives inputs from the custom application.

  • Loads the specified Excel spreadsheet.

  • Refreshes data and performs calculations to process the spreadsheet.

  • Saves the resulting spreadsheet as a live spreadsheet or a snapshot.

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