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Unsupported Features in Excel Services

Microsoft Office Excel 2007 is feature-rich. It is not possible to support every Excel 2007 feature in the first version of Excel Services. In deciding which feature to support, priorities are given to features that are needed in key Excel Services scenarios, and to making sure Excel Services is a server-grade service that will meet customers' expectations in terms of reliability, scalability, and security.

Future versions of Excel Services will support more features of Excel 2007.

Categorizing Unsupported Features

The unsupported features are grouped into four different categories to make it easier to discuss them. The four categories are as follows.

Features that Prevent Excel Files from Loading

In some cases, when Excel Services does not support an Excel 2007 feature, Excel Services will not load the file. For example, Excel Services does not support running Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), so it will not load files with VBA in them.

Features that Are Not Displayed

In some cases, Excel Services does not display an object in a workbook that has full fidelity with Excel 2007. For example, charts in Excel 2007 have new visual effects, but those effects are not visible when viewed using Excel Web Access.

Features with Limited Interactive Support

Not all features that you can interact with using Excel 2007 are fully supported in Excel Services. For example, users cannot add or rearrange fields in PivotTable reports when working with workbooks in a browser.

Authoring Workbooks

You cannot author an Excel workbook using Excel Services. This means, for example, that you cannot insert a chart or change a formula once the workbook is opened in Excel Web Access.

Features that Prevent Excel Files from Loading

Excel workbooks that contain or use one or more of the following features will not load in Excel Services.

  • Code. This includes workbooks with VBA macros, form controls, toolbox controls, Microsoft Excel 5.0 dialog sheets, and XLM macro sheets.


    Excel Services supports user-defined functions that are written in managed code. Native code add-ins like XLL files are not directly supported. However, you can use "wrappers" to call the native code functions.

  • Information Rights Management (IRM) protection.

  • ActiveX controls.

  • Embedded smart tags.

  • PivotTables report with multiple consolidation ranges.

  • External references (workbooks that contain links to other workbooks).

  • Workbooks saved in formula view.

  • XML expansion packs.

  • XML maps.

  • Data validation.

  • Query tables, SharePoint lists, Web queries, and text queries.

  • Workbooks that reference add-ins.

  • Workbooks that use the RTD() function.

  • Workbooks that use workbook and worksheet protection.

  • Embedded pictures or clip art.

  • Cell and sheet background pictures.

  • AutoShapes and WordArt.

  • Ink annotations.

  • Organization charts and diagrams.

  • DDE links.


One easy way to find out whether a workbook contains any of the previously listed features is by publishing the workbook to a document library. When you publish a workbook to a document library, you have the option of viewing the published workbook in a browser. If features in the Excel 2007 workbook are not supported by Excel Services, you will receive an error message.


The unsupported features listed in the following sections do not prevent Excel Services from loading a workbook. Instead, they limit how a specific feature is displayed in Excel Web Access as compared to Excel 2007.

Features That Are Not Displayed

Workbooks that contain one or more of the following features will load in Excel Services, but the features will not be displayed. The features won't be removed from the file, so the next time you open the file in Excel 2007, they will be displayed again.

  • Split and frozen panes

  • Headers and footers

  • Page layout view

  • Cell patterns

  • Zoom

  • Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services' member properties in ScreenTips

  • Some cell formatting, such as diagonal borders and border types not supported by HTML

Excel Services displays all charts that were created using Excel 2007. However, depending on how the charts are designed, some minor visual differences occur when some charts are displayed using Excel Web Access. For example, Excel Web Access cannot show new chart effects such as shadows, bevels, and reflections.

Features with Limited Interactive Support

Certain features that are interactive in Excel 2007 are not completely interactive in Excel Web Access.

  • PivotChart reports

    PivotChart reports are not interactive when displayed in a browser. You cannot filter a PivotChart report directly, but if you interact with the PivotTable report that supplies data for the PivotChart report, the PivotChart report updates accordingly. This means if you filter the PivotTable report, the PivotChart report updates to show the filtered data set.

  • PivotTable reports

    You can sort, filter, expand, and collapse data in PivotTable reports in a browser, but you cannot use SQL Server Analysis Services actions, add or remove fields, or rearrange fields.

  • Go To

    In a browser, you can use the named range object view or the provided navigation controls to move around a workbook. However, there is no Go To feature.

  • Zoom, minimize, and maximize

    Users cannot zoom, minimize, or maximize worksheets when viewing them in the browser.

  • Switching to page layout view

    Page layout view is a new view in Excel 2007. You cannot switch to this view when viewing a workbook using Excel Web Access. Page layout view is designed to facilitate printing. If you want to print a workbook, it is best to use Excel 2007.

  • Goal Seek and Scenario Manager

    You cannot use Goal Seek or Scenario Manager when viewing a workbook using Excel Web Access.

  • Formulas

    You cannot audit formulas using trace precedents, trace dependents, show formulas, and so on.

  • Changing a workbook's calculation mode

    You cannot change a workbook calculation mode using Excel Web Access.

  • Watch window

    You cannot use the Watch window when using Excel Web Access.

Authoring Workbooks

You cannot author a workbook using Excel Services. Examples of "authoring" actions include:

  • Inserting a new worksheet.

  • Inserting a chart.

  • Creating a table.

  • Inserting a PivotTable report.

  • Inserting a PivotChart report.

  • Editing formulas.

  • Entering data into arbitrary cells.

  • Defining named ranges.

  • Changing cell formatting.

  • Altering conditional formatting rules.

  • Grouping and ungrouping.


    You can interact with groups if they have been defined in Excel 2007.

  • Creating outlines.


    You can interact with outlines if they have been defined in Excel 2007.

  • Defining consolidated ranges.

  • Converting text to columns.

See Also


Walkthrough: Developing a Custom Application Using Excel Web Services


Excel Services Overview
Excel Services Development Roadmap
Excel Services Alerts
Excel Services Error Codes
Excel Services Known Issues and Tips
Excel Services Best Practices