Excel Services with Excel 2003
You don’t actually need the Excel 2007 client installed in order to create and deploy Excel workbooks that can be used in Excel Services in MOSS 2007. In order to use Excel Services, you *do* need MOSS Enterprise 2007. And workbooks used by Excel Services *do* need to be in Excel 2007 format, but as long as you have the Office 2007 Compatibility Pack installed, you can use Excel 2003 to save your workbook in a compatible Excel 2007 format.
One of the capabilities provided by Excel Services is displaying a specific range of cells or a specific chart on a web part page in Sharepoint. The behavior and implementation of how you setup these named areas is slightly different between Excel 2007 and Excel 2003. With Excel 2003 it provides a default name for each chart that is created. This looks like “Chart 1″, “Chart 2″, etc. You can override this name by selecting the chart object and entering a new name in the Name Box field, which appears by default in the top left portion of the screen.
Note that the trick to selecting the chart object so that you get this Name Box populated with the actual name of the chart is to hold down the Ctrl key while clicking the chart. Otherwise you’ll end up selecting a particular element of the chart (e.g., Chart Area, Plot Area, etc.). This is slightly different behavior than Excel 2007, and it drove me nuts trying to figure this out.
To get a range of cells to be a named area, simply select the range of cells and type in a name in the Name Box. To change the name you need to select the identical range of cells before the Name Box will populate with your name to change. Again, not obvious.
Save As Excel 2007 Workbook
Once you’ve done this, simply save your Excel workbook in the Excel 2007 Workbook format with the Save As menu item.
You can then upload this workbook file into your Sharepoint document library, like any other file you might want to make available in a library. I won’t go into details on Trusted File Locations, but you do need to have your document library setup as trusted in Sharepoint Central Admin in order for Excel Services to display your workbook in the web part or a web page. Also note that there are a variety of unsupported features and requirements that you need to keep in mind when preparing your workbook for Excel Services consumption.
Sidebar – Excel 2007 Publish Option
Excel 2007 provides you with a an alternative approach to making your workbook available to Excel Services. It has the idea of “publishing” your workbook to Excel Services. You’ll see a new menu item for this in the Excel 2007 client.
When you select this option you basically get the same Save As dialog, but with a couple of extra options. One of which is the Excel Services Options button.
Clicking this button presents a dialog where you can restrict which specific worksheets, named range of cells, or specific charts you want to make available for viewing in Excel Services.
In the text of this dialog it reiterates that what you are specifying is really only restricting what is seen in the browser view of the document. A user with privileges to open the workbook in their Excel client will be able to see the entire contents. All that Excel is really doing when you specify these options is adding some metadata to the file so that Excel Services knows what to show in the browser view of the workbook. So don’t think of this as a high level of security control over the contents. However, you actually can restrict users to only opening the workbook in the browser view by only granting them View Only access in Sharepoint (instead of Read, for example).
This Excel Services Options dialog is also used to specify specific cells that you want to make available as Parameters in Excel Services.
‘Show’ and ‘Parameters’ – Not Features in Excel 2003
Note that these two features in the Excel Services Options dialog are two features you will not be able to support if you’re using Excel 2003 to create your workbooks for Excel Services. So, if that’s important to your solution, then you’ll need to upgrade to the Excel 2007 client.
Excel Web Access Web Part
Once you have the workbook saved in the document library you can make it available on a Sharepoint page using the Excel Web Access web part.
Then modify the web part properties to specify the specific Excel 2007 file, and the named item/area.
The Named Item field corresponds to the Named Area within the Excel workbook, and will restrict what is actually shown in the web part on the page. You can use multiple instances of the Excel Web Access web part on the same page if you want to display multiple charts or multiple cell regions.
I’ll provide another post in the future that demonstrates how to hook up Sharepoint filters to dynamically control the named area shown.