Freeware for accessing Excel spreadsheets
Microsoft Excel Viewer is a free program that enables you to view and print spreadsheet documents created in Microsoft Excel without having the program installed on your PC. With an Excel-style interface, this official Microsoft-developed app allows you to view your documents in a familiar fashion, but not edit them.
A straightforward program
Microsoft Office is arguably the most popular suite out there today, and most businesses make use of Microsoft Excel to create spreadsheets daily.
However, the Office suite is pricey, so, luckily, there is a way to view Excel files without paying for, configuring, and setting up the application.
With Microsoft Excel Viewer, you can open, view, and print out Excel files for free. Since it's the official app developed by Microsoft to facilitate people's handling of spreadsheets, it is guaranteed to be safe.
Note that Microsoft will suggest installing extra pieces of software during the installation of Microsoft Excel Viewer. Check the policy before you agree to anything.
What can you do with Microsoft Excel Viewer?
This program has a straightforward interface that enables you to open and read spreadsheets with a few clicks of buttons. All you need to do is open the program, find the file you want to view, and open it.
Unfortunately, though, you can't edit or change documents in any way using this software.
You can't make a new spreadsheet or save them, either, only print.
Since its functionalities are so basic, though, it’s super lightweight. The hardware resources it uses are quite low. It won't slow down your system, and it will work with any Excel version.
Microsoft Excel Viewer uses the ribbon design of the official program, so it looks as if you're using Excel itself. Once you launch the app, it's super easy to grasp and use.
There is a dedicated tool for printing Excel files within the app. It includes a page set up, all with margins, page orientation, and more, as well as a preview window. It is also possible to copy a certain amount of text or define a small printing area.
Alternatives at your disposal
Microsoft Excel Viewer is, in theory, super handy. However, it severely limits you, and many alternatives that don't do so exist.
For example, you could use OneDrive, cloud storage by Microsoft. It comes with an Excel Web App feature that opens spreadsheets through your browser and allows you to edit the file.
Google's take on spreadsheets is another option that allows you to import and export Excel spreadsheets quickly and with ease. You can access Google Spreadshets as long as you have a Google account.
Zoho Sheet is another method of accessing spreadsheets through a web browser using URLs or direct uploads from your computer. Finally, if you wish to view and edit documents offline, OpenOffice is an excellent open-source alternative.
Additional features and issues
You can view the latest versions of Excel Workbooks using this program, but the newest features won't display.
The Viewer supports all file formats from Excel. You can only get the 32-bit version of the app, but it also works on 64-bit OS. However, you can't run macros using the program, although it's possible to open Macro-enabled files.
As regards sparklines, you won't be able to see them in this Viewer, but only blank cells in their places.
When it comes to slicers, they don't display any data in the Viewer. You'll only see a message notifying you about the error.
So, all in all, Microsoft Excel Viewer covers all the essential Excel features but is lacking for more complex spreadsheets.
Per Microsoft's official statement, this program, just like all others, only collects your data to improve your experience and never sells it to third parties. Moreover, they encrypt all your files to ensure security.
Too many limitations
Microsoft Excel Viewer is a helpful tool to have if you aren't an Excel user and want to view a spreadsheet. However, many alternatives exist that give you a much more considerable level of control over the file you're viewing, even without the Microsoft Office suite.