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Excel 2007: About XML

Excel 2007: About XML

You’ve probably heard the term “XML” and simply dismissed it because it didn’t pertain to your work environment. Well, that’s about to change. The new Excel 2007 has XML-capabilities built-in and this is of great benefit to you even though you may not know it yet.

Now, there’s no doubt you’ve been working in Excel 2007 for some time now – otherwise, why are you watching this course? In that time, you may have noticed the new file extension. The default Excel 2007 file name extensions has an “x” at the end. This is your first clue that something is different – very different with the way files are saved.

That small “x” at the end of your file name extensions is what makes Excel 2007 files XML compatible.

So, since your files are saving in this way, it’s probably a good idea for you to get to know XML. Now, I’m not saying you have to do anything with it, yet. But, it will help you as you work with sharing with Excel data with other users to understand XML.

And, to understand XML is simply a matter of thinking about marking up. XML stands for Extensible Markup Language. If you’ve ever had a teacher correct a paper with a big, red pen, you’ve seen marking up in action. And, in computer terms, if you’ve ever used the Track Changes feature either in Excel or Word, you’ve used another form of marking up.

Well, in terms of XML, Excel is “marking up” your data. But, instead of telling other computers what’s wrong with the data, Excel’s use of XML tells other computers what’s right.

In fact, and this may be showing my age a little, if you’ve ever used WordPerfect 5.1 (Remember? Big Blue Screen & Reveal Codes?), you’ve seen computer markup in action. In the good ‘ol days of word processing, we used Reveal Codes to tell WordPerfect where to make text Bold or Italic.

XML is WordPerfect’s Reveal Codes on steroids.

In any case, behind the scenes, Excel is creating the XML, or markup language, for your data by storing tags or code that help other programs to read your data and display it properly. And, XML is platform-independent, meaning that any program built to use XML (like Excel), can read and process your XML data.

And, using XML format provides a great deal of benefit (at least to your IT people).

  • XML files are compacted and take up less space using a zip function.
  • XML files have improved damaged-file recovery. This means if you have a portion of a file that becomes corrupt, the remainder of the file is still accessible.
  • XML files offer more control over personal information. Personal information is typically stored in the structure of the document and with XML, that information can easily be removed before a file is shared.