Web pages are documents that contain special formatting codes known as HTML, or HyperText Markup Language. These formatting codes have been optimized for speedy transmission over the Internet and for displaying information attractively in Web browsers, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator. In the past, only special-purpose application programs such as Microsoft FrontPage allowed you to create HTML documents for the Web, but now you can create Web pages using each of the applications in the Microsoft Office 2000 software suite. The program you choose depends on the features you want to provide and the type of Web site you are constructing.
Naturally, the most effective Excel Web pages will use Excel's rich worksheet formatting, calculation, and data analysis capabilities. We recommend that you build Excel Web pages when you need to distribute the following types of information:
In addition, be aware that some of the more advanced features in your Excel worksheet might not be available to your users when the document is published on the Web. Because the Excel application itself will not be available on the Web site (but just the HTML file you create), add-in programs such as the Solver will be unavailable to your users, and some of the more advanced features such as tracking changes, comments, macros, and forms will be disabled. However, if you're planning to view the Excel Web page using Internet Explorer 4.0 or later, you can use Office 2000 Web Components to interactively work with formulas, filters, pivot tables, charts, and worksheet formatting commands. (You'll learn more about these options later in this chapter.)
Fundamentally, you have two options when presenting Excel Web pages: you can display a static, noninteractive Excel worksheet (in other words, a snapshot of your worksheet that can't be modified), or you can display a working, interactive worksheet that users can modify directly in Internet Explorer. The option you select will depend on the purpose of your Web site and your particular design goals. Static Web pages are best for showing purchase orders, sales data, and other tabular information that should be viewed but not modified. Interactive Web pages are best for calculation and analysis tools that invite Internet users to experiment with their own facts and figures. (For example, a mortgage calculator that prompts users for their own loan information.)
You can also share and discuss Excel workbooks with other users on the Web using an Internet connectivity feature known as Online Collaboration. For more information about this feature, see "Sharing Documents in a Workgroup"