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Get Native Excel Workbook Support with PrizmDoc Cells

Despite the explosive growth of big data and sophisticated analytics platforms, a 2019 study by Deloitte found that 67 percent of business leaders are not quite comfortable using them to inform decision making. For many organizations, spreadsheets remain the preferred tool for managing data and evaluating trends. Developers looking to build the next generation of business applications can accommodate those tendencies by integrating native spreadsheet support for Microsoft Excel workbooks.

Excel Worksheets vs Excel Workbooks

Although sometimes referred to interchangeably or described broadly as spreadsheets, there is a key distinction between an Excel worksheet and an Excel workbook. A worksheet consists of only one spreadsheet while a workbook contains multiple different spreadsheets separated by tabs.

The difference may not be very important when viewing or sharing XLSX files natively in Microsoft Excel, but it can create serious challenges when rendering those files in another application. Without some way of accurately rendering dynamic spreadsheet data, viewers are often forced to resort to a static print preview image. This process makes the file viewable, but also leaves it “flattened” because all interactive elements are removed from the spreadsheet cells.

If the workbook contains worksheets with linked data (that is, cell data from one sheet is affected by cell data from another sheet), it’s critical that a viewing solution preserves the dynamic aspects of the file. The advantage of a spreadsheet is that it can serve as a working document. Without the ability to interact with it, users might as well simply copy and paste the data into a text document.

Managing Excel Workbooks with PrizmDoc Cells

PrizmDoc Cells provides several options for managing Excel workbooks, making it easy to transition back and forth between XLSX format and web browser viewing. Once a proxy route is set up within the application to send API calls to the PrizmDoc Cells server, three different commands can be used to manage Excel workbooks.

Upload Workbook

This API call adds a new XLSX file for viewing and editing. When a document is uploaded to the system, the server assigns a unique workbook ID to it so it can be found and rendered in the application’s viewer in the future. After uploading a workbook, a new session can be created using the workbook ID for viewing and editing purposes. 

Download Workbook

When PrizmDoc Cells displays a spreadsheet, it renders the XLSX file itself, but it doesn’t make any alterations to that file. As each session makes edits to the workbook, those changes are associated with the document ID rather than the original XLSX file, which preserves the integrity of the original spreadsheet. At some point, however, those edits may need to be saved into a new Excel workbook. 

The download API call converts the current session document so it can be downloaded as an XLSX file. File availability can be set during the download process to control who will have access to the new workbook.

Delete Workbook

Old versions of workbooks often need to be deleted for security reasons, usually because they contain confidential data. Since the original XLSX file remains safely within application storage, there often isn’t much sense in retaining workbooks IDs that aren’t being used. The delete API call removes a workbook ID from the server. Once removed in this way, the workbook cannot be viewed, edited, or downloaded by PrizmDoc Cells.

Preserving Workbook Functionality

Since PrizmDoc Cells natively renders information contained in an XLSX file, it retains the dynamic elements that make spreadsheet workbooks so useful to organizations. Not only does it preserve proprietary business logic and formulas, but it also maintains the integrity of this information across multiple worksheets. Cell content can still be searched to quickly locate important text or data throughout the workbook.

For situations where proprietary formulas need to be protected, PrizmDoc Cells allows users to upload XLSX workbooks as values-only files, with all spreadsheet formulas removed. Also, any cells locked in an uploaded XLSX file will remain locked in PrizmDoc Cells to preserve workbook security.

True Spreadsheet Workbook Support for Your Applications

Many organizations continue to depend upon spreadsheet workbooks to manage their business. By providing feature-rich workbook support within their applications, developers can help them retain control over their proprietary spreadsheet formulas without sacrificing the functionality they expect from Excel. 

PrizmDoc Cells makes it easier than ever to share spreadsheet workbooks without having to rely upon Microsoft Excel dependencies. Shared XLSX files can remain safely within a secure application environment to prevent unauthorized downloads or troublesome version confusion. Get a first-hand look at how PrizmDoc Cells can enhance your application in our extensive online demo.