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The Backstage View: Using The File Tab


* Saving and Opening a Workbook
* Creating a New Workbook
* Recent Places
* Print Preview

Many people believe that the real work behind any stage show happens backstage and that the real talent never makes it to the stage.  This is certainly true to some extent for the Backstage View in Excel!  This is where you will find options to save your workbook, give it a specific name, open existing workbooks, find workbooks you used a while ago and access many useful options.  A way to remember the kind of options you find in this View is to think about all the functions that happen in the background of your workbook and are essential, but not necessarily visible in your actual workbook.


In many software programmes, the File button opens a menu as a list with functions such as save, save as, create new, print, open and options.  The same is true for MS Office 2010, except instead of a list, the File tab opens a much more comprehensive view with the aforementioned options and a lot more.

1.  To open the Backstage View, click on the green File tab on the far left-hand side of the Excel screen (circled in blue in the image below):

To open the Backstage View, click on the green File tab

2.  This will open the Backstage View:

This will open the Backstage View:

3.  Examine the Backstage View (pictured above).  You will note three distinct panels.  

4.  The first panel (on the left-hand side) contains buttons for Save, Save As, Open, Close, Info, Recent, New, Print, Save & Send, Help, Options and Exit.  When you click on any of these, Excel will display the options related to this button in the middle and far right panels.  For example, in the image above, the Info button is selected which gives related options in the centre panel and the far right-hand panel.  If we select a different button, for example New, the contents of the middle and far panel will change.

5.  To close the Backstage View, simply click on one of the other usual Ribbon tabs, for example the Home tab, displayed at the top of the screen.  Do not press Exit, this will exit Excel and close your worksheet!

To close the Backstage View, simply click on one of the other usual Ribbon tabs

* Saving and Opening a Workbook

Back in the good old days saving and opening a workbook probably meant placing a ledger in a waterproof packet, sticking a label on it and filing it in an archive with some mothballs. The job of retrieving the ledger again would most likely have been the job of a dedicated employee and may have meant him (or her) spending hours (maybe days) searching countless shelves for the workbook or ledger required.

Luckily for us in the 21st century, saving and opening a workbook means just a few clicks of the mouse.


You have two options for saving a Workbook.  The first, Save, will save your workbook either using its existing name, if it had already been saved with a name in the past or Excel will prompt you to give the workbook a name and to save it in your desired location.  Save As gives you the option to save a workbook that has already been saved in the past, with a new name in a new location.

1.  To save a workbook, click on the Save button located on the left-hand panel in the Backstage View.  If the workbook had not been saved before, the dialogue box pictured below will open.  If it had been saved in the past, nothing visible will happen, but any edits you have made to the workbook since the last time it was saved, will be saved over the existing workbook.

To save a workbook, click on the Save button located on the left-hand panel in the Backstage View


2.  Select the folder location where you wish to save your workbook and enter a name for your workbook in the File Name Box (circled in blue in the image above) and click the Save button.  This will save a copy of your workbook to the location you chose and you will be able to continue working in the workbook.  Any subsequent changes you make when you click the save button, will be saved into that file location into the workbook.

If you wish to save a copy of a workbook to a different location and/or with a new name, for example you may have a workbook containing a template you created for capturing your January expenses and you want to use the same template for your February expenses.

1.  Go to the Backstage View and click the Save As button located in the left-hand panel.  This will open the Save As dialogue box.
 
2.  Follow the same steps as when you saved a workbook, select a folder to which to save the workbook and give it a new name in the File Name box and click Save.

You can also use the Save As button to save a workbook into a different format.  For example, you may want to save a Workbook into a previous version of Excel if you wish to share a copy of the workbook with a colleague who does not have Excel 2010 installed.
 
1.  Go to the Backstage View and click the Save As button.  In the Save As dialogue box, select a folder to which to save the workbook and give your workbook a name.

2.  Below the File Name box you will find the Save As Type box (circled in blue in the image below).  Click the drop down arrow on this box to open a list of file type options to save your workbook as.  

Below the File Name box you will find the Save As Type box

3.  Choose the desired file type from the list and click save.  
To open existing workbooks:

1.  Click on the Open button located in the left-hand panel of the Backstage View.  This will open the Open dialogue box:

Click on the Open button located in the left-hand panel of the Backstage View

2.  Use the folder locations located on the left-hand side of the dialogue box (circled in blue in the image above) to locate the folder that contains your workbook.

3.  When you have found the workbook you are looking for, either click it once and click the Open button (circled in blue in the image above) OR double click the workbook to open it directly.

TIP:  You can quickly save a Workbook you are in without going to the Backstage View by holding down the control button on your keyboard and pressing the letter S (Ctrl+s). You can also quickly open a workbook by holding down the control button on your keyboard and pressing the letter O (Ctrl+o).


* Creating a New Workbook

If you need to create a new workbook, you can either start with a blank canvas (or worksheet in this instance!) or you can use one of the very useful templates included with Excel.

To create a New workbook:

1.  In the Backstage View, click on the New button located in the left-hand panel.

2.  This will open the Available Templates screen:

Click on the New button located in the left-hand panel

3.  To open a blank work book, click on the Blank Workbook image (highlighted and circled in blue in the image above) and then click on the Create button (circled in blue in the image above).  This will open a new blank workbook for you.

If you are feeling a little bit experimental, you may want to try any of the other options listed in the Available Templates screen under the heading Office.com Templates.  There are some really useful options here, so go ahead and try some out.

Click on a template you think may be suitable for your needs and a screenshot of the selected template is displayed in the far right panel.  If you wish to use the template, you need to click on the Download button (circled in blue in the image below):

Click on a template you think may be suitable for your needs

To go back to the original list of templates, click on the Home button or use the back arrow located under the 'Available Templates' heading.

TIP:  You can quickly create a new blank workbook without going to the Backstage View by holding down the control key on your keyboard and pressing the letter N (Ctrl+n).



* Recent Places

Excel saves the location of all the recent workbooks you have opened, created or edited.  It also saves all the recent file locations you have opened or saved Excel files to. This option can either be a lifesaver or it could land you in serious hot water when you, for example, access workbooks you did not have permission to access or create workbooks of a sensitive nature that you may not want other users of your PC to know about.  Your history of both accessing and creating workbooks, bill be displayed in the Recent list and it is therefore important to know where to locate this list and how to work with it. 

1.  To access the list of recent workbooks, go the Backstage View and click on the Recent button on the left-hand panel.

2.  In the list of Recent Workbooks located in the middle panel, find the workbook you are looking for and click on it once to open it.

This is a great lifesaver if you cannot remember where you saved a file or if you need to quickly access a file without going through the process of navigating to the correct folder.

However, this list is dynamic and will change and be replaced by
the most recently opened and worked-on workbooks.  This means, if you wish to use it as a quick way of accessing a workbook you use on a weekly or monthly basis and you want to ensure it does not get bumped off the list, you will need to pin it to the list.

1.  To pin a workbook to the Recent list, open the Recent Workbooks list in the Backstage View.

2.  Study the icon located to the right-hand side of every workbook on the Recent list.  You will note it looks like a drawing pin (circled in blue in the image below):

Study the icon located to the right-hand side of every workbook on the Recent list

3.  If you click the pin next to the workbook you wish to 'pin' to the list, once, it will change in appearance into a little blue pin and the item that you 'pinned' will be moved to the top of the Recent list.  It will remain here until you click the pin again to 'unpin' it from the list:

If you click the pin next to the workbook you wish to 'pin' to the list

In the same way you are able to view Recent Workbooks, you can also view Recent Places.  

1.  In the Backstage View, in the Recent screen, you will note in the right-hand panel next to the Recent Workbooks list, there is a list containing folders titled 'Recent Places'.  These folders represent all the recent file locations you have accessed or saved Workbooks to:

Recent Places


2.  If you click on any of the items in this list, it will open the folder giving you the option to select the workbook you wish to open in Excel.

3.  You can also pin frequently used folders to the Recent list to enable you to quickly access these.  For example, you may have a folder containing all the budget workbooks you have created and by pinning this folder to the list, you can quickly access all your budget workbooks without having to find the folder.



* Print Preview

To avoid any interesting printing surprises, it is extremely advisable to always do a Print Preview of your workbook before pressing print.  If your worksheet contains many columns of data, Excel will automatically break these off into A4 paper size and your work-of-art spreadsheet could end up printing over hundreds of pages.  Although this may sound like a great conversation starter when you are standing at the printer waiting for aforementioned hundreds of pages to print, your level of coolness and office credibility may decrease with each printed sheet that contains only a few lines of data!

1.  To view what your worksheet will look like before you take the leap to print, open the Backstage View.

2.  In the left-hand panel, press the Print button.  Don't worry, this will NOT print your worksheet yet!  It will open the Print options and preview section of the Backstage View:

Print Preview

3.  The Preview screen located on the far right-hand panel will show you how your worksheet is going to print.  At the same time that you consider the Preview, also have a look at how many pages your worksheet comprises (circled in blue in the image above).  Click the arrows on either side to scroll through the pages.  

4. The worksheet in this example is actually a single table that should easily be able to fit onto one sheet of paper and not four pages as illustrated in the example image above.

5.  There are several ways to rectify this:

You can change the page orientation to 'Landscape Orientation' by clicking on the centre-panel button labelled 'Portrait Orientation'.

If your worksheet still doesn't fit the desired number of pages, a drastic but quick solution, is to click on the centre-panel button labelled 'No Scaling' and select 'Fit Sheet On One Page' or 'Fit all Columns on One Page'.

6.  Once you are happy with the Print Preview, indicate how many copies you would like to print in the Copies box (although it is advisable to only print one copy as a test) and press Print.

TIP:  A shortcut to get to the Print options area of the Backstage View and Print Preview, is to hold down the control key on your keyboard and press the letter P (Ctrl + p).