The University of San Francisco: Information Technology Services
Desktop Computing

Student Excel Standard

The USF student spreadsheet standard is Excel 2013 for Windows.


There are currently two common versions of Excel: 2011 (Mac), and 2013 (Windows). The Windows and Mac versions have different user interfaces. If you know one version, you won't necessarily be familiar with certain functions in a different version. Each version has different feature sets, so things that work on one version sometimes don't work on another.

This proliferation of Excel versions can be challenging for faculty and students. Students using a different version of Excel than the instructor, the textbook, or the reader may not be able to follow or imitate what is going on in class. Students cannot easily collaborate on group tasks if an Excel file that one student creates is a different format than the file of their peer. Faculty may not be able to answer simple questions if the student has a different version of Excel.

Therefore, a task force of faculty from the School of Management and the Arts and Sciences Math Department decided the standard for all undergraduate courses teaching on Excel should be Excel 2013. Excel 2013 has a superior feature set compared to other versions. Commercial add-ins used in the School of Management to extend the capabilities of Excel generally don't run on other versions.

Upgrading to Office 2013

Most students with Microsoft Windows computers and Microsoft Office already have Excel 2013. Those who do not will need to purchase and install Office 2013. Students with Macs will need to install additional virtualization software that lets them run Microsoft Windows alongside their Mac OS. This requires an Intel Mac and cannot be run on older PowerMacs (e.g. PowerBook G4). Students may also need to increase system memory (RAM) to accommodate Windows and Excel 2013.

Please see below for the minimum system requirements, links for ordering software and memory, and instructions for installing the software once you've purchased it. Please make sure you meet the minimum system requirements before beginning to install any software.

Mac users will need to run Excel 2013, which requires Windows. Requirements include: Microsoft Office 2013, Windows 7, and VMWare Fusion OR Bootcamp. The recommended way to run Windows is to install VMWare Fusion on your Mac. Additional information on Bootcamp is available here or here.

Minimum Requirements


  • Minimum processor Pentium 500 MHz
  • 2 GB of RAM minimum, 4 GB strongly recommended
  • 3 GB of free disk space

How to check your RAM, Processor, and Disk Space


  • Intel-based processor, 1.5 GHz or faster
  • At least 4 GB of RAM, 8 GB strongly recommended
  • Mac OS X version 10.5.8 or higher
  • 1 GB of free disk space for VMware Fusion, and at least 80 GB of free disk space for each virtual machine
  • Two-button mouse recommended

How to check your RAM, Processor, and Disk Space

Ordering/downloading Software and RAM


There are two different USF-affiliated options students may use to acquire the software mentioned within this website.

  1. Navigate to where students may gain access to: (Please see details regarding this option on the eStore site.)
  2. The subscription and software are also available in the Campus Bookstore in the lower level of University Center. You can choose to order the subscription from's USF Student Online Store by clicking on Office 365 University-Download.

Mac users without any virtualization or Windows software will need to order the complete bundle of VMware Fusion, Windows 7 upgrade, and Office 2013.

Windows users will only need to obtain Office 2013, which is available from JourneyEd.coms USF Student Online Store as a part of the subscription to the Office 365 University-Download package.


You can order additional RAM, if necessary, from at the link below. You can scan your system using the Crucial System Scanner tool or use the Crucial Memory Advisor tool to step through choices to find the correct upgrade for your manufacturer and model.

If you need assistance installing RAM or upgrading your hard drive if you don't have enough disk space, authorized service vendors near USF are listed below.

Note: USF has no formal relationship with the vendors and will not assume liability in any dispute between these vendors and members of the USF community.

Total Mac

3139 Geary Blvd., Suite A
San Francisco, CA 94118
Macintosh service

If you have questions before you purchase software or RAM, please contact the ITS Help Desk at 415-422-6668 or

Installing Software

Please click on one of the links below for instructions to install the required software for your operating system.