Computer Standards for Business Majors, School of Management

Excel Standard for Business Majors

For business majors, The USF spreadsheet standard is Excel 2016 or later (on Office 365) for Windows or Mac. Office 365 for Windows and Mac can be downloaded for free by following the instructions here.

Earlier versions of Excel will not work properly so those versions cannot be used. It is recommended that your computer can run the latest version of OSX and Windows OS.

A minimum of 8 GB of RAM is recommended in your machine, 12 or 16  GB is strongly recommended.
Student computer standards »

Business majors should be aware that Windows has approximately an 80 percent market share of the operating systems used throughout the world in 2018.


Because PCs and Macs have different operating systems, some of the commands for Excel and other Office software are different. If you know one version, you won't necessarily be familiar with certain functions in a different version.

Each Excel version has different feature sets, so things that work on one version sometimes don't work on another.  Their differences have been minimized in Excel 2016 that comes with Office 365, but a few still exist.

The differences that remain between the systems 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 peers. 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 2016 or later. They have a superior feature set compared to other versions that also minimizes differences.

Information Technology Services


Phone: (415) 422-6668

Online: Contact ITS

ITS assists with obtaining free VMware, free Office 365 and Windows OS through ITS eStore.

ITS assists with how to assess, upgrade, or convert your laptop.

Please review the Recommended and Minimum Hardware Configurations for Students.

Upgrading to Office 365 and Excel 2016

Most students with Microsoft Windows computers and Microsoft Office already have Excel but may need to upgrade to the latest version. Students who do not have the latest version of Excel may install Office 365 for free (see below). Mac users should be prepared to run VMware so that they can run a Windows operating system. 

Contact ITS for assistance »

Free VMware »

Free Office 365 »

Free Software on ITS eStore »