Microsoft Excel is Revamping Itself and We Can’t be Happier

Good News: Your favorite Microsoft Excel is about to get a lot smarter, and tech-savvy.

Microsoft Excel is Revamping Itself and We Can’t be Happier

How? Thanks to machine learning and improved connection with the outside world.


Recently, Microsoft’s general manager for Office, Jared Spataro and company’s director of Office 365 ecosystem marketing, Rob Howard talked about how Excel is soon going to understand more about the inputs given and drag out additional information from the internet, as and when deemed necessary.


“We’re pleased to introduce new data types,” Spataro simplified. “That doesn’t sound all that interesting and we had this interesting discussion about what we’d name these things, but at the end of the day we realized that if you’re really an Excel wonk, the thing that you’re going to get is that there’s new data types.”

This powerful revelation is not only good for Excel nerds, though. Soon, the normal users will be able to tag the list of company names and once that’s done, Excel will be in a strong position to pull out adequate information about the company from Microsoft’s Bing API, including market cap and stock data. It can also automatically detect whether a listicle of names belongs to the company or is a series of city names – in case of the latter, Excel will churn out population data, coupled with other things.


“Historically, Excel has always been good at numbers and you can enter in text and use conditional formatting and things like that,” Spataro explained. “We are adding the idea that Excel can now recognize data types that are richer than those two.”




Moreover, the Office team is also introducing a brand new, built-in tool for Excel to pull in the most interesting sets of data right from a spreadsheet in the hope of visualizing it and decipher crucial insights. “Insights”, the name the company has given to this method is modeled on a similar feature observed in the Power BI data visualization and analysis tool, and note that Google Sheets is also equipped with a similar comparable tool.


“It is meant to take any list of data and then start to generate insights,” Spataro stated. “It will look at combinations, charts, pivot tables and it will recognize those that are most interesting by looking at outliers, looking at trends in the data, looking at things that represent changes.”


If you happen to like any one of the graphs, import it instantly in your Excel sheets and modify it anytime later as per your heart’s content.


A few months back, Microsoft unraveled its intention of roping in robust machine learning models that the dedicated data scientists working in the company developed to analyze data in Excel. It also made it clear that now JavaScript can be used to write more complex scripts to drag out information from virtually any outside service with an API.


This year, MS Excel is going to witness some new data types and Insights will arrive in a Spreadsheet.


And as Spataro said, these sorts of connections to outside-services are what differentiates Office 365 from its everlasting versions of Office – “Services breathe new life into these applications. We think these apps still have a lot of life in them for just working on your content, but we do believe that these connections just make it magical.”



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February 6, 2018 9:38 am Published by , , , , , , , , ,

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