Last week, Microsoft Excel customers got a pretty nice surprise when the Redmond tech firm announced support for the Python programming language in the software. This is meant to make it easier for data analysts and scientists to manipulate and visualize data using Python libraries and leveraging Excel formulas and PivotTables directly in the application at the same time, but only for Insiders currently. Now, the company has published its roundup of all the features that it added to its popular spreadsheet software during the month of August 2023.
Starting with Excel for Windows, we have a new “Insert Table” option present in the Power BI Datasets section to facilitate the quick addition of connected tables for analysis. Moreover, the “Save As” dialog box is being enhanced to provide further information about when you last saved the file and who else recently made changes. For example, if someone made modifications to a file while you were in it too, Excel will inform you who the person was, so you can decide whether you want to discard your changes or save them in a copy.
Moreover, the sharing menu has been improved to become more distraction-free as well. This applies to Microsoft 365 applications across all platforms (including Excel for Windows), enabling users to quickly email or copy a link, manage access, and share files with external users. In addition, Excel customers can also take advantage of a dedicated button on the Home tab in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to find and install Office add-ins.
That’s not all though, there are lots of new features in tow for Office Insiders in the Beta Channel too. The headliner is obviously support for Python in Excel, which we have talked about in more detail here. Apart from that, we have formatting for stale values where a cell’s value becomes outdated during manual calculation. Prior to the update this month, Excel tracked such changes automatically and internally, but did not indicate such issues to the end-user. Now, stale values will have a strikethrough to indicate that they need to be recalculated. Lastly, Microsoft is introducing a monospaced font in the Excel formula bar to improve readability as each character will have the same width, making it easier for your eyes to adjust and anticipate the placement of characters. It’s unclear if this change will eventually carry over to other portions of Excel.
There are a couple of improvements for Excel for web customers too, but nothing ground-breaking. Basically, the updated dialog box for the Share menu and the dedicated button to install Office add-ins have also made their way to the web version of Excel. Interestingly, there is no separate section for Excel for Mac and Excel for Android this time – unlike the previous month – which suggests that the platforms were not the focus of attention for Microsoft this month.
All of these changes should be available on the relevant platforms for Excel customers already. However, if you have any further feedback or spot any bugs in the old or new implementations, make sure to highlight them to Microsoft via the dedicated feedback portal here.
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