Microsoft Excel has introduced a series of updates in August, enhancing its capabilities and user experience. Among the notable additions is the public preview of Python in Excel, which is available to users running Beta Channel on Windows – Excel for Windows version 2309 (Build 16818.20000) or later.
According to the official announcement on Microsoft's Tech Community, this feature allows users to “natively combine Python and Excel analytics within the same workbook.” The Python calculations are executed in the Microsoft Cloud, and the results, including plots and visualizations, are returned to the worksheet.
Earlier this month, Microsoft announced that Excel users can now use Python to manage data. Microsoft says this integration will empower data analysts, engineers, marketers, and students in data science to utilize Python for complex statistical analysis, advanced visualizations, predictive analytics, and machine learning within Excel.
Users can input Python code into cells using the new =PY function, eliminating the need for additional software installations. The integration uses the Anaconda distribution of Python, which is tailored for data scientists and engineers but remains beginner-friendly. This distribution includes popular libraries like pandas, Matplotlib, scikit-learn, NumPy, and SciPy.
Power BI Connected Tables
Another significant update is the introduction of the Power BI Connected Tables. As stated in the official announcement, “A new Insert Table option is rolling out for the Power BI Datasets pane in Excel.” This feature facilitates users in creating a connected table directly within Excel, optimizing the process of data addition and making it more user-friendly.
Enhancements in Save As/Discard Dialog
Excel's “Save As/Discard” dialog has been revamped to provide users with more information. Users can now view details about their last saved changes and any modifications made by other collaborators. This feature was also highlighted in an article by Neowin, which mentioned that the dialog now displays information about the last saved changes and if someone else has made any alterations to the spreadsheet.
Simplified Sharing Experience
Excel has streamlined the sharing experience across Microsoft 365 applications on various platforms, including the web, desktop, and mobile devices. The official announcement elaborates, “When you click the ‘Share' button, the Share Dialog box pops up, where you will be able to email a link, copy a link, share files externally, manage access, and share sensitive files – streamlined and free of distractions.”
Other Noteworthy Updates
Apart from the aforementioned features, Excel for Windows has also incorporated Stale Value Formatting and Monospaced Font in the formula bar for Insiders Beta users. The Stale Value Formatting feature highlights stale cells by striking them out, ensuring users are aware of cells pending calculation. The Monospaced Font in the formula bar ensures that formulas are aligned and spaced evenly, enhancing readability and debugging.