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Developer Journal Discusses New Features Introduced in MS Excel

Microsoft introduced a number of features in Excel across multiple platforms, including the web, Windows, and Mac, in June, XDA Developers reports. Consistently adding new features to the Office suite is part of the company’s effort to meet emerging use cases while enhancing existing ones.

In order to make Excel for the Web as efficient as Excel for the desktop version, two time-saving features have been rolled out. Formula Suggestions in Excel are now available for web users who use English as their primary language. This feature suggests formulas based on the context of the user’s data when “=” is typed in the formula bar. However, the feature is currently limited to MAX, MIN, COUNT, SUM, COUNTA, and AVERAGE. The second feature that’s been added is Formula by Example. This takes auto-suggestion a step further, allowing users to fill the entire column with a formula based on identified patterns during manual data entry.

On the visualisation side, Excel now allows web users to format charts by utilising the Home Ribbon Formatting controls from within the web version. With this, Microsoft aims to make it easier for web users to customise the appearance of charts, as reported by XDA Developers. Additionally, for more customisation options, Excel allows users to move chart elements within the chart itself. The ability to select a range of cells and assign a name for the selection through the Name Manager has also been added.

Moving on to Excel for Windows, the corporation has empowered users in the Current Channel and Monthly Enterprise Channel with access to Office Scripts. With this, actions can be recorded to automate repetitive and monotonous worksheet tasks. Furthermore, the newly introduced Guided Reapply now allows Current Channel users to co-author files with zero interruption. According to the tech behemoth, co-authoring users no longer have to “select Save As (which creates another copy of the file) or Discard their changes to get back to the shared file.”

In addition, Excel for Windows users can import Dynamic Array results into data sources (PowerQuery) using the Get Data option. Apart from these, Rapid Refresh has been rolled out with Excel for Windows to allow users to auto-reload workbooks during coauthoring. Lastly, Windows Insiders can now use images and various data types within the rows and columns of PivotTables.

Next up, Excel for Mac users can now create accessible PDFs. Adding accessibility tags to exported PDFs will enhance the document structure and improve the experience of reading for users that depend on assistive technologies. The search experience on Excel for Mac has been revamped to provide unified search capabilities across commands, documents, web results (e.g. media, definitions, and Bing results), or help articles within the application.

For data visualisation, data crunching, manipulation, planning, testing, and documentation needs, Microsoft Excel has become one of the most popular spreadsheet platforms. More than 81% of businesses use Excel for organising and recapitulating massive troves of datasets, having no compelling reasons to switch to alternatives.

In order to make the platform highly productive, Microsoft has been equipping Excel with AI in addition to upgrading the system with high-end features. However, despite bringing out new functionalities, creating professional-looking presentations with Excel charts right from the PowerPoint platform may seem overwhelming. For example, some charts that professionals use frequently are not supported even with Excel’s latest versions, requiring users to take the manual approach. In addition, with too many clicks and fewer formatting capabilities, building Excel charts becomes arduous sometimes.

Investing in PowerPoint add-ons such as think-cell is the most practical decision for professionals looking to generate great-looking presentations. With less formatting and fewer clicks, PowerPoint add-ins enable professionals to create charts right in PowerPoint, thus significantly improving efficiency and saving time. Whilst such tools do help, Microsoft has also been introducing new usability features quite regularly.

Marking some long-requested functionalities as Feedback in Action (FIN), the XDA Developers report highlighted the tech giant’s commitment to prioritising its user requests for continuously augmenting its services and delivering proactive customer experiences with Excel.

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