Microsoft Excel Aims to Enhance Data Analysis and Visualisation with August 2023 Update

    Microsoft has rolled out a slew of new features and enhancements in Excel this August. The latest update is focused on augmenting productivity and data analysis for users across Windows and web platforms.

    Bringing out new functionalities each month is part of the tech giant’s efforts to solidify its position as the go-to spreadsheet software for professionals worldwide, reports Microsoft Corporation, in a tech community post. 

    Among the most notable additions is the public preview of Python in Excel, now being rolled out to Beta Channel users on Windows—Excel for Windows version 2309 (Build 16818.20000) or later. This feature allows users to “natively combine Python and Excel analytics within the same workbook,” eliminating the need for complex setups. With this new functionality, users can type Python code right into the Excel cells. After the calculations are executed in the Microsoft Cloud, results, along with plots and data visualisations, are displayed in the worksheet. 

    One of the noteworthy additions to Excel is Stale Value Formatting for Office Insiders in the Beta Channel. With this enhancement, Microsoft aims to ensure data accuracy and timely updates by enabling Excel to identify and mark stale values during manual calculation. It thus makes users aware of the need for recalculation. Another long-requested addition is the introduction of “The Monospaced Font in Formula Bar,” which is expected to enhance character readability and user experience. This feature is also available for Beta Channel users on Windows.

    For Current Channel users on Windows, a great addition is the introduction of Power BI Connected Tables. It streamlines and simplifies the process of connecting and interpreting Power BI datasets, facilitating data analysis and visualisation. 

    The enhancements in the August 2023 update in Excel extend to collaborative work. The sharing menu has been augmented across Microsoft 365 applications on the desktop, web, and mobile devices in order to deliver a distraction-free user experience. Users can now seamlessly manage access, email or copy links, or share files with external collaborators. Furthermore, a dedicated button on the Home tab can be used to “easily find, install, and access Office add-ins in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.” This is helpful in streamlining workflow integration.

    Excel for web users will also benefit from the latest update. The updated Share menu dialogue box and the dedicated Office add-ins button have been integrated into the web version of Excel. These ensure enhanced productivity and continuity across all platforms.

    While Microsoft’s focus this month may not have centred on Excel for Mac and Excel for Android, the new enhancements promise to facilitate collaboration, data analysis, collaboration, and productivity for users across the Microsoft Excel ecosystem.

    Excel’s popularity in the business world can be attributed to its versatility, ease of use, and widespread availability. According to Microsoft, in 2020, Excel had over one billion users. 

    Upgrading Excel with new enhancements and functionalities every month is part of the company’s effort to augment user productivity. However, despite bringing out regular updates, building professional-looking charts in Excel directly from PowerPoint can still feel time-consuming and arduous. For example, even the latest editions of Excel lack some chart types that are frequently required, requiring users to take the manual approach. Furthermore, with too many clicks and fewer formatting capabilities, building presentable charts in Excel becomes cumbersome. 

    Those looking to create visually appealing presentations with high-end charts are urged to use high-quality PowerPoint add-ins such as think-cell. Enabling streamlined chart creation directly within PowerPoint, these add-ins minimise the need for excessive clicks while also reducing formatting complexities. 

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