Microsoft Integrates Python in Excel

    Microsoft, a global leader in software innovation, has announced the successful integration of Python with its popular spreadsheet platform, Excel. Equipping Excel with one of the widely used high-level, general-purpose programming languages is part of the company’s commitment to transforming the way users approach data analysis and visualisation. 

    “We are excited to introduce the Public Preview of Python in Excel—making it possible to integrate Python and Excel analytics within the same Excel grid for uninterrupted workflow,” said Stefan Kinnestrand, General Manager of Modern Work at Microsoft.

    According to Microsoft, Python in Excel is released as a Public Preview to the Insiders Beta Channel. It will be initially limited to Excel for Windows users, starting with build 16.0.16818.2000. However, the tech giant has confirmed to make Python in Excel available to users on other platforms shortly. 

    Microsoft highlighted the cutting-edge user-friendliness the company expects to deliver with this integration. 

    The integration is expected to allow users to access Python right from the Excel ribbon and execute advanced data analysis within the Excel environment. To use Python in Excel, Microsoft doesn’t require users to install any third-party software or add-ons. Excel’s Power Query and Connectors features can be leveraged to export external data into Python in Excel workflows. 

    Moreover, the company is expected to sign an agreement with Anaconda, an advanced enterprise-level Python repository trusted by numerous data professionals globally. With this agreement, Anaconda is combining the Anaconda Distribution for Python within Excel. It makes the core Python functionalities as well as 400+ curated packages available to users for efficient data analysis and visualisation within the Excel interface. 

    With its Anaconda Distribution for Python operating in Microsoft Azure, Python in Excel can call common Python libraries, such as statsmodels for high-end statistical modelling, pandas for powerful data analysis and manipulation, and Matplotlib and Seaborn for generating statistically sophisticated data visualisation.

    In addition, the tech giant has rolled out a new PY function in Excel that is expected to enable the spreadsheet to display data from Python right within the grid of an Excel workbook. 

    “Python’s integration in Excel marks a significant leap forward for data science, combining the popularity of both tools to address a long-standing gap between the capabilities of Python for data science and Excel’s familiar interface,” explained Guido van Rossum, the creator of Python and engineer at Microsoft. “The integration of Python into Excel has been met with excitement from both the Python and Excel communities. “I’m excited that this excellent, tight integration of Python and Excel is now seeing the light of day. I expect that both communities will find interesting new uses in this collaboration, amplifying each partner’s abilities.”

    Collaboration is made effortless with Python in Excel. Python’s integration in Excel enables users to effortlessly share Python analytics and Excel workbooks in Microsoft Outlook or Microsoft Teams. Comments and @ mentions further streamline collaboration. And, colleagues can co-author workbooks just as they would in Excel, regardless of whether they have Python in Excel activated.

    Keeping data security at the core of the design for Python in Excel, the tech giant confirmed that the integration operates on the Microsoft Cloud, with “enterprise-level security as an M365 connected experience”. 

    That said, despite being the most popular spreadsheet platform and introducing high-end functionalities regularly, Excel sometimes seems overwhelming to deal with.  For example, some commonly used charts, for example Marimekko chart, are not natively available even with the latest version of Excel which requires users to take the manual approach. In addition, with too many clicks and fewer formatting features, building professional-looking charts in Excel from within PowerPoint becomes an arduous task.

    For professionals requiring to create quality presentations with stunning Excel charts right from PowerPoint, using a high-quality PowerPoint add-in such as think-cell is a sensible business investment. 

    However, the latest upgrades of Excel exhibit Microsoft’s commitment to fortifying user experience while enabling them to boost business productivity. 

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