Saturday, September 30, 2017

Microsoft Excel is about to get a lot smarter (English)

...In today’s demo, Spataro showed me how you will soon be able to tag a list of company names as — well — company names, for example. Once you’ve done that, Excel can pull in more information about the company from Microsoft’s Bing API, including stock data and market cap, for example. Excel can even automatically detect that a list of names is indeed a list of company names or a list of cities, for example, which then allows you to pull in population data, among other things.

“Historically, Excel has always been good at numbers and you can enter in text and use conditional formatting and things like that,” Spataro said. “We are adding the idea that Excel can now recognize data types that are richer than those two.”

...In addition, the Office team is also launching a new built-in tool for Excel that will automatically try to pull the most interesting data from a spreadsheet and visualize it. “Insights,” as the company is currently calling it, is modeled on a very similar feature in the Power BI data visualization and analysis tool, and it’s worth noting that Google Sheets also offers a comparable tool. “It is meant to take any list of data and then start to generate insights,” Spataro said...

...As Microsoft also announced earlier this week, Excel will soon be able to pull in machine learning models that a company’s data scientists have created to analyze information in Excel, and you can also now use JavaScript to write more complex scripts for manipulating data or pulling in data from virtually any third-party service with an API.

The new data types will launch early next year. Insights will arrive in a spreadsheet near you in early 2018...

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