At this year’s Microsoft’s Ignite event, the tech giant has announced some improvements coming to Excel in the coming weeks or months.
Some of these were already known about, such as the new XLOOKUP function and dynamic arrays, which makes the formulas more capable by allowing a single formula to display the results in multiple cells.
Microsoft did announce that dynamic arrays feature is hitting general availability in Excel on the web this week, but XLOOKUP is still planned to be generally available in the future.
And amongst all the big news, there was a small announcement about Excel that caught our attention: Excel is getting language queries. Yep.
The company announced the ‘natural language queries’ feature for Excel Office Insiders. This new feature will allow users to ask a question of their data in natural language to get the insights. So, users need not create complicated formulas.
The software will answer the questions with formulas, charts, or pivot tables. To use this feature, open the Ideas pane in Excel and enter a question in the query box at the top of the pane. You can then use the charts, pivot tables and formulas presented by Excel in your sheet.
It’s for the users who may not know how to write the right formulas to gain useful insights from their data, the power users who can save time by just asking the right questions and quickly adding charts or tables, and everyone in between.
Natural language query can help these users to get the insights they need for better and faster decisions.
This new ‘natural language queries’ Excel feature will be available on Windows, Mac, and Excel for the web in the English language. Microsoft will roll out to other languages in the near future.
On a related note, Microsoft yesterday announced a new easy way to create scripts for Excel.
The new Office Scripts feature will also allow you to automate the repetitive tasks. You no longer need to learn VB Script to write simple scripts for Excel. Through this feature, you can even record your actions inside an Excel workbook and save it to a script.