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Microsoft Excel 2019 Gets Smarter

 As you finish up your Spring classes, it’s time to dig into some new Excel 2019 features. With the #1 job in North America being a data scientist, it is no surprise that many of the new Excel features dive into the realm of data analytics.


Microsoft is launching a few more features in Excel 2019 that make all our favorite spreadsheet software a bit more powerful.  For the first time, Excel will include capabilities that let teams work with machine learning algorithms inside the legendary spreadsheet software. Machine learning simply put, is the brains behind artificial intelligence and within Excel is a powerful method of data processing that lets algorithms find patterns in large datasets (aka Big Data). Combining the data visualizations from Power BI (Business Intelligence) app with the large audience of Excel, our students can start their first journey using machine learning as routinely as they learn about pivot tables.


Let’s dig into the first feature called “Insights”. Microsoft touts their new Insights feature to automatically and graphically presenting interesting trends information in their data. Imagine that you have a satellite business spreadsheet open to an Excel table of your fiscal year. By clicking the Insert tab and the Insights tool, a new panel appears on the right with four charts. The first four charts look like the first four from the Excel Recommended Pivot Tables. But there are 26 charts.  If you scroll down, you start to see some detailed trends in the charts. These automated trend insights are powered by PowerBI visualizations and display changes that break away from normal trends (see image).





Another exciting feature for Excel 2019 is the ability to add custom JavaScript functions. Developers could already write their own complex scripts with Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). JavaScript is considered more popular than VBA macros and these functions allow Microsoft Office developers to code up math operations, import information from websites such as bank account balances, and to stream live data. But JavaScript also creates more interconnection and more access points—meaning more points of potential vulnerability. We will have to ask Mark Ciampa, a security expert author to address this point. This feature is very new and we will see which controls Microsoft will build to protect us.



I really LOVE Excel and can't wait to play with these new features in the classroom..:)

Cool beans!  Thanks for the preview.