Microsoft Excel has announced (opens in a new tab) a handful of changes to make formulas easier to use and even more efficient.
Spreadsheet software updates are focused on web users, covering all Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) users, even those without access to full desktop clients, with several updates to complete the list of Windows and macOS client features.
The first change for web users is the introduction of formula suggestions that take into account contextual data to suggest a handful of supported formulas including SUM, AVERAGE, NUMBER, NUMBER, MIN and MAX.
Excel formula suggestions
For now, it will only be available for accounts set up in English. Microsoft hopes this will not only save users time, but also allow them to “learn more about Excel formulas as [they] Use them.”
The second major change is what the company calls a formula for example, and it resembles a type of autocomplete. When a user makes a series of similar entries, the web version of Excel can now suggest the contents of the remaining cells based on their previous actions.
Further improvements to the way Excel can now handle data include a tool that can detect broken links to cloud workbooks so that the data in your spreadsheet stays up-to-date and working, and a new search bar in the query pane for faster navigation.
Finally, Excel Web now supports images inside cells, whereas before they floated at the top of the sheet: a change that was first noticed on the corporate website road map (opens in a new tab) in early November 2022. Downloading the image from the source location also brings metadata such as alt text. This is now also available in the Windows and macOS versions of the Excel desktop client.
According to the blog post, features are rolling out, which means some users may not be able to take advantage of the update just yet, and some features are reserved for Windows Insiders only.