Microsoft Launches New Artificial Intelligence Features In Excel

AI for Excel blog-1
It’s always an exciting time when the big guns roll out with all the convention centre light shows, smoke effects and hype. Microsoft Ignite was no exception. (I mean, it may not have been as lit as the Windows95 launch party )

 Windows 95 Launch Party - Imgur
But it comes as no surprise that there are some exciting new developments rolling out as Microsoft continues to evolve Office 365 as a tool to keep agile businesses on top of their game. 
Because there is SO much going on, I thought I would focus today on one of the core applications that I am sure would be well known and used in businesses of all sizes and across a range of industries: Excel. 

I know that it may not always feel that way, but at its core Excel’s power comes from its simplicity. Essentially, the program is three things:

1. cells of data laid out in rows and columns,

2. a powerful calculation engine,

3. and a set of tools for working with the data. 

These three elements provide an incredibly flexible program that hundreds of millions of people use every day for a mind-boggling range of applications. 

Microsoft has invested heavily in Artificial Intelligence (AI) features to make Excel even more powerful. 

Ideas in Excel

My personal favourite development is Ideas in Excel. For those of us that like to go to the source for all of the gritty detail, you can find a nice summary from Microsoft here. 

Essentially, Ideas in Excel uses Artificial Intelligence to help you to understand your data through providing visual summaries to quickly identify trends, outliers and patterns.  

The beauty of Artificial Intelligence in action is that the more it is used, the more it will improve over time.  

This feature is being rolled out to Office 365 customers on a gradual basis.  


Insert Data from a Picture

Say goodbye to manually typing in data from that photo you took of the presentation.

With Insert Data from Picture you can take a photo of a hand-drawn, or printed data table with your Android device and convert that analogue information into an Excel spreadsheet. <Click> Just like that! 

New image functionality automatically converts the picture to a fully editable table in Excel. No more tedious retyping required.  

Microsoft advises that this feature will be available in preview for the Excel Android App for Office 365 Insiders program soon and I will be keeping my eyes out for this new feature to be generally available, because I for one will be putting this to use. 


Exciting changes are in the Microsoft air with Excel. What new feature are you going to try first?

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Picture of Gary Titmarsh

Gary was the previous Client Success Manager at Grassroots IT. He has worked in the IT industry for almost 20 years, in a variety of roles from systems engineer and project manager through to account manager. After gaining vast experience in global organisation IBM, Gary is Six Sigma Green Belt certified and skilled in a variety of Project Management Methodologies including Prince2 and IBM WWPMM. He is fluent in Japanese and enjoys spending time with family in Japan, participating in festivals and playing the Japanese Taiko.

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