Microsoft made a bunch of improvements to Excel this month, with the highlight being more control over automatic data conversions.
- Microsoft Excel has been updated with fixes for data conversion issues and improvements to formula authoring, catering to both enterprise and personal use.
- Excel for the Web now includes enhancements to formula authoring, a new Automate Work feature using Power Automate, and improved functionality in the Queries & Connections pane.
- Excel for Windows introduces checkboxes for Insiders, improved data conversions, AI-powered table creation, and customizable Narrator announcements, most of which were requested by customers. Excel for Mac also receives enhanced control over data conversions.
Microsoft Excel is a highly popular spreadsheet tool that is heavily used both in enterprise and personal environments. In the past few weeks, the Redmond tech firm has updated the software with fixes for annoying data conversion behaviors, along with formula authoring improvements. At the end of each month, Microsoft typically publishes a changelog of all the new features it added, and today, it has done the same for the month of October 2023.
Starting off with Excel for the Web, we have formula authoring enhancements which we discussed in detail here. Additionally, the Automate a Task button has been replaced with Automate Work; it leverages Power Automate to provide pre-configured templates for automation of workflows. Finally, the Queries & Connections pane in the Data tab can be used to rename, delete, duplicate, or reorganize queries. It behaves similar in functionality to its Windows counterpart.
Over on the Excel for Windows front, we have checkboxes in Excel for Insiders, along with the ability to control data conversions. Furthermore, the web connector has been improved to provide automatic detection of suggested tables and to create table structures powered by AI after you provide examples of how you want your data to look like. All three of these capabilities were requested by customers, which is why they have been tagged as “FIA – Feedback in Action”. A fourth capability – not part of FIA – in Excel for Windows is concise Narrator announcements, they can also be customized further through keyboard shortcuts.
Finally, Excel for Mac supports more control over automatic data conversions too, just like its Windows counterpart; also through FIA. Microsoft hasn’t outlined any enhancements for the Android SKU of Excel, indicating that the focus was more around enhancing the desktop and web variants of the spreadsheet software this month.