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Microsoft brings generative AI capabilities to Excel through the new Excel Labs add-in

Microsoft Excel Labs AI

Last year, Microsoft released an Excel add-in called Advanced formula environment, a Microsoft Garage project, that allowed Excel users to write complex formulas efficiently. It offered enhanced formula editor, ability to filter and find created formulas and the ability to share your work with others.

Yesterday, Microsoft announced Excel Labs add-in, a Microsoft Garage project, that allows Microsoft to release experimental ideas for Excel users to try and provide them feedback. The previously released Advanced Formula Environment (AFE) add-in will be upgraded to Excel Labs to offer even more experimental features.

The new Excel Labs add-in also brings the power of generative AI to Excel. The LABS.GENERATIVEAI custom function will allow you to send prompts from the Excel grid to a generative AI model and then return the results from the model back to your worksheet. To use this feature, you need an OpenAI API key. Once you have configured your OpenAI API key, to use the new function, enter =LABS.GENERATIVEAI to access the function in the grid and enter your prompt as the input to the function. Example is shown below.


As expected, you can also adjust the settings of the model’s responses like temperature and maximum output length by selecting the ‘Generative AI model settings’ button. This reveals different settings that affect the format of the responses.

You can also adjust the settings directly in the grid by using the function’s optional parameters. The following function produces a response with a temperature value of 1 and a maximum output length of 100 using the “text-curie-001” model.

=LABS.GENERATIVEAI(“write me a poem about Excel”, 1, 100, “text-curie-001”)

You can install Excel Labs add-in through the Office Store.



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