Microsoft Excel, the foundational tool for data organization, analysis, and visualization, has announced a substantial advancement in its analytical capabilities by introducing Python in Excel. The integration marks a new chapter in data analysis, machine learning, predictive analytics, and data cleaning right within Excel.
Python in Excel: What’s New?
The announcement on August 22, 2023, revealed a Public Preview of Python in Excel, enabling users to natively combine Python and Excel analytics without any setup. With Python in Excel, you can directly input Python code into an Excel cell. The calculations are run in the Microsoft Cloud, and the results, including plots and visualizations, are sent back to the worksheet.
Features That Stand Out
1. Built for Analysts
Python in Excel is tailored for analysts. Excel’s new PY function allows Python code to be input directly into cells. This opens up avenues for powerful analytics including visualizations, machine learning, predictive analytics, and more.
2. Utilizes Anaconda
Partnering with Anaconda, the leading enterprise Python repository, Python in Excel leverages Anaconda Distribution for Python running in Azure. This includes popular libraries like pandas, Matplotlib, and scikit-learn, widening the analytics horizon.
3. Secure and Easy to Implement
Python in Excel runs on the Microsoft Cloud with enterprise-level security. It operates in isolated containers using Azure Container Instances and is designed to keep data private, making it incredibly secure and user-friendly.
Workbooks containing Python can be easily shared without worrying about additional tools or libraries. Collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams and Outlook enable seamless cooperation and adherence to information protection policies.
5. Reflects Microsoft’s Commitment to Python
The integration project reflects Microsoft’s commitment to making Python more accessible. Guido van Rossum, Python’s creator and now Microsoft Distinguished Engineer, praised the integration as an “excellent, tight integration.”
See the technology demoed below:
Reactions from partners like McGraw Hill, McKinney, and KPMG indicate an optimistic outlook on the feature. The integration is seen as a game-changer that simplifies reporting workflows and provides deeper insights into data.
Getting Started with Python in Excel
Python in Excel is rolling out to Public Preview for Microsoft 365 Insiders. Users running Beta Channel on Windows can explore this feature, and other platforms will follow at a later date. Some functionality might be restricted without a paid license after the Preview.
The integration of Python in Excel reflects a major milestone in data analytics. It not only amplifies the existing capabilities of Excel but opens up new vistas in advanced visualizations, machine learning, predictive analytics, and data cleaning. Its launch marks not just an upgrade to a beloved software, but a transformation in how we handle, analyze, and interpret data.
Read more at Microsoft here.