Tech

Microsoft adds custom data types to Excel

In a nutshell: Until recently, Microsoft Excel users could only enter text and numbers into cells as data. One of the announcements Microsoft made at this week’s Ignite 2021 is adding more types of information that users can enter into Excel, beyond the additions made in recent years.

Microsoft will soon open a preview of a new JavaScript API for Excel that will allow users to create their own data types containing things like images, entities, arrays, or formatted numeric values. All of these can be supported by their own custom data sources. Users will also be able to create their own functions that can use these data types both as inputs and outputs.

Microsoft has published a blog post development changes in Excel, as well as other parts of Microsoft Office, and includes animated gifs showing Bloomberg using the new data types. GIFs show someone incoming graph into an Excel chart by entering what looks like a formula. Another shows they drag and drop locations from the world map into the cells of the chart, combining them with the formulas in that chart.

In 2018 Microsoft added Artificial intelligence stocks and geography for data types. Last year it started allowing users to enter their own data as a data type, and announced plans to add over 100 more data types in the future, such as chemistry, elements, food, and more.

At Ignite 2021, Microsoft also announced changes to PowerPoint, the Office app, and more. it announced a brand new video editing application called Clipchamp, as well as more significant changes to Microsoft Office applications.


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