Excel is about to get smarter

Microsoft Office 2019, set for release by the end of the year, will feature a more powerful Excel that will use artificial intelligence to perform more complex data analysis.

The souped up Excel will be able to understand more about a user’s inputs, and pull information from the internet as needed, TechCrunch reported. For example, users can tag a list as a certain category — such as “company names” — and Excel can get more information about the companies named in that list from Microsoft’s Bing search engine, which will be connected with the spreadsheet. Excel will also be able to discern what category a list might fall under by reading the content of the list.

Also new will be a built-in tool that can create visual representations of the data within an Excel spreadsheet. Dubbed Insights, it is modeled after a similar tool in Microsoft’s Power BI suite. The charts and graphs are manipulable by the user as well.

“Office 2019 will add new user and IT capabilities for customers who aren’t yet ready for the cloud,” said Jared Spataro, Microsoft’s general manager for Office, in a blog post. “For example, new and improved inking features—like pressure sensitivity, tilt effects, and ink replay—will allow you to work more naturally. New formulas and charts will make data analysis for Excel more powerful ... Cloud-powered innovation is a major theme at Ignite this week. But we recognize that moving to the cloud is a journey with many considerations along the way. Office 2019 will be a valuable upgrade for customers who feel that they need to keep some or all of their apps and servers on-premises, and we look forward to sharing more details about the release in the coming months."

Satya Nadella Microsoft
Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., smiles during Microsoft Developers Build Conference in Seattle, Washington, U.S., on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. Microsoft said it will focus investments on Azure cloud services meant for the Internet of Things, in which multiple sensors and smaller computing devices track data that can be analyzed by the company's cloud and artificial intelligence tools. Photographer: David Ryder/Bloomberg

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