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Microsoft Excel is making it way easier to annotate your spreadsheets online

Microsoft Excel
(Image credit: Shutterstock / 200dgr)
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Microsoft is working on a couple of updates that should make it a lot easier for Excel (opens in new tab) users to annotate their spreadsheets. The new additions were quietly added to the Microsoft 365 roadmap and, although currently only classed as being “in development” are expected to be made available later this month.

The first (opens in new tab) of the updates will enable users of the web version of Excel to use the ink and highlighter functions to naturally annotate over their worksheets. The addition should make it much quicker for individuals to make quick additions to their spreadsheets or emphasize certain aspects for the benefit of their collaborators.

The second update (opens in new tab), which also concerns the web version of Excel, enables users to create notes to share and track important information in their online notebooks. Again, this is likely to prove particularly useful for Excel users that share spreadsheets with business colleagues, allowing them to ask questions or leave comments natively in the web app.

New features

The new Excel features are likely to be welcomed by those using the software to collaborate remotely – something that has become more commonplace in light of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Not that long ago, colleagues would have organized a face-to-face meeting to discuss queries or comments regarding a file that they had shared access to. In the era of social distancing, however, these discussions are more likely to occur remotely.

Although digital tools have stood up to the disruption caused by the pandemic admirably, it is noticeable how many software providers have been issuing updates over the last few months. 

It is likely that the influx of new users have suggested changes that simply wouldn’t have been thought of without the adoption of mass remote working.

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with ITProPortal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.