Making more from your Microsoft Excel data could soon be a lot easier thanks to a new Python integration.
The spreadsheet software is getting even more ability to analyze and visualize data with the new Python in Excel feature.
The popular programming language will now be available directly from the Excel ribbon, allowing users to carry out, "advanced data analysis" in a much more straightforward way.
Python in Excel
"Since its inception, Microsoft Excel has changed how people organize, analyze, and visualize their data, providing a basis for decision-making for the millions of people who use it each day," Microsoft wrote in a blog post announcing the news. "Today we’re announcing a significant evolution in the analytical capabilities available within Excel by releasing a Public Preview of Python in Excel."
Users won't need to install any extra software or add-ons, with the new addition forming part of Excel's Power Query feature, and running within the Microsoft Cloud.
The new PY function allows Python data to be exposed within the grid of an Excel spreadsheet, with users able to type Python directly into a cell. Excel users will be able to create formulas, PivotTables, and charts all based on Python data, with the ability to bring in charting libraries like Matplotlib and Seaborn for visualizations like heatmaps, violin plots, and swarm plots.
An integration with top enterprise Python repository Anaconda also means that popular Python libraries including pandas, statsmodels, and Matplotlib will be available in Excel.
Python in Excel is available now as a public preview for Microsoft 365 Insiders in the Beta Channel. Windows users are the only ones able to access it for now, but Microsoft says it hopes to extend to other platforms “at a later date.” It will however be included in a Microsoft 365 subscription whilst the preview runs, although some functionality will be "restricted" if you don't have a paid license after the preview ends.
“I’m excited that this excellent, tight integration of Python and Excel is now seeing the light of day,” says Guido van Rossum, Python’s creator and now a Microsoft distinguished engineer. “I expect that both communities will find interesting new uses in this collaboration, amplifying each partner’s abilities. When I joined Microsoft three years ago, I would not have dreamed this would be possible.”
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Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.