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New Data Types and Smart Templates Coming to Excel

2 April 2020

Let's be honest: we all use Excel for many different things, business and personal, simple to complex. Power Query and Power Pivot have helped is to find, aggregate, organise and refresh our data in Excel, but it can still take a while to construct.

But it's getting simpler every day.

Microsoft has recently announced another way to interact with your data. New data types are coming. With these new data types, it will become even easier to turn your collated data into digestible information as Excel provides deeper insight for more than 100 topics. These include food, movies, places, chemistry, and even Pokémon (come on everyone, get a life!). All you have to do to save time is convert your plain text and numbers into a new data type and Excel will surface both rich visual and interactive data cards and images that provide a better representation of your data.

Microsoft has provided an example:

Say you want to start keeping better track of your nutrition. Simply enter a food like “avocado” and by converting it to a Food data type, Excel will help you access its nutritional information. If you are vegan, maybe your family is considering adopting a dog (no, we are not suggesting you eat a dog). You can evaluate different types of breeds using the Animal data type, which provides you with images, facts and their temperaments, so you can easily create a table to compare them.

With data types, the associated information may be easily updated, so you always have the latest and relevant data. Right now, anyone may access the Stocks and Geography data types in Excel for the web. However, Microsoft 365 subscribers will have exclusive access to the over 100 new data types powered by Wolfram Alpha. As a Microsoft 365 subscriber, data types will give you the opportunity to:

  • Easily gather, organise and analyse the information you need in one place without the hassle of finding, copying and refreshing the data
  • Use new smart templates with data types to do more. They will help you prepare to move to a new city, track your nutrition, etc.

The new data types and smart templates will be available to Office Insiders shortly and to Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscribers in English in the coming months. Watch this space!