Microsoft has unveiled the integration of the widely-used programming language Python into Excel. The Redmond-based software giant has introduced a public preview of this feature. As a result of this development, advanced users will gain the ability to seamlessly incorporate Python code directly into Excel spreadsheets and analyze data using conventional Excel formulas.
Steffan Kinnestrand, the General Manager of Modern Work at Microsoft, elaborated on this integration: “The fusion of Python with Excel equips users with Python’s robust data analysis and visualization libraries alongside the familiar features of Excel. This synergy empowers users to manipulate and explore data within Excel utilizing Python plots and libraries. Subsequently, they can harness Excel’s repertoire of formulas, charts, and PivotTables to further enhance their insights.” Kinnestrand conveyed these details through a blog post.
The new capability enables advanced data analysis within the familiar Excel environment. Users can conveniently access Python directly from the Excel ribbon without necessitating any extra software setup or installation. Microsoft has ingeniously leveraged built-in connectors and Power Query to seamlessly integrate Python with Excel. The computation of Python calculations is executed within the Microsoft Cloud, as highlighted in the blog post.
This advancement allows Excel users to generate formulas, PivotTables, and charts grounded in Python-generated data. Furthermore, they can incorporate charting libraries such as Matplotlib and Seaborn to craft compelling visualizations like heatmaps, violin plots, and swarm plots. To enhance this integration, Microsoft has partnered with the data science platform Anaconda to provide commonly used Python libraries within Excel.
The initial rollout of this feature commences today for Microsoft 365 Insiders within the Beta Channel. Initially, it will be accessible solely to Windows users, with plans to extend its availability to other platforms subsequently. Microsoft has also clarified that during the preview phase, Python in Excel will be encompassed by the Microsoft 365 subscription. However, certain functionalities will be subject to restrictions without a paid license after the preview phase concludes.
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