Man pointing to paper and pie chartThere's great news in your immediate future if you're one of the legions of Excel users. Recently Microsoft made some behind the scenes changes to the venerable spreadsheet application that allows developers to code their own custom data types for use inside the program. The upgrade isn't aimed at business executives but rather at developers who need to incorporate metadata into Excel cells.

Excel is very good at organizing text and numeric values and since the earliest days of the application that has always been enough. As time has passed and technology has advanced needs began changing. These days users need to be able to do more than just sort, parse, and organize text and numbers.

During the 2020 Ignite Conference the company showed off how the expanded capabilities could be used. It can be used by introducing dynamic arrays and array formulae along with support for Geography and Stock data types via the search engine Bing.

Not long after the company expanded their number by incorporating Wolfram data types. If you're unfamiliar with them, Wolfram data types are a science-focused search engine.

The company had this to say about Excel's expanded capabilities:

"Countless solutions have been built with Excel. Many of these solutions are powered by cells that most often contain (or evaluate to) just text or numbers.

With the addition of data types, Excel has evolved to a world where cells can contain something much richer. Linked data types (Stocks, Geography, Wolfram and Power BI) entity values, dynamic arrays, improved errors, images in cells, lambdas, and formatted number values are all new types that have delivered on this promise and back many of the experiences you have seen introduced in the product today."

That humble spreadsheet application you've come to rely on is capable of doing a lot more than you may have realized. It has additional capabilities well worth exploring that could add tremendous value to your company whatever business you're in.

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