Microsoft is taking Excel beyond text and numbers. The company is today introducing new data types for Excel, starting off with Stocks and Geography.
The new data types, powered by Microsoft’s Knowledge Graph, allows users to embed rich geographic and financial data within their spreadsheets. For example, the new Geography data type allows users to get key information about a country, city, state, postcode, area, or continent. They can easily get access to information such as the population, political leaders, location, time zones, etc. without having to manually search them on the web. This data can be then used to take things to the next level with Excel’s existing filtering systems and rich charts.
Just like geographic data, users can easily work with financial data such as stock prices. These two new data types work with the usual Excel formulas, so you can use these data types in combination with any functions like performing calculations using the dot operator. Most of the data provided for the new data types are also refreshable, so one can quickly update them and get the latest changes to the data without having to manually update them. Excel is also clever when it comes to detecting data types — for example, the app will automatically know that England is a country and AAPL is a stock, and it’ll provide rich data accordingly.
These new data types for Excel, combined with other intelligent features in other Office apps will likely be the primary focus for the next update to Microsoft’s suite of productivity apps. With Office 2019, Microsoft’s focus seems to be on adding intelligent, cloud-driven features to its Office apps, which isn’t anything surprising to see. For now, though, you can play around with the new data types in Excel today if you are part of the Office Insiders program.