Python is one of the most sought-after programming languages today, renowned for its versatility and widespread use in various industries. Microsoft Excel, on the other hand, has been an indispensable tool for data organization, manipulation, and analysis. Until recently, integrating these two powerhouses was not straightforward. However, Microsoft has introduced the Public Preview of Python in Excel, bridging the gap between Python’s robust data analysis capabilities and Excel’s user-friendly features.
Introduction to Python in Excel
- Python in Excel allows users to incorporate Python’s data analysis and visualization libraries within Excel. This means you can utilize Python plots and libraries to manipulate and explore data in Excel and then further refine your insights using Excel’s formulas, charts, and PivotTables.
- Users can now perform advanced data analysis within Excel by accessing Python directly from the Excel ribbon. This integration requires no additional setup or installation.
- Microsoft has collaborated with Anaconda, a leading Python repository, to leverage the Anaconda Distribution for Python running in Azure. This includes popular Python libraries such as pandas, statsmodels, Matplotlib, and seaborn.
Enabling Python in Excel
Python in Excel is currently available for Public Preview to those enrolled in the Microsoft 365 Insiders program’s Beta Channel. Initially, this feature will be available for Excel for Windows, starting with build 16818, with other platforms to follow.
To use Python in Excel, you need to:
- Join the Microsoft 365 Insider Program.
- Opt for the Beta Channel Insider level to access the latest Excel builds.
- After installing the latest Insider build of Excel, open a blank workbook.
- Navigate to ‘Formulas’ in the ribbon.
- Choose ‘Insert Python’.
- Click on the ‘Try preview’ button in the dialog that pops up.
Collaboration and Security
- Sharing workbooks and Python analytics is made easy with tools like Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Outlook. Team members can refresh Python in Excel analytics to get the most recent data, even if they haven’t activated Python in Excel.
- Security is paramount, and Python in Excel runs on the Microsoft Cloud, ensuring enterprise-level security as an M365 connected experience.
Feedback and Future Updates
Microsoft is keen on user feedback and has provided avenues within the application for users to share their thoughts and suggestions. They are also planning to introduce new capabilities, including improved editing experiences, enhanced error behaviors, and more.
While in Preview, Python in Excel will be part of the Microsoft 365 subscription. However, post-Preview, some features might require a paid license.
By integrating Python into Excel, Microsoft aims to provide a seamless experience for users, combining the strengths of both tools. This integration is expected to revolutionize data analysis and visualization, making it more accessible and efficient for users.