Microsoft have announced their April updates to Office 365, focusing on Excel and Sharepoint. The latest updates are, once again, all about adding intelligence to Microsoft Office 365 applications, including new data types for Excel as well as the addition of intelligent search in SharePoint.
New data types for Excel
Excel users are already accustomed to using intelligent tools such as Insights. This latest update, however, will see Excel become more powerful thanks to Microsoft Cloud. The new data types in Excel are cloud-connected, and Microsoft have announced the first two types as stocks and geography.
Users will be able to take advantage of the fact there are added AI capabilities, meaning Excel is now able to recognise data types beyond just numbers and text strings. Geography is a good example, for instance, if you were to enter 'Belgium', Excel would know it's a country and would therefore be able to associate it with attributes such as the country's population and GDP. These additional attributes can be automatically populated into different cells and, perhaps more impressively, thanks to the fact they are cloud-connected, they refresh in accordance with the latest data.
Microsoft are promising that this is just the start when it comes to creating even richer data. Using machine learning, the new data types are set to make the process of working alongside real-world data even more simple. Looking towards the future, Microsoft have stated they are going to add organisational data types backed up by the Microsoft Graph to Excel, which will ensure user's spreadsheets are filled with content that's even richer.
New capabilities for Excel Online
After numerous requests for more capabilities for Excel Online, Microsoft have finally added them. The update will see editing and creating spreadsheets within your browser become even easier and Microsoft have introduced Pivot Tables as well as the deletion of rows and columns to the online platform. Users can also insert images from local storage, change the colour of their tabs and duplicate existing sheets.
SharePoint Online search
Following on from their announcement last year, Microsoft have introduced new SharePoint Online search capabilities. Now you can expect to find information, expertise and people from your entire company from within the platform. The move, which allows for more personalisation and is being rolled out to all Microsoft Office 365 subscribers, will provide bespoke search results based on your work patterns.
The new, more intelligent, search feature, uses signals from Microsoft Graph to create useful and redesigned results. Microsoft have made their results easier to explore too, allowing users to preview files without leaving the search page. Bringing everything together, users can expect to see consistent and personalised Microsoft Graph powered results, irrespective of whether their search began within SharePoint or Office.com.