In a significant move aimed at enhancing data analysis capabilities, Microsoft has unveiled the integration of the popular programming language Python with its Excel software. This innovative feature is now available for public preview, empowering Excel users to seamlessly manipulate and analyze data using the capabilities of Python.
Stefan Kinnestrand, General Manager of Modern Work at Microsoft, highlights the versatility of this integration: “You can manipulate and explore data in Excel using Python plots and libraries, and then use Excel’s formulas, charts, and PivotTables to further refine your insights.” With this development, advanced data analysis becomes achievable within the familiar Excel environment, enabling direct access to Python from the Excel ribbon.
An intriguing aspect of this integration is that users won’t need to install any additional software or set up add-ons. The Python integration in Excel is seamlessly incorporated into Excel’s built-in connectors and Power Query. Microsoft is also introducing a new “PY” function that allows Python data to be seamlessly exposed within an Excel spreadsheet’s grid. Furthermore, through a collaboration with Anaconda, a prominent enterprise Python repository, well-known Python libraries such as pandas, statsmodels, and Matplotlib will be readily accessible within Excel.
Crucially, the computations performed using Python in this setup run in the Microsoft Cloud, and the results are effortlessly returned to an Excel worksheet. This means that users can harness Python’s robust capabilities while maintaining the convenience and flexibility of Excel. The integration enables the creation of formulas, PivotTables, and charts based on Python data. Moreover, charting libraries like Matplotlib and Seaborn can be integrated to generate sophisticated visualizations, including heatmaps, violin plots, and swarm plots.
Guido van Rossum, the creator of Python and a distinguished engineer at Microsoft, expressed his excitement about this collaboration: “I’m excited that this excellent, tight integration of Python and Excel is now seeing the light of day. I expect that both communities will find interesting new uses in this collaboration, amplifying each partner’s abilities. When I joined Microsoft three years ago, I would not have dreamed this would be possible.”
The Python in Excel integration is being introduced as a public preview for Microsoft 365 Insiders in the Beta Channel, beginning today. It is worth noting that the initial rollout will be limited to Windows, with plans to extend the availability to other platforms at a later date. During the preview period, Python in Excel will be included in a Microsoft 365 subscription. However, it’s important to be aware that certain functionality may be restricted without a paid license once the preview phase concludes.
In conclusion, Microsoft’s integration of Python with Excel ushers in a new era of data analysis capabilities, where the power of Python and the convenience of Excel come together seamlessly. This collaboration between two industry-leading platforms holds immense promise for users across various domains, opening up novel opportunities for insights and innovation.