recaps of the top 'ask me anything' interviews from reddit and more...
We are the Microsoft Excel team - Ask Us Anything!

Hello from the Microsoft Excel team! We are the team that designs, implements, and tests Excel on many different platforms; e.g. Windows desktop, Windows mobile, Mac, iOS, Android, and the Web. We have an experienced group of engineers and program managers with deep experience across the product primed and ready to answer your questions. We did this a year ago and had a great time. We are excited to be back. We'll focus on answering questions we know best - Excel on its various platforms, and questions about us or the Excel team.

We'll start answering questions at 9:00 AM PDT and continue until 11:00 AM PDT.

After this AMA, you may have future help type questions that come up. You can still ask these normal Excel questions in the /r/excel subreddit.

The post can be verified here: https://twitter.com/msexcel/status/661241367008583680

Edit: We're going to be here for another 30 minutes or so. The questions have been great so far. Keep them coming.

Edit: 10:57am Pacific -- we're having a firedrill right now (fun!). A couple of us working in the stairwell to keep answering questions.

Edit: 11:07 PST - we are all back from our fire-drill. We'll be hanging around for awhile to wrap up answering questions.

Edit: 11:50 PST - We are bringing this AMA session to a close. We will scrub through any remaining top questions in the next few days.

-Scott (for the entire Excel team)


206
questions
12,986
score
November 4th 2015
interview date
[deleted]

Why is the graph function so bad?

Why has it taken decades to see any inprovement?

(I'm giving the benefit of the doubt that your survey will lead to changes.)


Primer: Problems with using excel for statisics

The majority of the graph types are variants on stacking series and displaying discrete piles. They are (over)used for some types of information like types of energy. The simple bar type ones aren't good ways to present information. The other geometric variants are worse.

Each variant has pseudo 3D effects options that add nothing and hinder comparison of data. They shouldn't be used by anyone, ever.

There is only one type, IIRC, that has confidence intervals/error bars. This should be available to add to a whole range of graphs, particularly scatter plots.

Histographs. Bin sorting data is very useful. Unfortunately the algorithm for the x axis labels and bins is mind bogglingly bad. It picks and labels the bins bizarrely, with strings of digits that show zero comprehension of use of numbers and precision when conveying information. The bins should also be much more flexible and user defined. (see primer link)

Another actually useful graph type is the 3D surface plot. It only has only one colour scale available for data and it's unique. You would need to force feed LSD coated skittles to a bunch of chameleons, put them in a kaleidoscope and centrifuge them to get a multicoloured vomit covered mess that could compare with an Excel 3D surface plot!

Scatter plots are the main workhorse graph and they are mediocre. There's a great deal of formatting needed to create something presentable. Even then if you save one as a template it saves every title, axis scale, everything and not just the formatting. There's no way to create an extensible colour sequence/scheme for data series, new data gets the next auto generated one. This is an improvement on the days when monochromatic graphs were needed for journals and finding enough ways to format a black line to be differentiable was excruciating. (see above re error bars.)

Back in the 486/P1 days there was a huge memory leak in there too. Probably still there but not noticeable now.

In short it sucks and has been that way for decades. Fix the existing graphs before adding new ones.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

This is great feedback. We have plans to deliver more visual analytic features in the future. Our first delivery of this was with the new chart types in Excel 2016; e.g. Box & Whisker, Histogram, etc. However, we have gotten feedback (similar to yours) about these v1 new chart types. We are actively evaluating solutions to address this feedback. If you have specific ideas, please post them to http://excel.uservoice.com. This will allow others to vote on their top requests.

Scott [Excel Team]

sexrockandroll

I've done work at some jobs to take some really overloaded Excel spreadsheets and turn them into other programs. They can get really complicated! I assume you've seen some of these - spreadsheets that are created by users that end up with horrendously complex macros that push (what I assume is) the intended use case of Excel.

What do you think of users who do this?

Is this something that Excel is supposed to support?

Do you end up finding a lot of bugs from these examples?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

This is exactly how I got started in computer science in the first place! I was doing data entry for a cell phone company as a temp and it morphed into making macros that helped upsell customers on new contracts. Now I'm living the dream!

I love users who do this, Excel provides a great bridge for people who want to do some programming type stuff but don't know how to get started. Yes, they do get out of control quickly but I like to think that is a sign of that crazy Excel workbook adding a lot of value to a business by empowering people who do the work to make their own lives easier without having some big IT project that usually doesn't hit the mark right.

These are also the most fun people to talk to about Excel because they have a deep love for Excel and it's really fun to blow their minds when I introduce something more advanced like Pivot Tables or Data Models that they might not have heard of before and you see their eyes light up with possibilities.

Yes, we support that and yes, we do find some really interesting bugs from this.

-- Kevin

Fishrage_

Any thoughts on updating/replacing VBA?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

We love VBA, and we plan to keep it around for the foreseeable future. As we add new features to Windows Desktop and Mac versions of Excel (where VBA is supported), we’ll continue to add object model for those features (see http://dev.office.com/blogs/VBA-improvements-in-Office-2016), so you have programmable access to all of the capabilities of the application.

That said, the VB runtime was built long before today’s cross platform world (on the VB6 platform which the Visual Studio team has talked about on UserVoice – see http://visualstudio.uservoice.com/forums/121579-visual-studio/suggestions/3440221-bring-back-classic-visual-basic-an-improved-versi), and with the significant investments we’ve made to run Office across multiple platforms, we want to bring all the great scenarios VBA enabled into this new world and we also want to take advantage of the new opportunities this new world creates for our customers. This has caused us to explore new approaches in order to address the new opportunities of a cloud anchored, cross device world (service connectivity, cross-platform authoring and execution, standards-based languages, cloud based deployment/management, and more).

An early stage of this work is the cross-platform JavaScript APIs available to developers in Office 2016, and we are actively working on dramatically extending that API set to be in line with the existing VBA/COM OM. The good news here is that the new APIs will work regardless of the Excel endpoint/device, which will mean that solutions will be much more universal than they are today. Once we’ve broadened the API set, we’ll start working through some of the tooling (a more modern editor than the VBE) and macro recording.

Cheers, Dan [MS]

meneedmorecoffee

How come when I have a csv file, even though I've not changed anything, it still alerts me that saving this as csv can distort formatting? It was already csv, after all. And how come when I save it I have to overwrite the same file every time?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

When we load any file type from disk we load it into the same set of data structures in memory. When you go to save it we have to translate it back to whatever file format you want and don't re-open it. Since we don't guard the user from doing things that might not be compatible with the destination file format (like font changes, charts, colors, etc.) we pop that warning as a courtesy to make sure you are aware that something might have gotten lost even though you might still see it on your screen. -- Kevin

Masterbrew

.

  • Excel 2017, with Python scripting. Have you considered it, or something like it? VBA is many users' first contact with scripting, and it is hardly the best experience for a beginner.

  • More SQL. SQL makes so good sense when juggling data. Would you include it in more places throughout Excel, such as functions? Manipulating arrays and recordsets in VBA could also benefit from SQL support.

  • Excel 2013 introduced the =WEBSERVICE function which is pretty darn cool. Will we see more along those veins? Getting data from websites is a huge headache, and built-in functionality like that is a great help.

  • What is the justification for keeping Power Query, Power View, etc., out of the base Excel configurations? My firsthand impression with these hasn't been great, unfortunately, as I like to stay within Excel. (competing solutions do the data handling better, and Tableau does the power viewing better)


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Hi Masterbrew, hi, 1. pls add your suggestions to http://excel.uservoice.com. 2. have you already looked at Power Query addin? we've improved ability to read from the web (and lots of other sources) and performing shaping/transformations. 3. Re: addins, we've updated Excel configurations for 2016.. more information here: https://blogs.office.com/2015/09/18/new-ways-to-get-the-excel-business-analytics-features-you-need/.

  • ash
epicmindwarp

From the Mod team and redditors over at /r/excel - Welcome and thank you for joining us today! We have a selection of questions already asked for you here, should you get a moment to go through them

What is the best addition, in your opinion, of Excel 2016?

Also, Clippy - how's my buddy doing?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

For the more technical users, the new JavaScript APIs are starting to catch up to the functionality of VBA - these will continue to get better with monthly updates. I much prefer building solutions in a modern, cross-platform language

-James

srul

Are ever going to add smooth scrolling, i.e. not always by a rowful, at least as an option?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

I totally agree with this feedback :-). While not a perfect workaround for all cases, we already have behavior where we don't snap to row/column boundaries in several Excel endpoints today: * Excel Online * Excel Mobile (for Windows) * Excel for Android

We're also removing the snapping behavior in Mac Excel in the next month or so.

Excel for Windows is a bit further out - the plan right now is to remove the snapping in about a year, but it is in our longer term roadmap (at least currently).

Cheers, Dan [MS]

David_ON

Hi, folks! After decades of using Excel, the two items below still trip me up. I appreciate that they were deliberate choices by the Team, but I've never been able to see the reason why. Can you give me an explanation, please?

(1) Knowing when Calculation is not happening automatically is obviously critical. But the "CALCULATE" indicator in the status bar can be overriden by significantly less important messages (e.g. "Select destination and press ENTER or choose Paste").

(2) When the "Find and Replace" dialogue is displayed, the focus may be in either the "Find what" or "Replace with" field (depending on whether "Find what" is empty?). This means that after <Ctrl-H>, one has to check where the focus is, perhaps move it and only then start entering details. If "Find what" was always the focus, then us non-touch typists could simply type "<Ctrl-H>old<Tab>new", only then looking up to check all is correct and hit <Enter>.

Thanks for your time,

David.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Thanks for letting us know about the Find and Replace thing - we'll take a look.

Dan [MS]

SQLDave

Minor-yet-somehow-gigantic annoyance: Why can't the clipboard remember what I've copied into it even after I do some action which causes the "moving dashed line" around the selected/copied cell(s) to go away?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

One of the reasons it works this way at the moment is there are various cases where things can affect the cut/copied range. For instance, copying something, doing a bunch of other operations that cause calc to fire and change what's copied - the paste could wind up giving the 'wrong' answer in some cases. So the model tries to keep things consistent and avoid cases like that. Of course, it's software and there's other ways to do it, so I'd encourage folks that want to see changes here to post/vote for it on http://excel.uservoice.com

-John

sexrockandroll

Does the Excel team have a number of mathematicians on it to develop the formulas and recommend what types of statistics users may want access to? Do the developers learn more about mathematics to implement these?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

We have a couple of team members who are math experts, but we also contract and work with key members of the academic maths community when we make improvements/changes to calc

Cheers, Dan [MS]

nmgoh2

Why is there still not a hotkey or context button to make selected characters superscript or subscript?

Every time I'm writing formulas I have to go through a whole rt click menu process to do what should be a simple button press or hotkey by now.

Ctrl+Shift+ [+/-] is super/subscript in MS word, and has been since at least 2003, why it still hasn't been ported into MS Excel is a fact that boggles my mind today


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Great suggestion, i was just thinking the same thing :-) Would be great if you can add to http://excel.uservoice.com/ -- kirk

HUMOROUSGOAT

What is the most underrated tool/function in Excel?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Everyone probably has their own favorite, but I think Tables are something that once people discover, they fall in love with. They do so many things automatically - formatting, names, referencing, totals, etc.

Joel Spolsky has a cool video that walks through a bunch of hard stuff and then shows how Tables make it much easier:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nbkaYsR94c

Check it out!

Sparklines are really cool data visualization tools too.

-Dave

BFG_9000

Hi Guys,

Thanks for doing this.
I only have 1 question...

Why oh why can we not use a negative value as a column reference in VLOOKUP?

I know that we can use INDEX/MATCH - but that's 2 functions that take longer to type...!


MicrosoftExcelTeam

That's a great point of feedback - thanks for bringing it up! Totally agree with you - we're working on it!

-John

Jackmay2

I've always wondered, in the early beginning what was the original purpose of excel? Why was it created?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Good question - back at the time that Excel was introduced 30 years ago, there was a huge opportunity to help people and organizations be more productive as PCs were becoming more common.

There's a cool interview with some of the original team members who worked on v1.0 you can check out here:

http://www.geekwire.com/2015/recalc-or-die-30-years-later-microsoft-excel-1-0-vets-recount-a-project-that-defied-the-odds/

-Dave

Close

I know it's a long shot, and this thread has lots of suggestions, but have you thought about allowing multiline formulas?

All this IFERROR(if(this,that,if(this,this(this,this),not this)),"None") sends me bonkers, and makes other peoples spreadsheets illegible. If we could have a new type of in-cell formulas where you could type it in like a standard high level language across multiple lines it would be beautiful (e.g. python-like VBA in the formula bar).


MicrosoftExcelTeam

You can use ALT+ENTER to insert a blank line into you formula that is treated as white space: =SUM(1,{ALT+ENTER here} 2,3)

For example will show value of 6 and will show up like so when you have the formula bar expanded: =SUM(1, 2,3)

-Tom

[deleted]

[deleted]


MicrosoftExcelTeam

I've felt that frustration sometimes, too. But consider this: if you started with a cell that had 55 in it, then converted it to percentage, and got 55%, and subsequently decided to change the format back to decimal, what would you expect to get? 0.55, not 55, right? if you got 55, that would seem like a math error. The scenario described is of the "round-trip" ilk. It comes up a lot. (change something, change it back, it better be the same) So we're kind of obligated to play the mathematics pretty straight, I think... But I wish we could sense the "you know what I mean", too, sometimes! Jim

David_ON

While working with large(ish) spreadsheets, I frequently get "insufficient resources" errors in 32bit Excel 2013. I'm about to upgrade to Office 2016 - would my laptop's 4GB be enough to gain at least some advantage from 64bit Excel? Thanks!


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Yes, you can address more than 2GB of memory with 64bit Excel. We did a bunch of work starting in Excel 2010 to allow Excel to take advantage of more memory in 64bit versions.

-Dave

Nam-Redips

For the love of GOD could you please enable two excels to be open in separate windows without having to open up excel separately??

EDIT: Looks like I need to Upgrade!! ~Thanks!

2nd EDIT: Tons of great suggestions below on how to make it easier to do if stuck w/ older versions of Excel, thanks!

Also... Thanks for the gold!! (first time)


MicrosoftExcelTeam

in Excel 2013 desktop and beyond this is possible just by opening the files. -Sam

antidense

Hi, thanks for doing this!

Have you considered overhauling the date/time system? Could we please have ISO 8601-compliant dates (yyyy-mm-dd) that could also work consistently across different time zones?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

We actually pull the list of date/time formats from your operating system, which gives you a specific set based on your region. If you don't see it in your list, you can add a custom number format "yyyy-mm-dd" in the Format Cells dialog. This format will work anywhere you open the workbook!

-James

aer71

If you could start all over again from scratch, with no legacy or compatibility requirements, what's the first thing that you would change?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

In general - I'd say let's have world peace.

Scoping the question just to Excel - I wish we had perfect compatibility between versions of Excel and different platforms. There are so many weird technical problems supporting the different versions of Excel it makes things very confusing for both us and our customers as we have all sorts of weird if statements in the code for special cases that I'm not sure are used any more and make the code hard to understand.

-- Kevin

farmboi

Have you guys implemented any Easter eggs in excel?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Back in the day we did. Now it's an Office policy not to include Easter eggs (for a bunch of reasons). It's a bummer sometimes, but we still do get to have fun on April 1 sometimes :-)

-Dan [MS]

ToffeeAppleCider

So many questions already, but here goes!

When will MINIF and MAXIF come into play?

Also, with people looking more and more towards sharing and updating spreadsheets simultaneously online (e.g. Google Docs), are there any plans for Excel? Sharing a spreadsheet on our server just doesn't work unfortunately.

Sorry, another one! I'm not particularly techy, so it may be obvious but, how come macros will only process using 1 core of a CPU?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

On the Max/Min IF stuff - stay tuned, we're working on a few things I think you're goona like - coming soon! I also encourage you to vote for new features at http://excel.uservoice.com.

We understand the modern world is a collaborative place and we're working hard there to deliver this in a robust, cross platform way. Excel Online does support real time coauthoring of files already.

-John

GameEconomist

Why is Mac Excel such an inferior product vs. Windows Excel? Come on!


MicrosoftExcelTeam

We have been working hard to get Mac Excel to catch up with functionality in Windows Excel. Check out the new features in Excel 2016 https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Compare-Excel-for-Mac-2011-with-Excel-2016-for-Mac-602a6c30-e6a6-47c5-9e0d-b16af397427a There is still work/feature catch up remaining and we continue to ship monthly to get to Windows Excel parity. Are there any particular features you want in Mac that are in Windows, please send your suggestions at http://excel.uservoice.com -Sangeeta [MS]

BulbousCodswallop

In your MS cafeteria, do you guys eat at Pivot Tables?

EDIT: OMG, my first gold for that terrible pun?!! Thank you generous Redditor!!


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Of course! ...and then head down to the formula bar for happy hour!

-Sam

semicolonsemicolon

It would be awesome to be able to view multiple worksheets (in the same workbook) at once, kind of like a freeze panes or split, but with worksheets. Thoughts on that?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Frozenlazer has it right (thanks for the assist!) - there are some options on the View tab, under the Window chunk, on the ribbon that should help here.

-John

Tinkleheimer

What does your accounting department think of your work?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

I'm not sure about our accounting department but my wife works for an accounting firm and she tells me it's an Excel-lent tool and an integral part of their day to day. When I attend one of her company events, it's like a mini-AMA :) - Sherman

snuffy253

If all the Microsoft Office programs were thrown together in a Hunger Games style competition, would Excell win?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Yes. The OneNote team is pretty scrappy though.

BitchesThinkImSexist

Why do you always kill my leading zeros? So much mismatched data because of this =(

edit: I know you can just change it to text format. I don't always remember, my coworkers and employees don't always remember, and my customers certainly don't do this.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

It's not personal!

Usually people put numbers in there and don't want to see the leading zeros. You can work around it by changing the cell format to text if you'd like. -- Kevin

[deleted]

Do you guys ever fight with the Word or PowerPoint guys?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Sometimes but they tend to be verbose and have no data to support their position.

semicolonsemicolon

Thanks a ton for doing this AMA today. Hopefully you'd be open to do it again in the not too distant future.

What plans are there to add and enhance the features of Excel Online? as it's miles behind Google Sheets.

Please create an ability to customize default settings for charts - I'm constantly having to lighten gridlines, remove tick marks, etc.

Please Please Please allow users to turn off the automatic-formatting setting, like if I enter or import 1/2, Excel thinks that's January 2.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

We're (almost) always working on all the different versions of Excel (we have 9-10 depending on how you count), Excel Online included. We just recently released the Number Formatting dialog, some hyperlink improvements, and a bunch of other bug fixes to Online.

For the chart and automatic-formating issues you raised - these would be great things to add over at http://excel.uservoice.com

Cheers, Dan [MS]

Up2KnowGood

Has anyone ever really used the true parameter in a vlookup?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Yes - it's useful for folks who want to find the closest match to a numeric value, without requiring an exact match. - Howie

micahfk

Will native regex formula ever be added into Excel?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Thanks for the input. This is something we're thinking about - I encourage you to vote for this on http://excel.uservoice.com - things with more votes tend to get done sooner.

-John

CantSeeShit

What did you guys have for lunch today? Be specific.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

It's 9:47 am in Redmond, so nothing yet ;-).

Someone did bring in bagels and coffee and fruit.

-Dave

suaveitguy

Excel is a bit of a monster, in that you can do almost anything inside it. How many people are well versed in ALL the functionality inside it?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Zero. Even after being on the Excel team for 16 years, I still learn new things every week. It's awesome.

Dan [MS]

structuralarchitect

My biggest complaint with Excel is trying to print a spreadsheet. It is really difficult to get a spreadsheet to correctly adjust to printing on a single sheet of width with reasonably sized fonts (I suggest being able to set a minimum font size during printing and then Excel automatically resizes the row heights to make the content fit at that min font size.)

What are you guys doing if anything to make printing spreadsheets easier and more intuitive?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Definitely let us know that you'd like us to focus more on that area at http://excel.uservoice.com. Thanks! Kirk

aminalsarecute

When I use excel on my Mac OS, the program only uses 1/8 cores. On my Windows OS that number scales up to 8/8 cores. The performance difference is huge. Why is the Mac version less powerful?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

We did a feature in Excel 2007 called "multi threaded recalc" that takes advantage of the cores.

If that's something of interest for you on Mac, please add a suggestion at the Excel user voice site: https://excel.uservoice.com/ ... the team monitors that and watches that as part of deciding what to work on next.

-Dave -Dave

[deleted]

Why is Excel on OSX so different than it is on Windows?

I got really good at using Excel on PC at work, but when I do personal stuff on my Mac at home it's like using a different software. And why is there no proper accounting number format (negative numbers in parenthesis)?

Also is it true that you're updating Excel for OSX?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

We have been working hard to get Mac Excel to catch up with functionality in Windows Excel. Right from ribbon, task panes, shortcut keys and more we are trying to get similarity in user experience with Windows Excel. Check out the new features in Excel 2016 as compared to 2011 : https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Compare-Excel-for-Mac-2011-with-Excel-2016-for-Mac-602a6c30-e6a6-47c5-9e0d-b16af397427a There is still work/feature catch up remaining and we continue to ship monthly to get to Windows Excel parity. Are there any particular features you want in Mac that are in Windows, please send your suggestions at http://excel.uservoice.com – Sangeeta [MS]

Eji1700

I learned excel through necessity at my last job. I basically have EXTREMELY limited coding knowledge, but am a quick learner and had a few people to learn from. That said towards the end of my time there I'd found that there were reltively simple things that I'm sure Excel COULD do, but I couldn't quite figure it out myself and had run out of hidden interoffice excel guru's to learn from.

So in short, what would be the best way to really learn to use the higher and more powerful functions of excel? I was using macro's and some really simple visual basic stuff at the end, and pivot tables + vlookup sheets were a majority of my job, but I spent a lot of time just getting things to work rather than really understanding it.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Hi, check out the links under "Explore Excel" on http://excel.uservoice.com!

-ash

suaveitguy

Can you give us a quick history of the original development of Excel? Are things like the history of software, especially such an important one, important to MS? is there a big corporate archives that tells those stories?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Excel's 30th anniversary was last month. Geekwire did an interview with some members of the original development team. You can check it out here: http://www.geekwire.com/2015/recalc-or-die-30-years-later-microsoft-excel-1-0-vets-recount-a-project-that-defied-the-odds/

-Dave

Charles-Wall-Piano

Why is the process of producing graphs so horribly backwards?

https://imgur.com/a/PqTkC


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Could you further explain your thoughts on this?

Scott [Excel Team]

suaveitguy

What is the most creative use of Excel that you have seen?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

I went to T-Mobile over this past weekend and saw the staff playing a Tetris game built completely in Excel! My salesman was boasting how he had the highest score in that store but another store had a higher score. Mind Blown...http://i.imgur.com/jsItC5M.gif -Sherman

huttyblue

Are there any plans to release excel (and other office applications) for the linux desktop?

(android/web don't count)


MicrosoftExcelTeam

We have no current plans for a Linux version.

-Dave

jfjeschke
  1. Does your team have any plans for integrating Cortana with Excel?
  2. In Office 365 or .Net Core, have there been any improvements in performance with the COM and interactions with Add-Ins?
  3. What have been your team's most consistent requests from the Excel community?

Thanks for doing the AMA!


MicrosoftExcelTeam

no. 1 and no. 3 -- would love to know what integrations with Cortana you'd like to see -- definitely interesting possibilities there. In terms of that and other requests, you can get a sense for what people are asking for at http://excel.uservoice.com.

NomNuggetNom

How hard is it to manage all the use cases of Excel? It seems like there would be a lot of head scratching and spaghetti code behind the scenes to accommodate every possible use!


MicrosoftExcelTeam

You're right, it's a big challenge. Excel seems to have approximately a gazillion use cases. We generally try to group them into categories, focus on those, and try to keep the spaghetti down. Jim

programmingguy
  1. What development languages do you use for the windows version of excel?

  2. Is there a lot of C programming with the current versions?

  3. Trying to recall but what was the role of Joel Spolsky in the initial excel versions of Excel?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

We use a lot of languages in Excel these days. We use at least: 1.C 2.C++ 3.C# 4.HTML 5.Javascript 6.CSS 7.BASIC 8.XML 9.SQL 10.Assembly 11.objective-C 11.Java 12.XAML

Cheers, Dan [MS]

fallingshoes

What's the best way for me to learn how to master pivot tables?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

hi there, we recently launched for advanced analytics that might be useful, here: https://www.edx.org/course/excel-data-analysis-visualization-microsoft-dat206x..

Also, there're more guides here: http://guides.officeignite.com/Excel%20Guides.htm.

-ash

Tainerifswork

Any particular reason why the clipboard gets cleared anytime anything happens? Kind of makes me want to punch a kitten. Oh, you copied a couple thousand rows.. oh, you alt tabbed to verify the data? LOL copy it again scrub, it's GONE


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Some scenarios may be solved by using the Clipboard Task Pane. To see it, just hit CTRL+C two times quickly, or click the little "expand" icon in the bottom right corner of the ribbon group that contains the "Paste" button. Now you can collect copied items, and paste them later, even if you've done something that's cleared the active clipboard. This will only allow you to paste values (not formulas), but hopefully that will help in some cases. Here's more information about it - https://support.office.com/article/Show-the-Office-Clipboard-E293E508-C0DA-4DE1-84EF-72BB7847DB92

Thanks, Scott [Excel Team]

pighalf

I love excel but sometimes have to use graph pad to analyze certain data and make publication quality figures. What new features can we expect with newer versions of excel?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

What type of things make you move to graph pad?

If you want us to look at features in this or other areas, please post suggestions to http://excel.uservoice.com as the team is always monitoring that and using it as a way to help us decide what to do next.

-Dave

jmottram08

Why for the love of god can't I scroll in increments less than a whole column?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

While not a perfect workaround for all cases, we already have behavior where we don't snap to row/column boundaries in several Excel endpoints today: * Excel Online * Excel Mobile (for Windows) * Excel for Android

We're also removing the snapping behavior in Mac Excel in the next month or so.

Excel for Windows is a bit further out - the plan right now is to remove the snapping in about a year, but it is in our longer term roadmap (at least currently).

Cheers, Dan [MS]

thebarkingduck

Is there an easy way to learn functions? I'm 28 years old and still have never figured it out... despite taking two classes in high school and reading tutorials found on Microsoft's site.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Personally I've only had success learning things when I actually have to apply it to solve a problem either at home or at work. Give me an example of what you want to do and maybe we can help get you started? -- Kevin

Wanderlustfull

Why oh why oh why is there no toggle option to tell Excel NOT to format something it thinks is a date, as a date, when copy and pasting data into a spreadsheet?!

This seems like it'd be the tiniest, simplest option to add, but it would save infinite amounts of frustration. There are pages and pages of complaint threads about this on the Excel forums.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Not a complete solution but you can try putting a single quote in front of whatever text you are entering to avoid Excel formatting that value for you. -- Kevin

happyamosfun

I still use Excel 2002, and I think it's awesome. What are the best developments since then that might convince me to upgrade?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

I'm not going to lie - that was a great vintage of Excel. I think my father in law still uses that one! As for reasons to upgrade I can't imagine my life today without having the power of the data model available to me. -- Kevin

ox_

Whenever you tell people that you work on Excel do they always complain about shit like that little bug that makes Calculation switch from Automatic to Manual for no reason? And why formatting graphs is a lot more hassle now that you have to go to the ribbon to add labels and titles?

When I saw this AMA, all I could think about was little things like that that wind me up. It really is a great piece of software though.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Hey,

Regarding your comment about formatting graphs, in Excel 2013 we added a new feature that allows adding visual elements of the chart very quickly. In Excel 2013, when you click on a chart some buttons show up on the right side. One of these buttons is a "+" which allows you to add or remove parts of your chart; e.g. labels, titles, etc. If you have other feature ideas, please post them to https://excel.uservoice.com/.

Thanks, Scott [Excel Team]

elf25

Why does my magic mouse suddenly become super sensitive in Excel and flip my spreadsheets all over the place, usually to row and column 104,000. It's almost unusable. Because I have to spend time scrolling back. I haven't tried Numbers. Can you do something or recommend a solution?

I sold a LOT of MacPlus's, HD20's and Imagewriters because of Excel, Thank You! People tend think I'm some kind of Excel-expert but I'm no where near, it's an amazing product and had a great run.

I love my Magic Mouse, but as above, excel often becomes insane and I have to be very very careful about touching the mouse when I'm inside Excel - there needs to be a way to adjust... something. Apple does not seem to provide this and Excel is the only program where I have this problem.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Thanks for the feedback. This is something we are working on.

-Dave

H64-GT18

I find it slightly rewarding being better adapted to Excel than MATLAB. I recently used Excel to do Monte Carlo simulations, which makes me wonder..

Will the Team be making an Analysis Tool Pack using/concerning uniformly random numbers (or other probabilistic models for that matter)? Instead of using the RAND function, is a Monte Carlo analysis tool possible for development?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Hi there. If you want us to look at features, please post suggestions to http://excel.uservoice.com as the team is always monitoring that and using it as a way to help us decide what to do next.

Also, there are a number of good add ins that partners build to provide Monte Carlo functionality - Crystal Ball, At Risk, and Frontline Systems are top of mind, but there are probably more if you do a search.

-Dave

[deleted]

If i want to graph data over a time period of several months, is there a way to set up the x-axis on an x/y chart so that the major divisions match up with the first day of each month?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Try this: make your chart, then double click on the x-axis (... I'm assuming your time axis is the x axis here..). when you double-click on it, the Format Object Task Pane (FOTP) will show up on the right side of the screen. Click on the little icon that looks like a column chart - it's toward the right side in the upper area of the FOTP. In that dialog, you should be able to set the "minimum" for your time scale to the start of a month. then sec the major axis to be Months. I think that will get you where you want to go. Jim

mlerman92

Can we expect to see continued growth of the Power BI addins in Excel?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Well, Excel will continue to get better for data connectivity, analysis & viz.. and we'll continue to integrate capabilities that used to be delivered as separate addins more natively into the Excel workflow so more customers can benefit from it.. Any particular Power BI addins you'd like to see more growth in?

-ash

aphex2000

Why is there no direct keyboard shortcut for 'paste values' ?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

ALT+HVV is what I use ... not exactly a shortcut but you can spam it pretty quick. Add this to http://excel.uservoice.com!

-Sam

capnspiff46

Why can the format painter not be used on a chart? Is it something that can be added/looked into?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Thanks for the feedback. This is something we are actively exploring. Please post your feature request to https://excel.uservoice.com/. This will allow others to see your feature request and vote on it. Thanks.

-Scott [Excel Team]

lilmisssmartypants

First of all, I love you guys. The new Pivot timelines and OMG Flash Fill is freakin’ awesome!!!! Whoever came up with that one deserves a cookie.

Prior to 2003, if a cell contained a value like 25, if you edited that cell and just added “+10”, if would assume you wanted to add those two numbers and it would automatically put the equal sign in front of the 25. Why was this feature removed?

Also, once I have created a macro in the Personal Macro book (which is hidden), every time I close Excel I have to close the remaining shell with no workbook visible. I know it’s because I’m closing that hidden Personal Macro book, but dammit all, can’t we just assume I want to close it too?

P.S. If the Word dev team would ever do one of these, I’ve got a list called “If Bill Gates Ever Calls Me Back” that I’d like to run by them.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

TYVM - worked on the new timeline feature and that thing is pretty nifty. My favorite feature was something we called "Bogey Mode" internally if you hold down control and move the selected time range around.

Why we don't add 10 to the 25 in that scenario - not entirely sure why we did that. I'm sure there was a good reason but you can save yourself the trouble if you just put a 35 in the first place :)

As for the personal macro thing - I don't have any knowledge of that specifically but we know making assumptions usually doesn't work out so we generally try to avoid that. It would probably be more annoying to people to have to reopen that than it would be to close it.

Why don't you have an Excel list?

scruffyhealer

When will we get UTF-8 encoding support when saving as .csv?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

I suggest adding your vote to this item in user voice: http://excel.uservoice.com/forums/304933-excel-for-mac/suggestions/9783765-support-utf-8-for-csv-import-export because the more folks ask for this, the more likely it is to happen. -Howie

notsamuelljackson

Looks like I am the first to comment on conditional formatting. In the newer versions of excel why did the team choose to make the conditional formatting menus look fancier instead of focusing on making the formulas easier to write?

I can never remember if I need to start my rules with an = or if that is already implied. How about a conditional formatting wizard for those of us who want o use multiple rules over multiple ranges?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Thanks for the feedback. CF is one of my favorite features.

Please add your suggestions to our user voice site (https://excel.uservoice.com/) ... and vote on other things that you like. We monitor the site frequently as part of our product planning activities.

-Dave

SirCatMaster

What do you do when you see your homie using a mouse wih Excel?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

My homies wouldn't do that.

Dan [MS]

wisevis

Will the implementation of new chart types in Excel 2016 be improved soon? They don't feel like Excel charts, no detailed level of control, missing important features (encoding color ramps to treemaps, horizontal boxplots) and several bugs.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

We have plans to address the gaps in the new Office 2016 chart types in the coming months. If you have specific features in mind, please post those to http://excel.uservoice.com. Thanks for the feedback.

-Scott [Excel Team]

sts9_love

Why is formatting limited to three decimal places? I would like 9+.

I know you can get 10MM rows in PowerPivot, but do you think more than 1MM rows will be available in standard Excel anytime soon? Powerpivot has limitiations in how many functions you can use in one statement, so the extra rows aren't always enough.

I understand both of these can lead to complicated calculations pushing memory limits, just wanted to know your thoughts on these two points.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

We can store up to 14 digits of decimal precision in a cell, and you have the option to display even more by clicking this button. You can also set this number in Format Cells dialog (ctrl+1).

-James

EDIT: How about that HB bust-out on Halloween?!

hiro111

Is there anything that can be done to improve the stability of Solver? It's a bit glitchy. I'm on 2013.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Hi Hiro11, can you PM me at ashvinis? Would love to take a look.

Thx -ash

invmini

What inspired to make the UI how's it's today?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

The story of the ribbon is a nice recap of the UI evolution:

https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/MIX/MIX08/UX09

-Sam

BaronVonWasteland

First, I want to thank you for making work fun again.

Second, could you explain a little bit about how Excel sees dates and fractions so that I can understand why things turn out wonky sometimes?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Dates are stored as real numbers, with the integer portion representing the number of days since Jan 1, 1900 and the fractional portion representing the portion of the day. You can see the numbers by setting the formatting to "General".

tik_

Hi! Thanks for the AMA, when are pivot charts coming to MAC?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

We are working on it, Please vote for this idea at excel.uservoice.com. Sangeeta [MS] Direct link : http://excel.uservoice.com/forums/304933-excel-for-mac/suggestions/9101221-include-pivotcharts-as-a-feature-for-excel-for-mac

I_smell_awesome

Is a hot dog a sandwich?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

My kids certain think so. -Dave

ahmedika

Why is excel on Mac so different than on PC?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

We have been working hard to make Mac Excel as similar as possible to PC Excel. In 2016 Mac Excel, we have overhauled the UI (Ribbon, Task Pane) to look like Windows Excel, Keyboard shortcuts are now similar. Finally we continue to add more functionality to Mac Excel - Slicers, DataAnalysis Toolpak and more. Are there any particular features or the product UI aspect that you think are very different and need to be consistent? - Sangeeta [MS]

Skippy8898

I work with UPC's a lot and often times the first digit is a 0. When pasting the UPC into a field it either automatically takes out the 0 or it displays like 9.71E+10. Anyway you can have it automatically display what I put in there without me having to configure things around?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

All data in the Excel grid is either a text string or a number. Then formatting is used to show those strings/numbers in a particular way. If you specify that what you're entering are strings, leading zeros won't be dropped. One way to do this is to start the entry with a single quote (apostrophe), which tells Excel that what follows is a string. The other way is to format the area in which you are about to enter data as text. - Howie

[deleted]

[deleted]


MicrosoftExcelTeam

The way recalc and references work in Excel, we rely on the book name, and so having two books open with the same name breaks recalc.

Can you let me know why you want to open two books at the same time?

Cheers, Dan [MS]

The8bitplaya

Opening up a second spreadsheet (for side by side) is a pain in the rear end.

I have to open up another version of excel and then load the document.

Why can't it just be easy as a right click?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Which version of Excel are you using? 2013 desktop and beyond should open side-by-side just by opening the files.

-Sam

Zockman175

Are you guys EXCELlent?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

http://i.imgur.com/iRGpzT5.gif Boy, that's a tough one :) - Sherman

ksvr

Are you guys familiar with Chandoo? He and the gurus on his site have helped me so much with excel.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Yes, he is one of our MVPs. We love our MVPs.

-Dave

EndoNGB

Tell me and tell me quickly. Will we ever see Clippy again?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Never say never.

Really though, I doubt it. At least, not as the old Clippy. We did bring him back on April 1 last year, in Office Online. :-)

Cheers, Dan [MS]

EnterpriseT

Any plans or progress on opening documents with password protected sheets online? I'd love to share a document with a team that allows certain people to see certain pages.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Hi, great suggestion.. can you add it to http://excel.uservoice.com/ so the community can rank it?

Thanks! -ash

MadScientist420

Why do you leave out axis labels on the default charts? Why??


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Could you post a picture to ensure we are thinking of the same thing? When I create a chart it has axis labels.

Thanks, Scott [Excel Team]

barbrady123

Since it sounds like VBA is here to stay, any plans to at least update/redo the horribly outdated IDE/interface? Make it something like more visual studio? Update the hot keys so they aren't totally different than other microsoft products? Anything?


peacockass

I'm terrible at using Excel, able to use only the most basic of functions - what would you say are the best websites or videos offering tutorials?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

There are some good links to resources here -- http://excel.uservoice.com/

I also like this site -- https://www.youtube.com/user/ExcelIsFun

And there are a bunch of resources on Office.com too. https://support.office.com/en-us/excel

Kirk

CJIA

Hey Excel team! I'm a long time user of excel and really think it's one of the most most powerful tools out there.

I guess my question would be : Who the hell mapped the keyboard shortcuts for the mac version, and why didn't they more closely replicate the PC mappings?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

In 2016 we updated to align the shortcuts in many places, but also left a number of the popular Mac shortcuts so we wouldn't leave users hanging. Overtime, you'll see the two products become more similar as we add more of the Office for Windows features to the Mac version. In the meantime, you can find the latest shortcuts here -- https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Keyboard-shortcuts-in-Excel-2016-for-Mac-acf5419e-1f87-444d-962f-4e951a658ccd -- kirk

bradlees

Will you make 'Numbers' finally cry?

Is full Cortana integration possible on Excel? I'd like to talk to my workbooks as I build them. I think this would be helpful.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

We're generally a pretty friendly bunch and don't want to cause tears, but if you've got suggestions for how we can help you bend the numbers to your will, let us know.

On the Cortana integration - great suggestion. There are a group of folks on the team thinking about this - we've got some cool stuff in mind. I'd encourage you to vote for it here as well - http://excel.uservoice.com. The more votes something has, the more likely we are to do it sooner.

-John

loganalarcon

How's it going! My question is as a student, how focused are you on making the excel platform mobile? I'm huge on writing papers/spread sheets while on the go etc. The old palm Treo had a full mobile word application & that was awesome.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Hi loganalarcon! We're 100% committed to providing the best spreadsheeting experience on mobile platforms. We have apps for Windows 10, iOS, and Android

-James

EnterpriseT

Any chance there might be functions introduced that return the name of the containing sheet, table or document instead of the crazy workarounds we have right now? Those features would be great!


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Thanks for the suggestion! Please also post suggestions to http://excel.uservoice.com as the team is always monitoring that and using it as a way to help us decide what to do next. This is an area we're looking into, and these 3 specific suggestions are on our radar.

-John

RedShirtSmith

Are there any features in Excel that the user would likely take for granted, but are a bitch to code, or to integrate into other code?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

I'd say recalc. It's totally fundamental to the product, but was a real computer science problem when first implemented.

There's a podcast here you can listen to that talks about that a bit:

http://www.geekwire.com/2015/recalc-or-die-30-years-later-microsoft-excel-1-0-vets-recount-a-project-that-defied-the-odds/

-Dave

A_rabbit_foot_failed

I keep it short, two questions from me: - When will we have multi window support? - When will there be support for collaboratively working on one excel file?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Multi-window support is in as of Excel 2013: https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/3rid26/we_are_the_microsoft_excel_team_ask_us_anything/cwoc2io

For collaboratively working on and Excel file - we support that today in Excel Online, and we know it's important to bring to the other endpoints as well (and we're working on it)!

Cheers, Dan [MS]

M_Bus

Hey guys! I use Excel every day, so thank you for such a fantastic product. It really makes my job much easier.

I have found, however, that there are a few weird things about the new Excel as well as some older functions.

First, I would love an in-application way of disabling the animations. As it stands, I can either disable animations at the OS level or I have to use a little hidden registry option to disable the Excel animations. As far as design goes, the animated scroll bars are very pretty. But as far as usability goes, it kind of kills it for me. Is Excel going in a different direction as far as the whole "user-friendliness" vs "raw power" trade-off goes?

I've also noticed that some of the probability distributions have very long calculation times that seem to lag behind the likes of R, Matlab, etc. That's to be expected, I guess, but I also found that when I used my own normal distribution function (for example) using the Box-Muller algorithms or similar (there's a paper by Dieter and Ahrens on this topic, I believe) that I was able to achieve EXPONENTIALLY faster calculations. Is there any thought about updating some of those old functions with newer algorithms? I'm not actually aware of what algorithm Excel uses to calculate normal distributions, just that the box-muller algorithm (which is an accept/reject algorithm) goes much faster when used in VBA.

Finally, for the reasons I mentioned above, I'd love to see a bit more extensibility with other languages used for crunching numbers, like R, Matlab, Octave, SAS, SPSS, Julia, Python, etc. I have found information about building add-ons, but it would be nice to have a little bit more there.

Edit: Oh, and window switching is pretty buggy on two desktops. Control+Tab will sometimes switch to a window that is minimized, and the window doesn't maximize automatically. It's a little peculiar. Similarly, when multiple desktops are in use, ctrl+tab will switch to other desktops, which is obnoxious.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Thanks for the detailed feedback and great suggestions.. can you pls add the feature requests to http://excel.uservoice.com so the community can rank these? thanks!

-ash

marcm79

Is there a way to fill bugs for Excel? Over the years, I have had spreadsheet that crash the application, I hate that some dialog box can 't be scaled and I would like to fill improvement bug reports, I have lots of small issues that never seem to go away with new versions of Excel.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Hi there

For feature ideas, please add them to our user voice site (and vote on other ones you like!): https://excel.uservoice.com/

For bugs please just use the send a smile/product feedback links in the product. The engineering team monitors those carefully and will reach out if we need more information. The more specific you can be about the problem, the better.

Thanks for your help with our product!

-Dave

snap_wilson

What do we have to do to get a function that can use a range to weight specific statistics (such as average and stdev)?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Please enter your feature request at http://excel.uservoice.com. This will allow us to get a better understanding as to how popular such items would be for our users. -Howie

slugworth01

Any plans for Bullet Graphs as a chart option?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Bullet charts is an active area of investigation. Please post your feature request to https://excel.uservoice.com/. This will allow others to see your idea and vote on it.

Thanks, Scott [Excel Team]

spacenegroes

Just one very simple question:

How come I can't scroll by less than the width of a cell? Why can't I smooth scroll? It makes it really user-unfriendly when you have wide cells!


MicrosoftExcelTeam

While not a perfect workaround for all cases, we already have behavior where we don't snap to row/column boundaries in several Excel endpoints today: * Excel Online * Excel Mobile (for Windows) * Excel for Android

We're also removing the snapping behavior in Mac Excel in the next month or so.

Excel for Windows is a bit further out - the plan right now is to remove the snapping in about a year, but it is in our longer term roadmap (at least currently).

Cheers, Dan [MS]

Thrannn

did you ever meet bill gates in person?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

I did once, when I was an intern (and 17 years ago, interns got to go to his house for a dinner...which I think they eventually stopped doing). It was pretty cool. I got to ask him what he thought about "cable internet" and if it would be a big thing in the future.

Dan [MS]

matthewli88

What are the differences between xlsx and xlsb? I've been saving all my big files as xlsb to save space and haven't noticed any differences so far.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Hi - the difference is simply persistence format (XML vs binary). Functionally they are equivalent. XML (used in XLXS) is an open standard, but can slow down open and save of certain larger files compared to older (pre-Excel 2007) file formats, so we added XLSB when we added the XLSX format for people that were concerned about performance and large files. So XLSB should be smaller and faster than XLSX for most files, but if your files are not large, you may not notice a difference.

-Dave

one1two2three

Hi! I regularly use Excel for work, just to produce tables, store information, produce the odd graph etc but I know that I'm only scratching the surface with it. I'd love to explore it more but I would prefer to use some examples and exercises.

Can you recommend any tutorials/resources?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

we recently launched for advanced analytics, here: https://www.edx.org/course/excel-data-analysis-visualization-microsoft-dat206x.. it has various labs and exercises that will help you really master some of the advanced capabilities!

There're also more guides and videos under "Explore Excel" here: http://excel.uservoice.com/.

Thanks

  • ash
SayItLikeItIs

I've been using the Office 2010 version of Excel for years. About 5 months ago I tried out the Office 365 version, but it kept crashing - or rather, it would quietly stop responding without reporting an error. This happened at least once an hour, maybe more often, on my computer and on a colleague's computer, on a 175-MB spreadsheet. I switched back to the Office 2010 version, which crashes regularly but in a predictable way, and has no problems with that particular file.

My question: have you fixed that problem in Excel 365? Given that it happened frequently on two installations of Excel 365, I doubt I was the only person experiencing it.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Sorry to hear you ran into a problem. And thanks for letting us know! In Office 365, you should be able to easily submit a bug via the "send a smile" feature (click on the smiley face under the close file X icon in upper right). Don't worry - it's clear that this problem is not something to smile about - you can send a 'frown" and report the details of the problem. The more information you provide with the submission, the more likely we can identify the problem and determine how to fix it. (of if it's been fixed already). If you can attach a file that exhibits the problem, that's very helpful. The team scrubs these bugs routinely and we put extra emphasis on crashing problems. Thanks! Jim

u38cg

When will you make it possible to easily integrate other languages? R, Python, etc, would be a great step forward.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Can you post this on http://excel.uservoice.com? Would love to chat more offline if you have the time & scenarios, PM me at ashvinis!

-ash

IM_NOT_THAT_CREEEPY

In office 2013, when I attempt to get a regression plot (using the data analysis toolpak) I end up with Excel crashing on me. This isn't an issue I have ever had in the 2010 or earlier versions of the software. Can you explain why that might possibly be?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Thanks for letting us know. We would love to learn more about your scenario. Would you mind reporting your issue through our "Send a Frown" feedback channel (CTRL+ALT+8) and provide us with as much detail as you are comfortable with so that we can we look into this in more detail? Thanks again for helping us improve our product. -Sherman

[deleted]

[deleted]


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Hi there.. absolutely, we'll continue to integrate Power Pivot more deeply into Excel. For the specific feedback items you have, please add them to http://excel.uservoice.com.

-ash

[deleted]

What is the best way to learn the more advanced features of Excel?

I know that Excel can do more than I am using it for, but struggle to find a good way to learn the advanced stuff.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

On our user voice site (https://excel.uservoice.com/), check out the "training videos" in the "Explore Excel" box.

One of our team is doing some cool training sessions(https://mva.microsoft.com/en-US/training-courses/analyzing-and-visualizing-data-with-excel-11157?l=GpuVoqTSB_3405095270) that's turning out to be quite popular.

-Dave

ikingdoms

May be a little outside your scope, but are all the Office products deliberately worse on Mac? I use both Windows and Mac, and it's night and day between the two versions in terms of performance, and sometimes features (Outlook may be the worst offender).


MicrosoftExcelTeam

They're not deliberately worse, but we know there are a lot of things we could do better on the Mac platform. We're committed to closing these gaps, and you will start seeing that reflected in our monthly updates to Excel for Mac.

-James

erbush1988

Why can't I do a direct importxml function into a cell like Google docs?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

It's not exactly the same, but check out the WEBSERVICE, FILTERXML and ENCODEURL functions in Excel 2013 and later.

Cheers, dan [MS]

InvisibleBlueUnicorn

What is the most comprehensive list of keyboard shortcuts for using excel?


BoomersGold

Whenever I input a fraction,it always automatically changes into a date. What's the point of this? Will there be a way to turn this off so that all fractions are seen as numbers?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Excel is trying to make it easy to enter dates on cells that are not already formatted using the format suggested by how you entered it. If you preformat the cells first as fractions then when you enter them they will not get turned into dates. -Tom

jdubilla

Why can't I open two windows of Excel at the same time? It would be great to have two spreadsheets open next to each other.


johnnyslims

I want to track my fantasy baseball league's stats. Would I be better off doing this on Excel or should I just use Access?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Excel should work fine for this. If you want to create a small relational data model with multiple tables and relationships, you can do that within Power Pivot which is an Excel add-in that comes with Excel 2013 and 2016. It's a free web download for Excel 2010. -Howie

yawningcat

Are the folks working on PowerBI desktop part of the Excel team? I'd love to see some of the new PowerBI functionality like importing 3rd party graphs wind up in Excel. And I'm a bit worried that some of that PowerBI innovation won't make it to Excel. Can you alleviate my worries? Can you talk a bit about the PowerBI roadmap as it relates to Excel?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Hi there, folks on the PBI and Excel team have been working together for longer than we'd like to admit.. in fact, some of us have moved between the teams over the years.

Yes, both Excel and PBI will continue to get richer over time, and in fact are now sharing the data connectivity stack (Power Query) and the data model (Power Pivot) so learnings and investment in one tool accrues to the other. Excel will continue to evolve as the spreadsheet tool, and PBI is focused on visual data discovery.

We're working to make sure as customers of both apps, you can analyze PBI data in Excel, PBI can work on Excel data, the PBI SaaS service provides industry leading dashboarding offering over Excel data, etc.

thanks for the great question

-ash

shemp33

Hi - I hope you're still answering questions.

Here goes mine.

Sometimes when working on an Excel document, after editing, opening, closing, editing some more, over a period of time, it seems to have grown to a really large file size - like 4mb or even bigger.

Copy and paste the data out, and presto, it's back to 60K or so.

I've tried looking for embedded links to other files, there are none, tried looking at perhaps a bit of formatting that went all the way to the theoretical end of the row/columns, there is none, track changes being turned on, but it's not.

That leads me to believe that somehow, somewhere, I'm getting something or doing something that is corrupting the file.

Are there any tips I might look for in further troubleshooting this? Perhaps some known condition?

It's Excel 2013 on Windows 7 x64 OS, not sure if Office is 32/64 version.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Hi - there are a number of reasons for file size increase, including VBA project size, extensive use of formats in large unused areas, a large number of unused styles, etc.

-Dave

[deleted]

[deleted]


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Hi - we are definitely always thinking about new functions. Please put your requests on our user voice site (https://excel.uservoice.com/) which we monitor frequently as part of our product planning. And vote for other ideas you like!

Regarding waterfall graphs, we recently released these in Excel 2016. Please check these out and let us know if they address your needs.

-Dave

zamrai

Hi, I have two questions:

1) Why does the maximum number of rows end at ~1M and the maximum number of columns at XFD? I would personally much rather (if cells are zero sum) have a quarter the number of maximum columns but 4x as many rows...

2) Why is importing in SQL Server so horribly bad compared to csv? Both excel and SQL Server are Microsoft products, I'd imagine the integration between them would be much better... For example in xlsx I can't import a file with, say, 75 columns of data and 50k rows whereas it's fairly easy in csv.

Edit: I have another question actually: Before Excel 2013, moving/copying a file to a new destination would change the links inside to grab the current folder's file if available. Now it keeps the old source folder instead of the new folder. Why was this changed and can it be changed back?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

hi zamrai, have you already checked out Power Pivot for larger number of rows and Power Query for better data import? Would love to get your feedback..

-ash

[deleted]

Could you please publish a list of every single hotkey ever? My husband taught our blind friend to use excel and she relies on them, in conjunction with JAWS software for the blind!


PairOfMonocles2

Are there any plans to ditch the ~1,000,000 row limit? There are many more complex analyses that are easier to do in excel than to try to do in SQL or a database but I'm constantly running into the row limit and have to break up data into 5-10 pieces to work with. Computers seems fast enough, at the top end, and have plenty of memory, again, at the top end, that this seems like it should be possible. As it stands now the answer is always to use Excel for smaller things and SQL/R/Python/Etc... for larger things but I'd love to be able to use Excel for large data sets as well, any chance it's in the future, even if just with the 64-bit version or something?

Thanks! Excel is the reason that I install MS Office btw! For Outlook, Word and Powerpoint I feel that I could very happily use other options, but I'm really a fan of Excel.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

hi there, if you have Excel 2010 or later, try out Power Pivot, which is designed to store and work with much larger volumes of data!

-ash

[deleted]

[deleted]


MicrosoftExcelTeam

You can also get free Excel at http://excel.office.com . It's all the powerful spreadsheet functionality available in the Excel Online service. Try it ! Also Excel mobile app in iOS and Android is also free. -Sangeeta [MS]

meg10222

What is a little known tip/trick/shortcut that everyone should know?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

If you select some data and then click Alt-F1, it will insert a chart using the selected data. (the chart is the default chart type - which typically people leave as a column chart). that's pretty handy if you do much charting. Jim

idanh

Hi! I have a bit of a support question: I'm an average excel user. Mostly using it for reports and BI. This week I've stumbled a problem that drove me crazy, why isn't MySQL data importing and auto refreshing it when excel is opened is such a problem?

I've tried everything. From ODBC to power query which ain't finding mysql connector on multiple computers and mysql extension that isn't working properly on office 2013 and neither provide refresh and advanced options.

Sorry for that much of a specific question on your AMA, but it came as a surprise that at this point the data features in excel are either completely not working or missing, and very very limited.

Thanks!!


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Hi idanh, pls use the "Power Query" forum on TechNet.. start a new thread if you don’t find an answer.. the community and team members are active on that, sometimes we race who answers first!

-ash

bettorworse

Who decided on the "Ribbon"? And if we have to have a "Ribbon", at least make it customizable - all that shit on there that I NEVER use and I could just get rid of it.

/Also, tell the dang Access team to have an AMA. :)


tasty_314
  1. What is the most complicated use of excel you have personally witnessed?

  2. What do you think is the most useful function that most people don't know about or don't know how to use? Could you use it in an example?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Hi there

  1. We've seen a ton of amazing things. The investment banks around the world really push Excel as part of their work creating new mathematically-intensive products, but we also see amazing work in the business intelligence space, factory floor planning, logistics management, scientific research, etc. Excel really is used for everything, which is why it's such an awesome product to work on.

2) See my answer here: https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/3rid26/we_are_the_microsoft_excel_team_ask_us_anything/cwocoas ... there are lots of possibilities, but that's one of my favorites. And sparklines. And conditional formatting.

-Dave

Tony49UK

Can you implement integration of the Open Documents Format?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Hi - recent versions open and save ODF. If there are specific requests you have, please post on our user voice website (https://excel.uservoice.com/) which we look at frequently as part of our product planning work.

-Dave

[deleted]

[deleted]


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Thanks - yes, this is a known issue we are working on.

-Dave

smittythesysadmin

What would it take to make it so we can have three axis bar charts, and two measurements. Like this:?

A donation of some sort? Cookies? I would be willing to do both if I didn't have to pull data into Tableau to make that example.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

I personally like chocolate chip cookies. In looking at your picture, it looks like you need two value axes (vertical) and a time axis (horizontal). We refer to this as a combination chart in Excel which is supported. Here are some basic steps for Excel 2013.

1) Select your data that has two series 2) From the Insert tab, click on Recommended Charts 3) In the chart dialog, click on the "All Charts" tab at the top 4) In the list of charts in the left panel, click on "Combo" and specify the configuration of your combo chart.

Thanks, Scott [Excel Team]

drteq

My biggest surprise was working with a large Fortune 10 company and finding that their top execs used excel to email a list of current marketing initiatives around on a daily basis. There is no reporting, just a vanilla spreadsheet with some rows. No cloud. Just email. They then updated the data and pass it around again.

I'm curious how aware you are of the significance of Excel in it's simplest form being an absolute necessity for operating the world we live in?

p.s. I make a great living migrating companies from simple excel structure to full blown systems. Thanks.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Hi - the product team spends a ton of time with customers of all sizes, locations, and types. Indeed, Excel is used very widely, and it's part of what makes Excel such an interesting product to work on.

-Dave

fradetti

Less software-centric question: do you have any idea of how huge is the impact that Excel have on our society?

I also want to THANK YOU and let you know you had a huge impact in my life: 3 years ago after university I landed a commercial analyst internship (6 months). Until then I had almost never used excel in my life, and I learnt very quickly. Day after day I was both learning excel and solving work issues at the same time (with a little google help when I had troubles). My boss was impressed at what I could do with excel after some time.

I transformed that internship in a full-time job and started my career and I keep using excel everyday.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Thanks so much for sharing -- your feedback is we love working on this product every day! -- kirk

cdiddy11

Are there any changes in the mix to enhance some of the graphing capabilities in Excel? My company recently began to adapt Tableau for visual analytics and it is far easier to use to present sophisticated graphs. Tableau intuitively presents your data and seemlessly transitions between multiple graph types. What is MS doing to compete with modern products like Tableau?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

In Office 2016 we introduced six new chart types for Excel (and greater Office). We'll be continuing to introduce more charts on a more frequent cadence, as Office is shifting to a much more frequent release cycle via O365. If you have specific requests for features / functionality, please let us know on http://excel.uservoice.com Thanks! Jim

Enlightenment777

Have you considered releasing an "Excel Lite" with a simple pull-down interface, like Excel 2003? Most of the time I use Excel to make "pretty tables" and use nothing more than simple math and totaling columns.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

We'd love to know what you think of the Excel Mobile app (you can get it from the app store in Windows 10). It works great on phones, slates, and PCs.

-John

countvoncastro

i need a invoice today for my boss. im on a chrome book at work since im in my truck office on set.

Is there an easy to use one?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

If you have an internet connection you might try Office Online/Excel Online at Office.com.

Lt_Snuffles

Why we can't write in script in Python in Excel? Was there any consideration for it ?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Great suggestion.. pls add to http://excel.uservoice.com, and also vote for others there that you think would be useful!

-ash

ValiantViet

What's a feature or function that you think more people should know about?


Brayzure

Hi! Thank you for doing this AMA! Is there any practical reason for the ~1mil row limit? If our systems can handle it, why not let us go beyond that?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

check out Power Pivot in Excel 2010+ larger datasets.

-ash

[deleted]

What do you guys EXCEL in? (Sorry, had to drop this one... Thanks for the AMA, it is really interesting to read all the answers!)


MicrosoftExcelTeam

In my opinion, I think it's how we obsess over our customer experiences. Every day when I come into work, that seems to be the common theme we always focus on. Whether it's ensuring we build new features that people want, testing to ensure that it's high quality, and obsessively gather feedback from our customer to further improve their experiences, we're obsessed. That's one of the reasons why I love working on this team and product for the past 10 years. - Sherman

Made_in_Murica

Why do you guys intentionally handicap the Mac version of Excel?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

We have been working hard to get Mac Excel to catch up with functionality in Windows Excel. Check out the new features in Excel 2016 as compared to 2011 - https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Compare-Excel-for-Mac-2011-with-Excel-2016-for-Mac-602a6c30-e6a6-47c5-9e0d-b16af397427a There is still work/feature catch up remaining and we continue to ship monthly to get to Windows Excel parity. Are there any particular features you want in Mac that are in Windows, please send your suggestions at http://excel.uservoice.com

CAredditBoss

First and Foremost - Thank You! Excel has made my career.

How close are you guys with the PowerBI team? For the love of god tell them to make PowerBI import desktop excel charts. Unless I'm missing something?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Hey - we do work closely with the PowerBI team. You aren't missing anything. PowerBI doesn't currently support importing Excel charts but this is great feedback. If you don't mind, please post this feature request and any others that you have to https://excel.uservoice.com/. This will allow others to see your idea and vote for it. Thanks.

Scott [Excel Team]

TheRealPinoccio

Will we ever be able to have different cell widths in the same column?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Probably not, but you can merge cells and kind of get an effect of different sized cells down the same column.

-Sam

ZachSka87

Why does Excel handle non-standard UTF-8 characters in CSV's so differently from other spreadsheet programs? Frequently I can open CSV's with unicode characters easily in Google Docs, Numbers, Open Office, etc....but if I open it in Excel all the unicode characters are gone and the CSV formatting is completely broken.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

I suggest adding your vote to this item in user voice: http://excel.uservoice.com/forums/304933-excel-for-mac/suggestions/9783765-support-utf-8-for-csv-import-export because the more folks ask for this, the more likely it is to happen. -Howie

[deleted]

I would love to be able to open two instances of Excel at a time instead of having multiple documents open within the same Window of Excel. We use dual monitors and it would be nice to be able to view one spreadsheet on each screen without having to stretch out the main excel window that they are both open in.

Is there a way I can make that happen today or is it something that you might be able to do on future releases?


willisbar

What's your take on R? Do you see it as a competitor in any sense? Is there any work being done to expand past the row and/or column limitations Excel has?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Great question.. we're constantly looking at how to make Excel users more productive, and would love to hear what you'd like to see. Pls post the suggestions on http://excel.uservoice.com. For R specifically, would love to hear from you on what scenarios you'd like us to support.

Re: the rows limitation, check out Power Pivot in Excel 2010 or later, which is designed for much larger data sets.

-ash

canoxen

Can you tell me why sometimes numbers turn into dates? Also, how can I turn those auto-dates into regular text?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

When I enter something like 10/12, the system can't know for certain whether I intend to enter "10/12" or Oct 12. Sometimes the educated guess Excel makes isn't what you want. To force entry to be taken literally (as text) you can either pre-format the cells where you are entering data at text, or start your entry with a single quote (apostrophe) which tells Excel that what follows is a text string. - Howie

Goal_PhD_EE

My friend once asked me, why does the VLOOKUP function has to search for the variables on the left side of the table and why not let users dictate where it could be searched from. What was the reason for this decision? Will VLOOKUP function ever change for users to have more power? Or is it something that my friend will have to get used to?

Edit: Spelling


femininehips

Recently I have had to use excel a lot for writing equations. The only extremely frustrsting thing is that I can't quickly make super and sub scripts! Word has a keyboard shortcuts, but I'm excel I have to select text, right click, format cell, superscript, ok every time. How can this be done faster?


sanjosanjo

Hi all. Will there ever be way to use two different spreadsheets in their own windows (like Word)? It's really hard to work with two spreadsheets in the "tiled" mode that is currently required.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Which version do you have? 2013 and beyond open in separate windows.

-Sam

jstaylor01

Any work on better chart options. Powerpivot and charts are great and all, but are somewhat limited. Tableau for instance, is a bit better with some options, but will we ever see some really great charting tools?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

We are continually looking for ways to improve the Excel charting experience. Its hard to know which options you are referring to. Please post your feature ideas to https://excel.uservoice.com. This will allow others to see your idea and vote on it. Thanks.

-Scott [Excel Team]

[deleted]

[deleted]


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Thanks for the kudos - of course I've got my own opinion, as does probably everyone else on the product team, but I think this one is actually best answered by the community.

We love to hear what people like about the product as well as what they want to see improved.

-John

NotEconomicallyViabl

Why is it that Excel 365 for business does not allow sharing and embedding worksheets in websites but the personal version does?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

We do actually allow embedding on Office 365 too, we just don't have a configurator. You can learn more about how to do it in this help article: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Embed-your-Excel-workbook-on-your-web-page-or-blog-from-SharePoint-or-OneDrive-for-Business-7af74ce6-e8a0-48ac-ba3b-a1dd627b7773?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US

Cheers, Dan [MS]

Stankydude33

Does anyone know EVERYTHING that Excel can do? If so, I want their autograph.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Probably no one. Not even here. Good idea to seek other autographs. Jim

pagalrider

Hi guys! Thanks for doing this AMA. I absolutely love working on excel and appreciate the quality of work you and your team has put out. What has been the reaction to all the animations in Excel 2013? I am talking about the animation for cell selection etc. Personally, I find them very distracting.


Ghodot

Hey ! Why is the VBA interface on Mac so simple in Excel 2016 ? The one from 2013 wasn't really beautiful but it did a good job.

And am I missing something or there isn't even a "debug" menu ?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Hi Ghodot, we know there's room for improvement in the Excel for Mac VB editor and I've got good news - we're working on it!

-James

GoesNutz4Donutz

Do you design the charts function / objects in word and PowerPoint? There is no consistency of use between them despite being very similar to the user... I always wondered if there is one team, and if not, do you guys interact at all???


MicrosoftExcelTeam

We have a single team that designs & implements the charting features in Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. Could you further elaborate on the lack of "consistency" that you see? Thanks.

Scott [Excel Team]

bj_good

Hi guys - it is probably far too late to ask now, but why am I always asked "do you wish to save your work?" When I open a file quickly just to reference something then close it? No changes are ever made


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Hi - there are a number of possible reasons, but the most common is that we save the cell selection, so if you change that, we ask you if you want to save the changes. Other reasons include things like calculation changes, etc.

-Dave

Pvtpenguin311

Is there anyone on the team that truly knows everything that Excel can do or are different features handled by individuals? I have heard before that no one person truly knows every function and feature that Excel can accomplish.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

No, there isn't. Even after being on the team for 16 years, I still learn new stuff every week. Plus, we're always adding new features.

That's part of what makes working here so exciting!

Dan [MS]

bermudi86

Why did you stop with the easter eggs?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Maybe you just can't find them :)

Seriously though, we have a list a mile long of things we want to do in Excel to make the product better so we're busy enough with our day jobs.

-- Kevin

ilius

Can you make the mac excel shortcuts the same as windows?? PLEASE for the love of god i'm like at 25% productivity on a mac.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

In Excel for Mac 2016, we have made the shortcuts as same as possible. Check this : https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Keyboard-shortcuts-in-Excel-2016-for-Mac-acf5419e-1f87-444d-962f-4e951a658ccd

"Alt" shortcut keys are not supported since OSX does not have the Alt key.

KittiesNotTitties

When is the power pivot layer going to allow for one to many relationships?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

All relationships in PowerPivot are many-to-one (or one to many, depending which side you start at.) Cross-filtering is done in one direction, with a filter on the one side, cross-filtering the many side. We're considering enhancements for the future, including 1:1 relationships and two-way cross-filtering.

[deleted]

Hello guys,

Any chance that ternary plots will be available in Excel?

I realize that graph making capability in Excel will probably not match that of Origin or SigmaPlot, but any improvement would nice to see!


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Great suggestion. Please add it to our user voice site (https://excel.uservoice.com/) which we monitor frequently as part of our product planning work.

-Dave

doubled822

Why is it that when I open some Excel spreadsheets, usually on a remote fileshare, when I go to close the file it will ask me if I want to save changes when all I did was open the file and look at it?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

There are a number of possible reasons, but my guess is that you've changed the cell selection, which is something we "save". That's the most common reason.

-Dave

Lamb1111

With big data on the rise in the corporate world as of late, can we except to see any further enhancements to power pivot?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Yes, we continue to work on PowerPivot.

If you have specific suggestions or requests, please let us know at our user voice site (https://excel.uservoice.com/) which we monitor carefully as part of our product planning work.

-Dave

Rocklobster92

Why do you keep working on excel when it could do all anyone wanted it to do back when Office 2003 came out and we still don't use it for anything different?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

From the awesome feedback we are getting here today it looks like 2003 didn't actually "do all anyone" wants :) I have a feeling the well of innovation still has plenty left from which to draw. -Tom

chillywilly69

Seriously... why must Excel crash daily? I have a decent machine and anytime I push excel to do any heavy lifting it just quits on me. On a related note the Auto Recover feature is very good and most of the time I am able to continue where I left off.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Hey, needless to say that isn't normal.. PM me @ ashvinis so we can take a look!

-ash

JerryS2R

Are you ever going to allow microseconds in timestamps?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Great idea. Data types are always interesting. If there are specific requests you have, please post on our user voice website (https://excel.uservoice.com/) which we look at frequently as part of our product planning work. And vote on other things you find compelling!

-Dave

tuhnsoo

Hi there,

Of the endless features and functionality of Excel, how much of it does the average Joe use?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

We do a lot of research in that area as part of our product planning work. There really is a spectrum of usage ... some users use almost everything, some users specialize in some specific area, and everything in between.

-Dave

grabtindy

Is there a plan to bring Pivot Charts to Excel for Mac? I have an old Windows box I keep running literally for that single feature.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Hey - this is an area we are actively investigating. Please post your feature idea to https://excel.uservoice.com/. This will allow others to see your feature request and vote on it. Thanks.

-Scott

[deleted]

Are there any Macs in your office/workspace at MS, or do you all have Windows PCs? (I'm assuming you have only Windows PCs xD)


MicrosoftExcelTeam

I have:

  • one PC laptop
  • one Macbook Pro
  • iPhone 6
  • Nexus 7 Android
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (Android)
  • Nokia Lumia 920 (Windows Phone)

There are lots of non-PC devices around these days.

Cheers, Dan [MS]

jursla

Excell is the best thing MS came up with IMO. Good job. Since we are all providing feedback, one feature i am missing is a simple picture vlookup. Is there anything like that coming?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Thanks!! For picture vlookup: you can kind of do this today leveraging the camera tool functionality: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEM0pp5SjMU

-Sam

toxiccake_

I have one question. I have a very large set of numbers between 0-63. What would be the easiest way to quantify the number of times a number appears in that list (e.g. 50 1's, 75 2's, etc.) without having to type out =COUNTIF() 64 times? Thanks!


MicrosoftExcelTeam

I'd use a PivotTable to count the number of occurrences for each value. -Howie

Davidfreeze

Can you add an SQL style join feature? Had to write a makeshift one with groovy and a csv parser. I'm sure it'll help out some less programmatically inclined person from spending hours matching two tables together.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

hey, check out the Power Query addin for Excel to merge (or append) different tables/queries together.

-ash

iambuilding

For the love of God, can you please make a keyboard shortcut to make a subscript or superscript in EXCEL like one does in MS Word?


Grespin

Why are the Mac features laid out differently than the Windows version? I'm in a Computer applications class and having a hell of a time following the tutorials....


MicrosoftExcelTeam

With Excel for Mac 2016, the layout is much more like Windows (it's the same, for all the features that Mac supports).

Cheers, Dan [MS]

NewWorldScrewWormFly

Will you PLEASE add a way to turn off the "smooth" animated movement between cells in the new Excel 16? I'd really rather my cells just snap from one to the next!


Patsboem

Why doesn't Excel have an (COUNT)IF function that allows for multiple criteria? It's such a basic thing... Would be super helpful!


MicrosoftExcelTeam

We added COUNTIFS and SUMIFS in Excel 2007 - check this out.

-James

jwarsenal9

Why oh why does the Mac 2016 version not have the same ALT keyboard shortcuts that PC has? I'm happy you at least added VBA functionality back, even though it is still lacking to the PC version


MicrosoftExcelTeam

This is because we have to play well with OSX, there is no support for ALT key in OSX. - Sangeeta [MS]

racer_ohms

what is the most unknown but useful trick/tip for excel?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

I love keyboard shortcuts. The more I memorize the faster I am. Here's a link to ~200 of them (Windows XL):

https://onedrive.live.com/redir?page=view&resid=592B05F76554281F!239082&authkey=!AEolb4bRTyOTCdw

-Dave

[deleted]

What features do you think are most under utilized in both Excel 2013 & 2016 by intermediate/advanced users? Thanks for doing this.


Bran_Solo

Are you going to make Excel for HoloLens?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

We have explored various scenarios for how Excel could be used with the Hololens. This is very new technology which has some interesting applications but we are still assess the best use with Excel.

Thanks, Scott [Excel Team]

Someoneoldbutnew

How does it feel to work on the only Microsoft product that people genuinely love?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

It's great to hear that! We have a lot of fun while working hard to deliver this product to our customer. Check out the team with our favorite green http://imgur.com/gallery/VKCsR94/new

AirGuit9r

simple request, but how about adding a lighter red in the default 'theme colors' to use for cell fills?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Hi - great idea. Please post on our user voice site (https://excel.uservoice.com/) which we look at frequently as part of our product planning work.

-Dave

[deleted]

[deleted]


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Great thanks for asking! How are you? :-) Kirk

kenwoodifhecould

Tab (worksheet) management - how feasible would multiple rows of tabs be for those monstrous workbooks that just won't stop growing?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

This is an idea I've heard before. How about adding it over at http://excel.uservoice.com

Cheers, Dan [MS]

siddharthvader

Can we get more than 1048576 rows?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

You can do this using PowerPivot. If you use 64bit Excel, you're limited only by the amount of memory on your machine. You can also import millions of rows into the Pivot Cache, with a PivotTable on the worksheet. This latter approach won't show you all the detailed rows in a grid, but it will allow you to perform analysis on a data set that is larger than what will fit on the worksheet. - Howie

MACEXCEL12345

Hi,

When are you planning on fixing the bugs in MS Excel 2016 for MAC? Solver has some sort of always on top thing that prevents us from clicking the cells. When can we expect an update?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

We're working on it :-)

Dan [MS]

L617

Could you explain what Microsoft Excell is and what it's used for as if I was a 4 year old?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Tough one! I'd try this: 'Excel is a program that runs on computers that helps people do fancy things with numbers.'

*Jim

RhythmPanda

What is the best was to become proficient in excel? Do you guys recommend any certifications or programs?


LEDCandle

Can you bring Clippy back?


InsaneEngineer

Are there any members from the original excel team remaining?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

I think the last one retired last year, but many of the members of the Excel engineering team have worked on the product for a long time. We're very proud of our product and our work, and we tend to be a committed bunch! -Dave

s8koeuy

In a pivot table, how come there isn't an option to show values as moving average?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

hi there, pls add this and other improvement suggestions to http://excel.uservoice.com!

thanks

-ash

jozohuzo

Do you prefer windows over mac os outside of your work?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

I use both OS X and Windows both at work and at home. I like them both. But I like Windows 10 best, personally. (truly) Jim

Duffy315

Can I please open two excel documents side by side without having to open another instance of the excel application?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Which version are you on? This works in 2013 and later.

-Sam

Qscfr

Besides programming what is something either one or all of you excel at? Please don't ignore this I am genuinely interested.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

I'm pretty good at woodworking.

Dan [MS]

yonikasz

How do you guys feel that Excel compares to Google Sheets, do you feel it is competition, or just a different software that does different things? Also how large of a data set is excel made to handle, at what point do you guys feel that a database is a better way to store a dataset?

Thanks again for taking time out of your day to do this AMA.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

I'll let someone else handle the first question, but for data sets, the issue is the amount of memory available to hold that data. 32bit Excel (and all 32bit apps) are limited as to how much memory they can use (and how much data they can hold). 64bit Excel is designed to handle much larger amounts of data, up to the amount of memory on the machine. Whether Excel or a database should be used depends on the scenario. For large scale transaction processing, databases are often more appropriate. But if what I need is to pull in some data from a database, analyze it in a PivotTable and perhaps create some charts on it, Excel does a great job, even if the data sizes are fairly large. The newer features such as Power Pivot and Get & Transform (formerly Power Query) make this even better in Excel. - Howie

[deleted]

[deleted]


MicrosoftExcelTeam

As far as I know, it's not. Can you elaborate on what difference you're seeing?

Cheers, Dan [MS]

TooOld4Reddit

Any plans to allow keyboard shortcuts for "Paste as Value," or to set that as a DEFAULT? PRETTY PLEASE?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Ctrl+Alt+V, V, <Enter>

Cheers, Dan [MS]

TheFryerOfChicken

What kind of program did you design in excel to auto-answer all of these questions?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

You're on to us :) http://i.imgur.com/Jr2LRgQ.gif - Sherman

BulbousCodswallop

Why can't I open two separate workbooks in two separate windows, without reopening the application? For example, if I open two Word documents within one instance of Word, they are wholly separate. If I open two workbooks within Excel, I must minimize one to access the other. Only workaround I've found is to open the first workbook. Then reopen Excel again and open the second workbook.


skobombers

How often does someone make a joke about you guys "excelling" at your job?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Keep reading this AMA and you can hazard a guess ;)

TheCoreyMatthews

What considerations are in the pipeline for size and speed improvements? Given the rapidly growing amount of data being collected and growing popularity of alternative analytic platforms such as R, SAS, Tableau, etc., is anything in the works to allow Excel to compete with these platforms? What is currently limiting size and performance now that 64bit processing is ubiquitous?

-Group of consulting analysts


MicrosoftExcelTeam

We're always looking at performance improvements. 64bit Excel can handle much larger amounts of data, although sometimes folks have to stay with 32bit Excel because they have some older add-ins that were developed only for 32bit. The many platforms that you mention target different scenarios, and we think that integrating with such platforms is important. While Excel functionality overlaps with many of these, it's not a competitor/replacement for such platforms. -Howie

becomearobot

Why does excel keep crashing on my macbook pro?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Apple just released OS X 10.11.1 (patch notes) which should help with the stability of Office 2016 on Mac

-James

Trudar

As an employee of international company, that operates in many languages, I find it absolutely impossible to share any Excel knowledge with my colleagues working in different language versions of Excel. I'm sure this was discussed many times, and approach of using localised function name has its reasoning, but why you don't include a feature, that with simple key/button press will display all the formulas in preset language (the best would be configurable, but English would do at the beginning). For same reason, why not include all the supported languages to begin with, and allow just easy switching from options menu?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Thanks for the suggestion. please post on our user voice website (https://excel.uservoice.com/) which we look at frequently as part of our product planning work. And vote on other things you find compelling!

-Dave

Azuretyger

Do you plan on adding any support for a small amount of relational data? I often find myself utilizing spreadsheets where Excel functionality is perfectly fine for 95% of what I want to put in it, but where a small part could use non flat capability. For instance an issue tracker thathas 10 flat fields but could use support for a relational notes column. I really don't want to build an Access database for that.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Power Pivot (a separate add-in for Excel 2010, then built in to Excel 2013 and newer) provides the ability to create a relational data model within Excel. I often think of this as a desktop database (similar to an Access database) within the workbook. Then you can create PivotTables that analyze the data model without having to flatten/denormalize the data into a single table. - Howie

thebedshow

Why is your software so good? Too good to be replaced with anything.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

We have a great team building it, and awesome users who support us.

Dan [MS]

sc2rook

When having 2 workbooks open side by side, and then opening a search dialog, that search dialog is shared between the 2 workbooks. Any idea if this will change to have a separate instance of a search dialog for each open workbook?

Currently, it gets a bit clumsy when working in larger workbooks and I need to search.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

One way to accomplish this would be to open each workbook in its own instance of Excel. After one workbook has been opened, hold down the ALT key, right click on the running instance of Excel in the task bar, and choose Excel. You will get a prompt asking if you want a new instance of Excel. With two distinct instances of the program running, they won't share anything (including the search dialog.) - Howie

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MicrosoftExcelTeam

We are actively looking into adding new data sources with Power Query. Thanks for the specific suggestion. It's actually already in our list of things to do! For the second question, we're planning to constantly improve the Power Query functionality..

Would love to see any other specific asks on http://excel.uservoice.com!

Thx

-ash

alSeen

Why did you take out the flight simulator easter egg?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Not sure. Maybe it kept crashing? Jim

ihahp

How come when you "cut" something Excel, instead of it disappearing like it does in every other program in the world, it instead gets the "crawling ants" treatment?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

This goes way back. The amount of data you can have selected in Excel can be very large - if you are just trying to move the cells from one place to another, this model doesn't force the clipboard to be initially populated (which could take a while and take a lot of memory), allowing the use of "cut-paste" to efficiently work as a "move". Also keep in mind that unlike data in other types of programs the content could have formulas that need to be adjusted based on where they get pasted. -Tom

Konnoke

Do you guys take interns?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Of course we do! https://careers.microsoft.com/

Cheers, Dan [MS]

hmmwhatsthisdo

Is there any reason Excel 2013 doesn't let you use the same sort of typeset equations from Word/OneNote/etc. while inside of a cell? It's rather frustrating if you'd like to use an equation as a column header and are forced to either make a sort-of-readable plaintext analogue or manually move the (floating) equation object into place on the page and hope it sticks.


MicrosoftExcelTeam

That's a great suggestion, and something we've started to think about.

Please add it to our user voice site (https://excel.uservoice.com/) which we monitor frequently as part of our product planning work.

-Dave

yeah_so_

Why, oh why, can't Excel for Mac have feature parity?!


MicrosoftExcelTeam

We have been working hard to get Mac Excel to catch up with functionality in Windows Excel. Check out the new features in Excel 2016 as compared to 2011 : https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Compare-Excel-for-Mac-2011-with-Excel-2016-for-Mac-602a6c30-e6a6-47c5-9e0d-b16af397427a There is still work/feature catch up remaining and we continue to ship monthly to get to Windows Excel parity. Are there any particular features you want in Mac that are in Windows, please send your suggestions at http://excel.uservoice.com

40g

As a scientist who uses excel on a daily basis, one of the features I'd really like is more flexibility in terms of the graphs you can make. Are you familiar with GraphPad? Are there any plans to add the sort of flexibility GraphPad has into Excel with respect to making pretty graphs?


MicrosoftExcelTeam

Hi 40g. I was not familiar with GraphPad. Thanks for the pointer. If you have specific needs & suggestions, please add them on http://excel.uservoice.com . I can tell you that we are actively working in the data visualization area, including updating the design / look. Jim

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MicrosoftExcelTeam