Microsoft Office 2019 will be released next year, and there are some fantastic upgrades to the suite – specifically to Excel and PowerPoint. While only a few details have been released so far, it’s looking like Office 2019 will be landing in the second half of 2018 and that further upgrades will be announced in full at the next annual Microsoft Build conference in May.
Without further delay, let’s take a closer look at what’s already been announced for Office 2019.
A smarter Excel
Excel will be getting a lot smarter, with capabilities for new data types. It will be able to understand your data inputs more thoroughly, and have the ability to collect extra data for you.
What are we talking about? Picture this scenario: Your spreadsheet has a column for business names (for the sake of the example, let’s say they are sales leads). Excel is capable of automatic detection of what these inputs are. In other words, it knows that these are the names of businesses, and in turn, the program can use Microsoft’s Bing API to provide additional data about each business.
It’s not limited solely to business names either – the new Excel understands patterns in your inputs and will be able to identify an as yet unspecified number of potential data types. This could mean in a list of geographic locations, Excel could provide census data, or perhaps for a list of barcodes could find additional product information. The possibilities here imply drastic changes in the way we gather and process data, and we are looking forward to more information from Microsoft in the coming months.
An application programming interface
Excel will also be able to import machine learning models from external sources to analyse the in-program data. More advanced users will be able to write increasingly complex scripts for analysis or for pulling in data from any other app featuring an API (application programming interface).
Excel then, is about to become a far more efficient and flexible tool in data analysis, and with it’s traditionally user friendly interface, could put powerful analytic tool in the hands of every business owner.
The new Insights feature can any list of data and then start to generate visualisations.
A feature currently dubbed Insights, and based off the model that gave us Microsoft’s Power BI suite of analytics tool, will be part of the new Excel.
Jared Spataro, general manager of Microsoft Office, said that this feature “is meant to take any list of data and then start to generate insights.”
What this means is Excel itself will analyse your data and look for the strongest trends, correlations, and outliers to identify the most interesting and useful relationships between the figures in your data set. At the click of a button, Excel can provide a visualisation of this data to help you conduct thorough analysis on the fly.
What else is new?
The new suite will feature improved inking options, with pressure sensitivity, tilt effects and ink replay. PowerPoint will also have new animation features including morph and zoom effects that will breath new life into presentations. These features will give Microsoft Office a more fluid user experience that the company expects will lead to a greater workflow.
Office 2019 will be the next perpetual release of the apps traditionally part of the suite. This means there will be a range of licensing options for businesses, and will be a good option for those who are not ready to fully migrate to the cloud.
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