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Microsoft adds Python to Excel

Microsoft released the public preview of Python in Excel today, allowing advanced spreadsheet users to combine Python scripts and Excel formulas in the same workbook.

This feature will first be released to Microsoft 365 Insiders in Excel for Windows beta. While the feature will initially only be available in Excel desktop, Microsoft says Python calculations will run in the Microsoft Cloud. Python works on any modern PC, so I don’t understand why Microsoft went cloud.

“Now you can do advanced data analysis in the familiar Excel environment by accessing Python directly from the Excel ribbon,” says Microsoft Modern Work GM Stefan Kinnestrand. No setup or installation required. Excel workflows can easily import external data into Python using Power Query and Excel’s built-in connectors.

Data science platform Anaconda helped Microsoft develop this feature. The Azure-based Anaconda Python distribution brings the most popular Python libraries to Excel, including Matplotlib and seaborn for data visualization.

Join the Microsoft 365 Insider Program and choose the beta channel to get the latest Excel builds. From there, select “insert Python” in the Formulas ribbon to begin.

There have long been Python libraries and (paid) Excel add-ons like PyXLL that bring Python’s functionality to Microsoft’s spreadsheets.

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