Microsoft is bringing popular programming language Python to Excel. A public preview of the feature is available today, allowing Excel users to manipulate and analyze data from Python.
“You can manipulate and explore data in Excel using Python plots and libraries, and then use Excel’s formulas, charts and PivotTables to further refine your insights,” explains Stefan Kinnestrand, general manager of modern work at Microsoft. “Now you can do advanced data analysis in the familiar Excel environment by accessing Python directly from the Excel ribbon.”
You won’t need to install any additional software or set up an add-on to access the functionality, as Python integration in Excel will be part of Excel’s built-in connectors and Power Query. Microsoft is also adding a new PY function that allows Python data to be exposed within the grid of an Excel spreadsheet. Through a partnership with Anaconda, an enterprise Python repository, popular Python libraries like pandas, statsmodels, and Matplotlib will be available in Excel.
Python calculations run in the Microsoft Cloud, with the results returned into an Excel worksheet. Excel users will be able to create formulas, PivotTables, and charts all based on Python data, with the ability to bring in charting libraries like Matplotlib and Seaborn for visualizations like heatmaps, violin plots, and swarm plots.
“I’m excited that this excellent, tight integration of Python and Excel is now seeing the light of day,” says Guido van Rossum, Python’s creator and now a Microsoft distinguished engineer. “I expect that both communities will find interesting new uses in this collaboration, amplifying each partner’s abilities. When I joined Microsoft three years ago, I would not have dreamed this would be possible.”
Python in Excel is rolling out today as a public preview for Microsoft 365 Insiders in the Beta Channel. It will be limited to Windows at first before being made available to other platforms “at a later date.” Microsoft says Python in Excel will be included in a Microsoft 365 subscription during the preview, but “some functionality will be restricted without a paid license” after the preview ends.