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Microsoft overhauls Excel with live custom data types

Microsoft overhauls Excel with live custom data types


Microsoft is overhauling Excel with the ability to support custom live data types. Excel users have been using Microsoft’s spreadsheet tool for decades to import, organize, and analyze data, but the basic data types have always been limited to text and numbers. While Microsoft has added dynamic arrays and some custom stocks and geography data types previously, the company is now updating Excel to let people import their own data as a custom data type.

This means you’ll be able to manipulate data in Excel in new ways and hopefully without much of the hassle that exists today. You could import the data type for Seattle, for example, and then create a formula that references that single cell to pull out information on the population of Seattle.

These data types work by cramming a set of structured data into a single cell in Excel that can then be referenced by the rest of the spreadsheet. Data can also be refreshed to keep it up to date. If you’re a student who is researching the periodic table, for example, you could create a cell for each element and easily pull out individual data from there.

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