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Interesting IT Articles and Tech News: Topic 10 (Excel)

IT Tech News Excel 10

Topic 10: Excel

Make no mistake, an Excel spreadsheet is no database at all. It is never meant to handle or manage 55,000 rows of data in an organised and efficient manner. Another apparent reason as to why a spreadsheet isn’t a database is that multiple people cannot access and update the same spreadsheet at the same time, increasing the margin for error. 

That being said, Excel is still very much relevant and useful, even in 2018. Other than being heavily relied on by many accounting departments of the world, Excel serves a fantastic range of functions, from forming charts for analysis to even making creative art pieces.

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List of Interesting Excel Tech News

 

1. Someone Made A 3D Game Engine In Microsoft Excel Using Nothing But Formulas

Link: https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2018/02/someone-made-a-3d-game-engine-in-microsoft-excel-using-nothing-but-formulas/

Link (Video): https://youtu.be/iCeOEQVUWZ0

Instead of using traditional programs, it has been discovered how Microsoft Excel can be used to program games. In this article, it is shown how a maze game was constructed using Microsoft Excel.

 

2. Insurrection in Excel Nation

Link: https://www.bloomberg.com/gadfly/articles/2017-11-28/microsoft-s-excel-made-everyone-an-analyst-but-needs-to-keep-up

This article discusses how Excel can make people gather insights from the way of loading and organising data. The iconic cells are an open space to democratise financial information. Excel allowed a single user to do the work of many analysts and allowed Microsoft to enjoy enjoyed a de facto monopoly on spreadsheets and other office tools for more than two decades. It also talked about the urgency of Microsoft to improve on Excel to make up for its disadvantages such as restraints in sharing.

 

3. JavaScript Functions are coming to Microsoft Excel among other features

Link: https://www.neowin.net/news/javascript-functions-are-coming-to-microsoft-excel-among-other-features

Before the addition of Python as an official language of Excel, Microsoft announced adding JavaScript Custom Functions to the then Visual Basic for Application (VBA) back in September 2017 – meaning that it is available for use now. This will improve the ease of use for users as it can be run on Windows, macOS, iOS and Android.

 

4. Microsoft Considers Adding Python as an Official Scripting Language to Excel

Link: https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/microsoft/microsoft-considers-adding-python-as-an-official-scripting-language-to-excel/

According to a topic on Excel’s feedback hub which opened last month, Microsoft is considering adding Python as one of the official Excel scripting languages. It will become an alternative to both VBA and field functions. This means that Excel users would be able to use Python scripts to interact with Excel documents, their data, and some of Excel’s core functions.

 

5. Is the World Finally Moving on from Outdated Spreadsheets?

Link: http://techwireasia.com/2018/04/is-the-world-finally-moving-on-from-outdated-spreadsheets/

Ever since the first launch of Microsoft Excel in September 1985, it has been the most popular data-crunching powerhouse for the corporate analysts. The company has constantly been making an effort to improve the application, through the gathering of user feedback to organise competitions such as the World Excel Championship program two years ago. However, analysts gradually see inadequacies in Excel, including difficulty to visualise the data, inability to store historical data and difficulty in sharing, despite all the cloud computing solutions out there.

 

6. 10 Spiffy New Ways to Show Data with Excel

Link: https://www.computerworld.com/article/3268664/enterprise-applications/10-spiffy-new-ways-to-show-data-with-excel.html

The 10 new ways include sparklines, in-cell charts, sunburst charts, waterfall charts for clean data, thermometer chart, charts that change as you enter data and more ways for that dynamic chart. These charts are a better way and replacement of traditional ones.

 

7. Excel errors: How Microsoft’s spreadsheet may be hazardous to your health

Link: https://www.zdnet.com/article/excel-errors-microsofts-spreadsheet-may-be-hazardous-to-your-health/

Research has found that up to 90 per cent of all spreadsheets have errors that affect their results. Many have suffered from minor errors made in Excel sheets. It states that most errors do not arise from mistakes in programming the spreadsheet, but instead, the misapplication of programming logic. Once committed, the errors are difficult to be pinpointed and corrected.

 

8. How Far can Excel Go?

Link: https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/7-fun-weird-things-can-create-microsoft-excel/

The article talks about some of the games that can be created by using the visual functions of Microsoft Excel.

 

9. Ransomware Protection Launch for Excel

Link: https://www.scmagazine.com/microsoft-adds-ransomware-protection-recovery-tools-to-office-365/article/756577/

Microsoft has rolled out a series of new tools to protect its Office 365 Home and 365 Personal customers from a variety of cyber threats, including ransomware.  The first new ransomware defence has the company bringing its File Restore feature over from OneDrive for Business to the consumer-level OneDrive accounts. Files Restore allows you to restore an entire OneDrive account to a previous point in time within the last 30 days. This would enable a person to rebuild or replace any files encrypted by a ransomware attack.

 

10. What is Excel VBA?

Link: https://www.exceltrick.com/excel-vba-basics/what-is-excel-vba/

VBA which stands for Visual Basics for Application is an extensive programming language which is the language for Microsoft Applications such as Excel. Excel VBA allows users who feel that the functions provided in excel aren’t enough for them to complete their daily task. It provides an opportunity to write your own functions and commands y whenever you feel that you need to modify .in order to get your work done more efficiently.

 

11. How to Minimize the Risk of Losing Your Work in Excel

Link: http://www.cpapracticeadvisor.com/news/12404787/how-to-minimize-the-risk-of-losing-your-work-in-excel

This article provides an effective way for users to lower the risk of losing their data in Excel, which may have taken a few hours to compute, but is lost due to a power trip or computer crash!

 

12. The 10 most useful things you can do in Excel

Link: http://www.businessinsider.com/excel-tips-and-tricks-2017-11/?IR=T

The article shares 10 most popular excel tips with us. They consulted the research of 30 of the world’s leading excel experts and grouped them up and consolidated 10 most useful excel tricks for us to learn.

 

13. Excel is an Art Form: These Beautiful Images are Proof

Link: https://readwrite.com/2013/06/11/excel-is-an-art-form-these-beautiful-images-are-proof/

Tatsuo Horiuchi, then 73 years-old, used Microsoft Excel to create amazingly vibrant landscapes. His artworks are done using auto shapes, a tool in Excel that lets users connect and colour custom shapes.

 

14. This Japanese Artist Paints With Microsoft Excel Instead of a Brush

Link: https://sploid.gizmodo.com/this-japanese-artist-paints-with-microsoft-excel-instea-1820926639

A 77-year-old Japanese artist Tatsuo Horiuchi created paintings using Microsoft Excel by leveraging Excel’s ability to create graphs to illustrate data.

 

15. Microsoft to add new geography, stocks data types to Excel

Link: https://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-to-add-new-geography-stocks-data-types-to-excel/

Microsoft is building “cloud-connected data types” into Excel, which uses AI to enhance the data sources within an Excel spreadsheet. The first two features to be introduced are Geography and Stocks Datatypes. They tap on the “Microsoft Knowledge Graph,” which is also used by Microsoft’s Bing search service. Microsoft’s Knowledge Graph matches entities with the correct domains and can understand certain things about a given entity. The new geography data type supports states, countries, zip codes and cities. Stocks include ticker symbols, fund names, company names and can fetch up-to-date prices. Microsoft’s strategy is to add more smart data types to Excel over time. In the future, Microsoft is likely to add organizational entity data, such

 

16. CFOs Went From Ranking Excel Skills Most Important to Least Important in 2 Years

Link: https://www.nysscpa.org/news/publications/the-trusted-professional/article/cfos-went-from-ranking-excel-skills-most-important-to-least-important-in-2-years-030118

Given the continuous advancement of technology, CFOs of companies look towards an automatic generation of Excel Spreadsheet in the Accounting industry. As such the importance they place on having Excel skills have been replaced by the importance of being tech-savvy instead (of having the capabilities to adapt and make use of new and existing technology to access, analyse, and amplify data for insights to better manage the business).

 

17. The power in Excel mapping

Link: https://www.intheblack.com/articles/2018/02/13/power-excel-mapping

A new feature called 3D Maps is now fully integrated into Excel 2016 as part of the Office 365 suite. Data can be taken from spreadsheets and dragged onto 3D maps to create a three-dimensional representation of the data for forecasting and business intelligence purposes.

 

18. Microsoft Excel: Areas for continuous improvements

Link: https://www.bloomberg.com/gadfly/articles/2017-11-28/microsoft-s-excel-made-everyone-an-analyst-but-needs-to-keep-up

While Excel has undoubtedly made work much more efficient and easier over the past decades, there are much more than Excel still has to do to keep its relevance in the ever-changing globalised world. With competition such as Google Sheet coming into play, Excel had stayed where it was when it was first introduced and hence, there has been pressure for it to do better and here are the areas of which it can potentially improve on.

 

19. Excel and AI

Link: http://sfmagazine.com/post-entry/march-2018-excel-artificial-intelligence-comes-to-excel/

The benefits of using Excel and AI seems endless for businesses. This article summarises what those benefits are, which includes preparing your data, running analysis and even machine learning

 

20. When should you move beyond Excel? 6 Signs that you might be ready

Link: https://www.bettervu.com/blog/when-should-you-move-beyond-excel-h945j

This article explains how Excel has long been around for the past 20 years for its usefulness in the domain of organization and efficiency.  Finance professionals often show us, with pride, the multi-tab mega-spreadsheet they developed over a weekend to solve a problem, and that has become the core tool to produce their monthly reporting and analysis. However, ultimately, when the Excel sheet, given their inability for collaboration and constant updates, often lead to significant error potential, particularly in the absence of solid analytical review.

 

21. Google Sheets vs Excel Online vs Zoho Sheet: Which Cloud Spreadsheet Platform Is Best?

Link: http://www.backupreview.com/which-cloud-spreadsheet-platform-is-best/

The article talks about the various cloud spreadsheet offerings that are currently available out there, highlighting the pros and cons of each alternative.

 

22. Adobe boss warns against the perils of Excel

Link: https://www.fudzilla.com/news/45038-adobe-boss-warns-against-the-perils-of-excel

The boss of flash player is warning his staff to stop using Excel because it is out of date. The tracking and retrieval of data can take days and is wasting resources and time of the company, particularly the finance planning team. Other companies such as ABM Industries and WinTrust Financial are also on a similar drive to reduce how much their team use excel for financial planning, analysis and reporting.

 

23. Stop Using Excel; Finance Chiefs Tell Staffs

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/stop-using-excel-finance-chiefs-tell-staffs-1511346601

This article talks about the reasons finance teams in large companies (such as Adobe, WinTrust Financial Corporation and ABM Industries are reducing their reliance on Excel for financial planning, reporting and analysis. It also talks about other platforms such as cloud-based technologies from Anaplan Inc., Workiva Inc where accountants in these companies can report and analyse data on a unified platform.

 

24. Microsoft Excel blamed for gene study errors

Link: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-37176926

Researchers are trying to raise awareness of the issue that claims that the spreadsheet software automatically converts the names of certain genes into dates. Gene symbols like SEPT2 (Septin 2) were found to be altered to “September 2”.

 

25. Five Excel Nightmares (and How to Fix Them)

Link: https://www.pcworld.com/article/229504/five_excel_nightmares_and_how_to_fix_them.html

Have you ever wondered if Microsoft Excel was invented by a sadist? Trying to edit multiple files at one time becomes a game of “Find the worksheet.” You know that the feature you need is on one of the ribbons, but which one? And a large, funky workbook file can slow the program down so much; you need to take a coffee break after altering a single number. Let’s face it: If you do a significant amount of important work in Excel, you’re dealing with one nightmare after another. And if you find that using Excel is more difficult than tracking your finances with a pencil and paper, something is not adding up properly.

 

26. Microsoft Excel is about to get a lot smarter

Link: https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/26/microsoft-excel-is-about-to-get-a-lot-smarter/

Excel will soon be able to understand more about your inputs and then pull additional information from the internet as necessary. This is all done through machine learning. It can also automatically detect that a list of names is indeed a list of company names or a list of cities, for example, which then allows you to pull in population data, among other things. Not only that, a new built-in tool for Excel that will automatically try to pull the most interesting data from a spreadsheet and visualize them as “insights”.

 

27. Microsoft Excel: Why your spreadsheet is so slow

Link: https://www.itnews.com/article/3222067/software/microsoft-excel-why-your-spreadsheet-is-so-slow.html

When Excel starts to slow down, it may take longer to open and save your files, longer for Excel to calculate your formulas, and longer for the screen to refresh after entering data, or sorting and formatting the cells. This occurs due to Excel using large memory space to keep a large spreadsheet. A solution to this would be to keep spreadsheets small and tight, with fewer fields and if necessary, fewer records. Another solution would turn on manual calculation, and Excel will withhold calculating formulas until you press F9. Most importantly, the functionality of Excel depends on your computer’s RAM and a dozen other DLLs and processes.

 

28. Is the World Finally Moving on from Outdated Spreadsheets?

Link: http://techwireasia.com/2018/04/is-the-world-finally-moving-on-from-outdated-spreadsheets/

The article talks about the history of Microsoft Excel and Spreadsheets (i.e. in 1985, it was released for Macintosh, and two years later, it was released for Windows). The article compares how it used to be beneficial to companies to the present day where “visualisation” of the data is more important for employees, yet it is something that excel has limitations in (though there are charts and graphs to help). Companies may be moving to other platforms that visualise the data collected in a more engaging manner in the future.

 

29. Microsoft’s Excel might be the most dangerous software on the planet

Link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2013/02/13/microsofts-excel-might-be-the-most-dangerous-software-on-the-planet/#251feb7a633d

As much as Excel is imperative to the success of the financial markets, such as for collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) and credit default swaps (CDS), it can pose a huge danger if it is not handled properly. The case highlighted in this article is about how the bank, JP Morgan, was running tens of billions of dollars and used Excel for checking. However, instead of using it for integrated and automated self-checking, they did it by cutting and pasting from one spreadsheet to another. Unfortunately, they got one of the equations wrong and resulted in a loss of several billion dollars.

 

30. Get rich insights from your data with intelligence in Excel

Link: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Excel-Blog/Get-rich-insights-from-your-data-with-intelligence-in-Excel/ba-p/138261

Microsoft Excel introduced its new service namely the ‘Insights’, a latest artificial intelligence-based capability that automatically highlights patterns it detects in our data, helping us discover and analyze new insights including trends, outliers and other useful analyses and visualizations. It will look for interesting trends in our data and provide quick summaries with PivotTables and charts. As this feature is powered by machine learning, it will provide increasingly advanced analysis as usage grows. It had been rolled out in the preview to Office 365 commercial subscribers enrolled in Office Insiders in the United States in December 2017.

 

31. Microsoft Excel adds AI-powered data types for places and stocks

Link: https://venturebeat.com/2018/03/29/microsoft-excel-adds-ai-powered-data-types-for-places-and-stocks/

This article talks about how Microsoft will be rolling out AI-powered data types to Excel to give customers a way to access extensive information about companies and places. This includes Geography and Stocks data types which allow users to pull information from the Microsoft Knowledge Graph by simply referencing the entities by name. Users can also query other information about those entities inside Excel to build more detailed reports.

 

32. Co-author and collaborate on Microsoft Excel

Link: http://www.thewindowsclub.com/collaborate-co-author-excel-workbooks

This article is a simple guide on how we can work on Microsoft Excel spreadsheets in real time with our friends or group members using the latest version of Office installed and an Office 365 subscription. Changes made by co-authors can be seen within seconds, and there is the feature of auto-save as well. This is made possible by utilising Cloud technology.

 

33. Excel is Getting Smarter

Link: https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/29/excel-is-getting-smarter/

Excel is getting smarter, with the infusion of artificial intelligence. Excel team has been working on adding new machine-learning features into the app. Excel now is smart enough to understand some of the entries by their users, by offering additional information on geographical data (name of countries, districts etc.) and company stocks.

 

34. Microsoft’s new future

Link: https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/30/17179328/microsoft-windows-reorganization-future-2018

Microsoft’s new future: Microsoft announced a new reorganization yesterday. It’s the fourth major shuffle inside the company over the past five years and the most significant of Nadella’s tenure. Microsoft is splitting Windows across the company, into different parts. The focus will be on cloud and AI. Windows isn’t dead, but it’s not as important to Microsoft anymore, and it will play a very different role in the company’s future.

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