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Microsoft integrates new cloud-connected AI capabilities in Excel

MICROSOFT has announced new cloud-connected AI capabilities in its Excel office software.

Revealing the news in an official blog post, the Redmond-based firm said the update means it can now recognise rich data types beyond numbers and text strings. Based on machine learning, these new data types will simplify the process of working with real-world data, across Stocks, Geography and Excel Online.

“For example, Excel recognises that ‘France’ is a country and automatically associates it with additional attributes such as population and gross domestic product, using the same technology that powers Bing answers,” the firm explained. “These attributes can then be populated into different cells or used directly in formulas and stay updated with the latest data.”

In the future, the company said it will also add organisational data types backed by the Microsoft Graph to Excel, which will intelligently enhance spreadsheets with even richer content.

Excel recognises that ‘France’ is a country and automatically associates it with additional attributes such as population and gross domestic product

“We also introduced several highly requested desktop features to Excel Online, making it easier to create and edit spreadsheets in your browser,” the firm burbled.

The burbling continued: “Now, you can insert Pivot Tables and delete rows and columns to analyse and format data. You can also insert images from local storage, duplicate existing worksheets, and change the colour of tabs, enhancing your control over the look and feel of your work.”

Other new features rolled out in this update include the use of Microsoft Cloud to enhance organisation-wide search, more efficient content delivery, and enabling modern communities.

And while it was announced at Microsoft Ignite last year, Redmond said it has also just rolled-out new search capabilities in SharePoint Online to all Office 365 subscribers, enabling the discovery of people, information, and expertise from across an organisation.

“Using signals from the Microsoft Graph, Office 365 provides tailored search results across content and people based on your work patterns,” Microsoft said. “The redesigned results are easier to explore and allow you to preview files with support for over 270 different file types without ever leaving the search page.”

This means that wherever you start your search in SharePoint or Office.com, you’ll now see consistent, personalised results powered by the Microsoft Graph. µ

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