Excel Unplugged

New Data Types in Excel – Game Changer

The New Data Types In Excel

New Data Types in Excel will undoubtedly be THE talking point of the near future Excel evolution. That being said, they are also the reality in Office 365 Fast Insiders. That’s where they were recently introduced by Microsoft. This post will first explain what the new Data Types in Excel are and then we will show some examples of the Data Types in Excel in Action. But we will finish off with what would probably be the fourth verse of Imagine by John Lennon. I will explain what the new Data Types in Excel mean for you and how I see them developing in the future. After you’ll read “the fourth verse”, you should realize why the new Data Types in Excel are a true game changer and why they DO MATTER for you!

What are the New Data Types in Excel

The New data Types are technically Linked Data Types. This means they pull data from an Online Source. Right now, there are two New Data Types in Excel, Stocks and Geography.

But for Understanding, you can think of the New Data Types in Excel as Entities. Every Cell contains a “hidden lookup row” that turns the text within a Cell into a “record” with properties.

A cell containing the name of an Entity (like the name of the City)

New Data Types In Excel - Excel Unplugged

Ends up containing this…

New Data Types In Excel - Excel Unplugged

But now, you can call any property you want in two ways…

New Data Types In Excel - Excel Unplugged

  1. like a formula
  2. or just adding Columns to a Table either Manually or by clicking on the Icon in the top right corner of the Table (see the above image)

If you think about it, it’s as if a cell contains much more information than just it’s content. From today’s Excel standpoint, you can really think about it as if there is a lookup Table. Since these are Linked Data Types the data is actually online but you are still just calling the data you need. And since the Cities are in an Excel Table, you can just throw a new City in there… Let’s add Sofia (Bulgaria)

New Data Types In Excel - Excel Unplugged

And there it is. This is the future, people. Right now, you can find (if you are running the latest version of Excel) the New Data Types on the Data tab under Data Types.

The New Data Types in Excel - Excel Unplugged

There are only two new Data Types available at the moment but Microsoft plans to add new Data Types. You can read more about that here and here. Also at the time of this writing the only language that is supported is English.

Short Demo of the New Data Types

Before discussing the future of The New Data Types in Excel as I see it, here is a short gif of the whole process as it works today

The New Data Types In Excel gif 08

Future of the New Data Types in Excel

The following is not an official Microsoft standpoint, it’s just my personal view of the possibilities of the new Data Types in Excel.

The way I see the New Data Types progress (in addition to of course being many more of them) is that each company will be able to utilize them in their own way. Imagine being an HR Specialist in a Company. At this point all the data about your employees is stored in a Database, Excel or even in a SharePoint List. Now imagine entering the name of one of your employees in a Cell in Excel. Then you just go Data/Data Types/Human Resources. It recognizes the name and gives you the ability to use all the data about that employee that the company has without writing a single lookup.

The New Data Types In Excel - Excel Unplugged

The same could be true for the Company Products, Customers… The Sky is the limit! Thinking about it this way, you can surely see the incredible value this brings to Excel users.

 

 

 

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