Hi Insiders! I’m Mar Ginés, a Program Manager on the Excel team. I am excited to share with you the latest improvements to the Analyze Data feature, which make it easy to get better answers to your data questions using natural language queries in Excel for Windows, Mac, and the web.
Better insights from Analyze Data feature
Thanks to previous feature updates, you have been able to use natural language to ask data questions in Excel—such as “What percentage of my sales come from the Northwest region?” or “Show me revenue over time as a line chart”—for a while now. (Note that this feature was formerly known as Ideas.)
With these latest improvements, you are now able to:
- Ask questions about specific patterns or insights that might be present in your data, such as “Are there any trends?” or “Show me insights about the Northwest region.”
- Clarify your intent when there is ambiguity. For instance, if you ask for “sales by region,” Excel now gives you the default answer (“Total Sales by Region”) as well as other options (such as “Average Sales by Region”).
- Take advantage of the latest developments in natural language processing technologies, which increase answer accuracy. For example, if you ask, “What’s the account with the highest sales total for each department?” Excel can provide the answer, even if your table headers don’t match the wording exactly (such as using “AcctNum” for “account”).
- Pick from a few suggested alternative questions when Excel is unable to answer your question (when the query is too short, for example).
How it works
Ready to get better insights from the Analyze Data feature?
1. Open an Excel worksheet that contains tabular data.
2. Select a table with data, and then click Analyze Data on the Home tab. Notice that different summaries, visuals, and statistically significant patterns are displayed in the pane that opens on the right.
3. To get answers to your data questions, just type them into the input box at the top of the pane, or click one of the Suggested questions.
4. If you want to keep that answer, just click Insert to add it to your worksheet in the form of a table, formula, PivotTable, or chart.
5. If you are dissatisfied with the result, simply ask a different question.
Tips and tricks
The Analyze Data feature works best if:
- Your table is organized with a single header at the top.
- You ask specific questions.
You can also:
- Get a better view of visuals by making the pane wider (clicking and dragging the edge of the pane).
- Ask for the specific kind of visual you want. For example, if you ask for “sales by category” and you want something different than the bar chart that results, you could rephrase your request to “sales by category as table” or “sales by category as column chart.”
- A stable internet connection is required.
- Connected experiences must be enabled.
- The Analyze Data feature is available in English, German, Spanish, French, Chinese, and Japanese. The natural language query capability is currently only available in English.
This feature analyzes your data with intelligent services. You can access the Microsoft Privacy Statement for additional details on data security.
We are rolling out this feature to Excel for the web users and to Office Insiders running:
- Windows Version 1904 (Build 12730.20006) or later
- Mac Version 16.36 (Build 20040502) or later
Don’t have it yet? It’s probably us, not you.
Features are released over some time to ensure things are working smoothly. We highlight features that you may not have because they’re slowly releasing to larger numbers of Insiders. Sometimes we remove elements to further improve them based on your feedback. Though this is rare, we also reserve the option to pull a feature entirely out of the product, even if you, as an Insider, have had the opportunity to try it.
We want to hear from you! Please click Help > Feedback to submit your feedback about this feature.
Learn what other information you should include in your feedback to ensure it’s actionable and reaches the right people. We’re excited to hear from you!
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