Python Scripting in Excel Teased by Microsoft

Microsoft Unveils Support for Running Python Code within Excel

Microsoft has recently made an exciting announcement that has the potential to revolutionize the way users work with Excel. The tech giant has announced the support for running Python code within Excel, enabling users to seamlessly integrate Python and Excel analytics in the same spreadsheet. This integration is seen as a major breakthrough and is expected to transform the workflow for millions of Excel users worldwide.

To bring this innovation to life, Microsoft has partnered with Anaconda, a leader in providing data science-oriented Python distribution. Anaconda’s Python will be hosted on Microsoft Azure, ensuring easy access for users and eliminating the complexities of Python configuration on local machines. This means users will have the power to create more sophisticated visualizations, manipulate data, perform advanced analytics, and even develop machine learning models directly within Excel.

Addressing potential security concerns, Microsoft has taken steps to ensure the safety of user’s data. Python code will be executed on hypervisor isolated containers built on Azure Container Instances, ensuring that the code does not have access to the user’s computer, devices, account, network, or workbook properties.

While Python developers have previously been able to read and write data from Excel spreadsheets, Microsoft’s integration offers a more comprehensive solution that combines backend management and code-ready spreadsheets. By making it easier for users to work with Python code within Excel, Microsoft is betting on its offering being a more appealing option for developers.

The public preview of Python in Excel is currently only available through the beta channel to Microsoft 365 Insiders. Writing Python code in Excel is as simple as invoking the Python function “=PY” and writing the code in a spreadsheet cell. However, Microsoft has also promised further improvements in future updates. Users can expect features like autocomplete, syntax highlighting, and error behaviors to enhance their Python coding experience within Excel.

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While this is undoubtedly an exciting development, it is worth noting that there are currently data size and compute limitations in place to prevent abuse and excessive demands on Microsoft Azure resources. However, these limitations are expected to ensure a smooth and efficient user experience while using Python in Excel.

Overall, Microsoft’s support for running Python code within Excel is a significant step towards empowering users with enhanced analytics capabilities. With easy access to Python and the ability to leverage its power within Excel, users can look forward to a more seamless and efficient workflow.

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About the Author: Cory Weinberg

"Alcohol evangelist. Devoted twitter guru. Lifelong coffee expert. Music nerd."

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