Excel tricks: get answers without writing a formula

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Excel tricks: get answers without writing a formula

Microsoft is pitching the new feature at novices or power users who want to save time.

Microsoft has just announced a new Excel feature that enables you to type ‘natural language’ questions, instead of writing a formula.

For example, you might type “What were the sales for clothing products?” and Excel will provide the answer in a chart.

Or you could type “Total sales of locks and helmets?” to see the answer.

Excel can respond with formulas, charts or pivot tables. There’s more details about this here

Here’s Microsoft’s explanation of who might use this feature: “It’s for the novice users who may not know how to write the right formulas to gain useful insights from their data, the power users who can save time by simply asking the right questions and quickly adding charts and tables, and everyone in between.” 

The feature is initially only available if you’ve joined the Office Insider program, and for now it runs on Windows, Mac and Excel for the Web.

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