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The new Excel data types will make a big difference to your life
Part three of a four-part series of blogs

Soon you will be able to display information from almost any common dataset in your Excel worksheets automatically. For now your access will probably be limited to stocks and geographical data, but many more data types (including your own custom ones) should be available soon.

  1. New Excel data types will make a big difference to your life
  2. Creating and using data types
  3. The built-in data types available (and those coming soon) (this blog)
  4. Power BI datasets as Excel data types

Posted by Andy Brown on 22 December 2020

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The built-in data types available (and those coming soon)

In the preview version of Excel 365 I'm using, there are two built-in data types.  We've already seen Geography - here's an example of Stocks:

Trying to find some stocks

I want to look up the stock prices for these companies.

 

You can apply this data type:

Stocks data type

This data type tries to find the stock price for each company listed.

The results for this example weren't that good.  I had to use the data selector tool to convince Microsoft who Microsoft were, and Excel didn't recognise any of the other training companies (even when I changed QA to Interquad):

Fields available

On the plus side when a stock is recognised, there's a huge amount of information available.

The frustrating thing is that there are many, many more data types available soon!

Some new data types

It seems that the new data types are only available for Office 365 Personal preview users for now.

 

Bookmark this Microsoft page for an up-to-date list of the data types available.  Here are some of the ones coming:

Data type What it contains Example
Currency Live exchange rates USD/GBP
Location Pretty much anywhere in the world! The Louvre, Mariana Trench
City World cities London
University The world's universities University of Notre Dame
Space Pretty much anything in space! Sirus A, Orion Nebula
Nature Almost anything in the natural world Mount Everest, pine tree, labrador retriever
Chemistry Anything chemical Lithium, CO2, diamond
Yoga Things to do with yoga Fierce pose, chair pose
Food Anything to do with food, giving calories among other things 2 eggs, 1 cup of white rice
Activity Physical activity, giving calories consumed among other things Swimming for 30 minutes
Movie The IMDB database brought into Excel! La La Land, Toy Story
Plant A database of plants Maple, lily
People Who's who in life and fiction Sherlock Holmes, Bill Gates
Animal Animals, breeds, etc English setter, raven
Anatomy Anything to do with anatomy Cornea, visual pattern recognition
Music The world of music Coldplay, Thriller
Medical The world of medicine Rabies, ICD-9 311
Automatic Virtually any other branch of knowledge, it would seem Mona Lisa, hockey stick, Metallica ...

The majority of these (all but the first one, in fact) are powered by Wolfram Alpha.

it seems like Microsoft's intention is to make the world's data available automatically from within Excel, without having to go to the bother of importing or linking to it. 

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