What’s New in Microsoft Excel 2016?

By Kacey Kroh, Abshier House, Abshier House

Microsoft has added features and new assistants/wizards to help you make the most of the new Excel 2016. Microsoft Excel has been one of the most complicated applications to use in the Office suite. Microsoft recognized this problem and has taken steps to make Excel more usable to an Office suite beginner.

Excel 2016 offers Smart Lookup.

Excel 2016 offers Smart Lookup.

New features in Excel 2016

While Microsoft Excel 2016 looks almost identical to the 2013 version, Microsoft has made many changes under the hood. Microsoft Excel 2016 now includes features that make analyzing large amounts of data stress-free.

Some of these new features are as follows:

  • Recommended Charts — Presents you with a few suggested charts from Excel that the program believes will best represent your data.

    To access Recommended Charts, simply navigate to the Insert tab in the green ribbon area of the application.

  • Pivot Table Slicers — Can locate data patterns in your workbooks. Filters can be set to help you better understand what your data means.

    To access Pivot Table Slicers, navigate to the Insert tab and select the Slicer button. Keep in mind this only works if you have data to analyze. The button will be grayed out unless a document with data is open.

  • Easily convert files to PDF — Excel can save your work in PDF format without errors. You can save a copy in PDF format in three ways:

    1. You can use the old method of exporting your document by accessing the application’s menu bar and selecting File → Save As. . . and then select PDF as your file format.

    2. Click or tap on the print icon and instead of sending the document to the printer, you can select from a number of PDF options such as Save PDF; Send PDF via instant message, Mail PDF, as well as many more.

    3. The quickest and newest way to create a PDF of your work is to use the share button in the top right corner of the application. Simply click or tap the button and select Send Attachment → PDF.

  • Ability to share and collaborate — Allows you to share and work on Excel documents with others.

    To share work with others and co-author content simply click on the Share button in the top right corner of the application and choose the option that best suits your needs.

To use many of the new features of Excel you must be logged into and saving your work in the cloud (Microsoft OneDrive.) To log in to your OneDrive account, click or tap on the contact icon in the top left corner of the green ribbon area that appears on the template pane when first opening the application.

New ways to get help in Excel 2016

On top of including some great new features, Excel also added easier ways to get help.

Tell Me The new replacement of “Clippy” the paperclip assistant. Tell Me performs much like a digital assistant such as Cortana or Siri. You can ask a question related to the Office suite, and it locates and performs the function you are asking.

To access the Tell Me function, simply type in your question in the search bar located in the top-right corner of the application. For example, you can type “Add Pivot Table,” and Excel will do the dirty work for you.

Formula Builder A new way to create formulas more easily. It offers point-and-click functionality to create even some of the most complex formulas.

To access the Formula Builder function, simply press Shift and F3 at the same time on your keyboard and follow the onscreen instructions to successfully create your own formulas.

Smart Lookup Also known as “Insights from Bing” allows you to locate and connect related data from the online sources to your Excel document. This includes images, formulas, research, and 3D maps.

To use Smart Lookup simply right-click or hold-click/hold-touch the content you want to gather data on and select Smart Lookup from the dropdown menu.

Because the new Excel 2016 is an open beta, features can be changed, updated, removed, and even replaced by newer, better features at any time. If your device performs a software update to the Office Suite, make sure to read what new changes are being implemented before using the software.