As one of the key applications in Microsoft Office, Excel is already packed with incredible functionality. The newest version, Excel 2016, adds new capabilities from databases to handwriting tools. Let’s take a closer look at these Excel 2016 new features.
1. New Chart Types in Excel
The ability to visualize data with an Excel chart has always been a valuable and powerful capability. Excel has six new charts to show off your work. New chart types include Waterfall, Treemap, Pareto, Histogram, Box and Whisker, and Sunburst.
Pareto sorts the bars by highest first and shows which bars have the biggest impact or highest return. Use this chart data to decide where to assign your resources.
Waterfall (a.k.a. ‘flying brick’ chart) provides a visual method for viewing a series of positive and negative data, such as monthly cash flows or stock prices. Because the bars seem to hover between the start and end columns, it looks sort of like a waterfall, hence the name. The Waterfall chart is one of the more interesting and visual Excel 2016 new features.
2. Major Database Enhancements
Excel 2016 now comes with built-in functionality that makes it easier to transform and query your data. These new database enhancements, which include merging some of the previous add-on programs such as Power Pivot and Power Query, more than justify the upgrade. Find them from the Get & Transform group on the Data tab.
3. Quick Analysis Tools
Quick analysis tools are a real timesaver, helping to move you in the right direction with your data. After you’ve completed your spreadsheet or table, select the entire range. Look for the lightning worksheet icon at the bottom right corner of the range: Click this icon, and a popup menu appears that displays a half-dozen options for what to do with this data.
In Excel 2016, business analytics are now easier and faster, with streamlined data analysis, new forecasting capabilities and a new built-in functionality to get and transform data. Excel 2016 is also deliberately compatible with Power BI, a new tool for visualizing data and creating interactive reports.
4. Simpler Collaboration and Sharing
Collaboration is more and more integrated into Office 2016. Choose Share on the ribbon to share your workbook with others on SharePoint, OneDrive, or another online location.
For files stored on OneDrive for Business or SharePoint, you can go to File > History to see a complete list of changes that have been made to your workbook and even access earlier versions.
5. 3D / Power Maps
Excel’s popular 3D geospatial visualization tool, Power Map, has been renamed and is now built into Excel 2016. With these tools you can create a visual story of your data, for instance, you can compare data such as temperatures, or rainfall, or populations of a given region over a specified time, rendered in three-dimensional images. These tools are found by clicking 3D Map on the Insert tab.
6. PivotTable Enhancements
Excel PivotTables are a flexible and powerful way to analyze data and are even better with these Excel 2016 new features:
- Automatic relationship detection which discovers and creates relationships among the tables used for your workbook’s data models.
- Automatic time grouping helps you use your time-related fields, such as year, quarter, month, by auto-detecting and grouping them on your behalf. Although time grouping is available in earlier versions, it is now automatic and much easier in Excel 2016.
- Search options in the PivotTable field list helps you get to the fields that are most important to you across your entire data set.
7. Graphical Improvements
Formatted quick shapes, like colorful squares with rounded edges, have been available in Word and PowerPoint for a number of versions. Finally, Excel 2016 has new shape options with preset styles to help make it fast and easy to add nicely formatted shapes to your workbooks.
New Excel 2016 templates come with sample data and charts, plus hands-on exercises that teach you how to use each template.
8. Ink Equations
Do you want to add a math equation to a worksheet? With the new Ink Equation feature, you can convert your handwritten equations (or mathematical problems) to text, so you can insert them into your documents. You can use whatever tool works best for you-the mouse, a digital or light pen, or even your fingers-to write out the math equations.
9. Tell Me
Look at the right side of the Excel 2016 Ribbon menu after the last tab, to see a text box with a light bulb that says “Tell me what you want to do.” Just enter the words and phrases related to the steps you want to do next and quickly get the features or actions you want to use. You can also choose from Recently Used searches and use this option to dig into other help choices.
10. Smart Lookup
The Smart Lookup feature, which is available in most of the Office 2016 programs, gives you access to quick searches from inside of Excel 2016. Also called “Insights” from Bing, the information draws from various resources such as Wikipedia, the Oxford dictionary, Bing image search, and Bing Snapshot.
Just place your cursor on any word or highlight any phrase on your spreadsheet and right-click. Next, choose Smart Lookup from the dropdown list. The “Insights” panel opens and displays information and images about the highlighted subject.