Hello Reddit!

We are the Microsoft Excel team. We are engineers that design, implement, and test the versions of Excel that you use every day including Windows, MacOS, iOS (both iPhone and now iPad), the Web (Excel Online) and mobile platforms like Windows Phone.

We're full of coffee and pizza and we’re excited to answer your questions so feel free to ask us anything!

We'll focus on the questions about stuff we know the most about - Excel for the platforms we support, and questions about us or the Excel team. Oh, and Clippy.

We'll start answering questions at 13:00 PDT (16:00 EDT) and be here to answer your questions till 14:30 PDT (17:30 EDT).

To answer your questions we have:

  • Aaron Wilson - a Program Manager for Mac Excel, and Excel on iOS
  • Ben Rampson - a Program Manager for Excel (specialist in BI and Charting)
  • Joe LeBlanc - a Tester (QA) for Mac Excel, and Excel on iOS
  • Matty Androski - a Developer for Excel
  • Sam Radakovitz - a Program Manager for Excel Online, and Desktop Excel.

And of course me - Dan Battagin - a Program Manager for Excel Online, and Desktop Excel.

The post can be verified here: https://twitter.com/msexcel/status/451827610855559168

-dan (for the Excel Team)

[Edit @ 14:18 PDT] We're going to be here for another 15 minutes or so - we're having a great time. Keep the questions coming!

[Edit @ 14:32 PDT] OK reddit - it's Friday afternoon, and we've got a few work things to wrap up before we head out for the weekend. We may answer a few more questions over the next few days. We may also do another AMA in the future - we had a great time with this one!

[Edit @ 14:43 PDT] We're still here answering. Man this is fun.

[Edit @ 15:00 PDT] The room is clearing out. We may try to get to some of the unanswered questions in the next few days - thanks for everything!

-danb (for the entire Excel team)

Comments: 828 • Responses: 92  • Date: 

infinityinternets306 karma

Why can't I use shortcuts to do subscripts and superscripts in the spreadsheet? You make my chemistry degree infinitely harder :(

MicrosoftExcelTeam189 karma

Good suggestion, I like that.

KeepDiscoEvil111 karma

Just wanted to share that VLOOKUP is the best thing ever. Very serious.

Also, whose responsible for Pivot Tables? How did that come about? And also, thank you for that, too.

MicrosoftExcelTeam48 karma

I currently own the PivotTable area in Excel, but have limited knowledge of the history of the space beyond the last few versions of Excel. Wikipedia lists Pito Salas as the "father of pivot tables". -Ben

ryanehamil96 karma

Multiple Monitor support would be nice. To open two sheets on different screens would be very great.

MicrosoftExcelTeam96 karma

Now possible with Excel 2013 by default! Or by opening two instances of an older version (launch Excel twice) ...

-samrad

MicrosoftExcelTeam57 karma

Also in 2013 and for the same workbook, you can go to the View tab in the Ribbon and select "New Window". That will launch a separate Excel instance of the same workbook which you can drag to your other monitor. - Eric

pcuaron74 karma

Given the incredible amount of people coding every day in VBA (look at the forums: StackOverflow, MrExcel, OzGrid, the google groups...),

When will you update the 20 years old VBA Editor to something more modern?

Do you plan to improve the scripting tools, adding things like modern .net operators, string and table methods, etc?

Apps for Office, VSTO and ExcelDNA all address different needs than those of the vast VBA community, which is mostly comprised of analysts scripting trying to solve special cases, or SMBs in which the switch to another technology wouldn’t make sense cost-wise (and who you won’t hear given the lack ways of providing feedback for Excel). We can't use "Apps for Office" for the kind of problems we solve here! Proprietary coding for multiple users in a large enterprise = bad, proprietary coding for analysis = GREAT!

edit: fixed grammar (3 words)

MicrosoftExcelTeam31 karma

Thanks for the VBA love - we love VBA too!

I talked a bit about VBA and the future of Excel extensibilty in my response here. At least for now, I think you can assume that VBA is alive and well, but not the current focus of investment.

That said, we do have an entire team in Office that thinks only about extensibility and ways to improve extensibility across the suite, so it's a VERY important investment area for us.

Cheers,

-dan

pcuaron18 karma

The concerns about VBA being insecure, not portable, etc are all valid, but your response seems to be to leave behind the whole VBA affair instead of coming up with something that both solves the problems that VBA solves and doesn't have its shortcomings.

How do I create a UDF with Apps for Office? How do I manipulate charts with it? How do I automate Word or PowerPoint with it?

MicrosoftExcelTeam13 karma

I hear ya.

Apps for Office aren't there yet. But the idea behind them is that we're basing them on a tech (javascript and HTML) that have legs cross-platform (and in the modern day world). Moving forward, you should expect to see those techs move from just the "Apps for Office" as you know them today (floating containers in the sheet, or taskpanes in the app) to encompass a broader surface area.

We're already talking about (and have prototypes for a lot of) how we expose UDFs, how we do automation and macro recording, and how we unify across all of the apps.

It'll take us some time, but we get it.

Cheers,

-dan

OllyXLSM58 karma

Why is there no "count distinct" function in Excel, or at least a "dimension count" in pivot tables?

MicrosoftExcelTeam49 karma

+1 :-)

I or someone on my team (I write design specifications for the next versions of the product) have been trying to get that added since the 2007 release. It just turns out we have sooooo many good ideas that we have to prioritize.

Cheers,

-dan

thursdaynext153 karma

[deleted]

MicrosoftExcelTeam56 karma

for: why can't I open spreadsheets in separate windows?

We got a lot of feedback on this, so it is now the default in Excel 2013 when opening workbooks. If you have a older version you still have to use the work around, sorry!

-samrad

PaperClipCharlie6 karma

Speaking of default in office 2013, why so many buttons to press to open a file now?

MicrosoftExcelTeam38 karma

Watch me blow your mind (and save you time I hope).

  • Ctrl+F12 --> Brings up the Open dialog
  • F12 --> Brings up Save As

Those are two of my most used keyboard shortcuts.

-danb

MicrosoftExcelTeam10 karma

Regarding your sheet protection question, is this the kind of thing you were talking about? -Eric

Sticky_Z41 karma

Do you guys ever see a use for Excel that you didnt even think was possible. Crazy forumals, etc

MicrosoftExcelTeam133 karma

I’ve seen lots of crazy uses of Excel that I never expected. Some of my favorites:

  • A customer issue escalation from NASA complaining the space shuttle launch would be delayed by a few months if we didn’t address the problem they found.
  • A customer escalation from military with a business justification that was basically “innocent people will die” because of shapes being shifted over a few pixels in a spreadsheet.
  • A manufacturing company that used Excel to run robots responsible for testing the electronics they were building on a manufacturing line. The amount of code they had written around their spreadsheet shocked me.
    -Ben

MicrosoftExcelTeam32 karma

Mukkul40 karma

If the Excel team, the Access team, the Powerpoint team, the Publisher team and the OneNote team were all in royal rumble for the belt. Who would win?

Before picking yourself, Bill Gates eyes be upon you.

MicrosoftExcelTeam59 karma

I worked on the OneNote team as well, so I know those guys could throw down. We'd take them in the end because we've been doing this longer. Wisdom and trickery wins over youth and enthusiasm.

-joe

cobaltcollapse40 karma

How often is the word "Excellent" used by the Excel team?

MicrosoftExcelTeam59 karma

I only really hear this if someone is doing a Mr. Burns impression. - Matty

MicrosoftExcelTeam28 karma

That is an Excellent question (badumdum). We do use it a bit with jest, but awesome, super-awesome, and awesomerest are definitely the words of the year here.

-dan

bumstab22 karma

[deleted]

MicrosoftExcelTeam81 karma

Thanks, we love our users as well. And we love reddit!

-dan

OllyXLSM20 karma

Do you ever feel frustrated that although Excel has such high market penetration, the majority of users have no idea just how good and powerful Excel actually is? And do you wish that there was more emphasis placed on advertising existing capability, and on training users?

MicrosoftExcelTeam18 karma

Lack of awareness of our features is a constant battle. I frequently sit with customers and watched them spend an hour or more doing a task that could be completed in just a click or two. It drives me crazy, but also motivates me to keep improving the product and making things simpler. (It's especially common to see this with users who don't use PivotTables but should spend time aggregating data on their own.) Another challenge is getting people to upgrade to the latest version of Excel. So many things get improved in each version and people don't take advantage of them as fast as I would like. I am excited to see the increase in advertising of our Power BI offerings, showing some of the higher-end usages of Excel. -Ben

MicrosoftExcelTeam11 karma

Frustration probably isn't quite the right way to say it, but I would love to find ways to make it easier for less-savvy users to dive into the more advanced functionality. The chart suggestions and analysis lens features of 2013 are both examples of where we're trying to make it easier for users to use more advanced features with just a few clicks. - Matty

Neilson50918 karma

Any hidden features that could make me an excel wizard?

  • I want to impress my boss and get me a raise.
  • And not spend a million hours doing things the wrong way.
  • Thank you for doing this IAMA!

MicrosoftExcelTeam46 karma

Try some fancy keyboard shortcuts. Other than the basics like Ctrl+C (Copy), Ctrl+X (Cut) and Ctrl+V (Pastes) -- a couple of my favorites include:

Alt+Enter: When editing a cell, this create a line break in your cell.

Alt+Equals: When at the bottom of a long range of numbers, pressing this sums the numbers in the range above the selected cell.

-Aaron

gerryhanes15 karma

What single piece of functionality are you most proud of?

MicrosoftExcelTeam30 karma

The calc engine is the most impressive part of Excel to me, and I think the improvements in conditional formatting we made in 2007 are awesome.

-joe

MicrosoftExcelTeam26 karma

Multi-threaded recalc - Matty

richardr413 karma

I have a file open right now that has 46,916 styles. I do a lot of copy paste between files. What causes the explosion in styles? Is there an easy way to remove the unneeded styles?

MicrosoftExcelTeam12 karma

Yeah, we've had a bug around this for a while and we've fixed most of the problem by Excel 2013 (what version are you using?).

There are tools on the Web (and @byundt72's answer seems pretty good, though I've never used that tool) that will remove styles for ya.

Lastly, you can run this bit of VBA to remove the unused styles: http://www.mrexcel.com/forum/excel-questions/508248-excel-2007-remove-all-custom-styles.html

Cheers, -danb

kal_at_kalx_net12 karma

Hi Team. Thanks for doing this AMA. I wrote the open source library https://xll.codeplex.com to make the Excel SDK easily accessible to non-experts. Any plans for phasing out xlls?

MicrosoftExcelTeam12 karma

Nope.

-danb

just4prefs11 karma

When creating a pivot table, the default value type in count - invariably, I want sum. I've never found a way of making that the default and it's too many clicks away to change. I feel like I must be missing something... am I?

MicrosoftExcelTeam11 karma

I feel your pain. I find that it never defaults to what I want. Hurdles like this are what hold back people from using PivotTables and they frustrate our heavy users as well. While we don’t have a way to change the default now, we know this is painful and are thinking about ways we can simplify/improve this experience. -Ben

njohnlopez10 karma

What are the requirements to become an Excel Wizard?

MicrosoftExcelTeam22 karma

Welcome wizard. Our only requirement is that you participate in an Excel AMA. You are officially anointed an Excel Wizard for life.

  • Aaron

infinityinternets3 karma

Can I be officially anointed too?

MicrosoftExcelTeam8 karma

Done! For your first quest as an Excel Wizard: estimate the Airspeed Velocity of an Unladen Swallow!

-samrad

qwop99359 karma

What's your favourite Excel function, ideally one that's lesser-known?

MicrosoftExcelTeam14 karma

I do a lot of text wrangling, so a combination of RIGHT, LEFT, FIND can do awesome things to manipulate strings. Those might not be well-known.

-joe

noodnoodles9 karma

I've heard rumors about hidden easter eggs/games in older versions of Microsoft excel. Will you be sneaking in any other hidden features?

MicrosoftExcelTeam17 karma

Easter eggs are highly discouraged these day. Some customers complained about them for a variety of reasons. I miss them too (Dev Hunter was my favorite). - Matty

Aginyan7 karma

Most of my work life revolves around Excel, largely for it's power to "make a not-that-bad default graph super fast" and the "hands on" feel I get from manipulating a few hundred thousand rows of data dumps to explore around. More advanced tools exist, but don't have the same feel of picking up a cube of data and manipulating it to see what's going on. So thank you guys for making my life possible.

Every time someone asks me why I still use a PC at work (instead of a Mac), I say "because I use Excel" and get many understanding nods in the data analyst/scientist community. I certainly had to re-learn a ton of muscle memory just so I can do the simplest things on a Mac for meetings (e.g. command+t instead of f4 =( ). What guided things to be become that way?

Also, I've found occasional weird bugs in office 2010, moving avg formulas that paste brokenly when going 'in reverse', date fields in charts that insist on being January even when the data clearly has another date, where should I report these?

MicrosoftExcelTeam12 karma

You can try this link to post bugs: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/227tme/we_are_the_microsoft_excel_team_ask_us_anything/ There's also send-a-smile.

If I understand your question correctly, The Mac vs Win differences arose out of the old Mac limits. I don't use Macs much myself, but certainly back in the day, Mac's had one button, but we wanted context menu support so the command key became a way to do that. Lots of cross-platform choices to get windows like experience on the mac, etc. Some mac folks liked it, others didn't. -Matty

MicrosoftExcelTeam15 karma

Hey @Matty - you posted a link to our own AMA you goofball.

@Aginyan - the link Matty meant to post is this one - it's an Excel Survey that we have where people can post issues, and we evaluate them for fixing: https://onedrive.live.com/redir?page=survey&resid=592B05F76554281F!43976&authkey=!AGOM5XzwzmBgB8s&ithint=file%2c.xlsx

You can always also use http://answers.microsoft.com (go to the Excel section) and there are people answering questions and filing bugs from there all the time!

Cheers,

-dan

Raicito6 karma

What was the hardest part about getting to where you are now?

MicrosoftExcelTeam27 karma

I'd have to say walking uphill both ways, through the snow to get to school every day as a kid.

From an Excel perspective though, I'd say balancing the needs of expert users with those of users who need the product for more everyday needs. Threading that needle right is a delicate process.

  • Aaron

karizma235 karma

Thanks for your hard work on Office for iPad, and specifically Excel!

Can you tell us about some of the design challenges you faced in building Excel for the iPad?

Shout out to jleblanc too! :)

MicrosoftExcelTeam6 karma

Hey there! Most of the design challenges had to do with the expectations of touch interface users, the specifics of iOS design, and balancing existing users' expectations with the platform standards. There's a good interview on Mashable with one of our design leads talking about this here: http://mashable.com/2014/03/27/microsoft-office-ipad-story/

-joe

Oatmeal_Enthusiast5 karma

Do you know the developers of Microsoft Visio? Because there are improvements I would like to see.

MicrosoftExcelTeam7 karma

We do know a few of them - they are great folks, and we've worked with them in the past around some of the data connectivity functionality that's available there. But we want to try and keep things to Excel for today - thanks for understanding!

-dan

PaperClipCharlie5 karma

Thank you for your hard work on Microsoft Excel, which is one of the primary tools of my job as an accountant. I actually have about 8 different Excel 2010 windows open simultaneously.

I had a few questions:

1) One of the features in the control dialogue boxes for opening files in 2003 was that if you copied an Excel file and pasted it elsewhere, and changed its name within the dialogue box, the file that it would attempt to open would be the new filename you've assigned. Subsequent versions have excluded this and attempt to open a file that no longer exists. Would you consider coding that back in to future versions?

2) What do you see as the future of VBA and Macros? It seems like less work has been done on developing those as tools, to the point where I feel they are mostly included for compatibility. Is there something to replace it with long-term, now that tools such as Roslyn have been made open-source?

3) Same question re MS Query, as it has not been modified substantially in 10+ years. Do you use/recommend other tools for doing queries from an MS SQL database? I am attempting to avoid having too many 'add-on' programs in order to simplify deployment of worksheets to various managers here.

MicrosoftExcelTeam6 karma

Heya PaperClipCharlie,

For #2 - that's something that we wrestle with on our side because as the Excel team we completely understand (probably more than just about any other team in Office) how important VBA and extensibility in general are for solutions.

When it comes to VBA, I think you can rest easy that it will exist in Excel (Windows an Mac - where it exists today) for the foreseeable future.

As we look into the future, one of the things we want in an extensibility story/platform is something that can run across all of the endpoints/devices that Excel runs on (and that's more and more devices these days). As we branch out to iOS, Excel Online, and more VBA just isn't a great solution due to it's age, security issues with it, the fact that it's not server-safe or ported to other platforms, etc. So, we have started looking at other technologies like javascript and HTML. "Apps for Office" are our current offering in this cross-platform/endpoint space, and I think you'll see us making improvements/investments in that toolset for a while, until we can bring it up to the level of (and surpass) what we've got with VBA today.

Cheers,

-danb

MicrosoftExcelTeam3 karma

For #3, I recommend you check out Power Query, which provides new search, shaping, and merging capabilities right in Excel. -Ben

myfriendjack5114 karma

Hello! I honestly can't think of a time when I didn't use excel because I use it all the time - personally and at work. I wonder... what do you guys use it for personally?

MicrosoftExcelTeam4 karma

I'm using it right now to plan a summer trip to Yellowstone. What are some things you like to use it for?

  • Aaron

MicrosoftExcelTeam2 karma

My primary personal usage of Excel is just to capture lists of info. It really is my default place to go when I need to get organized. -Ben

fearnotthewrath4 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA, as a mod of /r/Excel I am excited you guys are doing this and we appreciate what you guys have done and continue to do for the businesses and users around the world.

Recently there was a product released called Slate, which is designed for users to help visualize and anazly formulas and data in a more comprehensive manner.

My questions is have you seen this product?

If you have, what are you thoughts on it?

If not, have you guys thought about designing a function that would better visualize how spreadsheets are laid out?

For example, when you start throwing around nested IF's and arrays in a formula, the color coding can be a bit cumbersome when you are trying to visualize what the formulas are doing or if you are trying to show/explain them to someone...

I know we are not as big as Mr. Excel, but we have a good thing going over in /r/Excel and hope to see you guys there!

MicrosoftExcelTeam3 karma

Hey fearnotthewrath! We really appreciate you helping run the excel subreddit! A few of us on the team lurk and answer questions there when we have free time, and I often end up linking threads to fellow team members as great examples or possible bugs to investigate. You folks have absolutely helped us make the product better :)

(side note: We talked about making a post in /r/excel earlier about this, but other stuff came up and we forgot until the last minute. Sorry!)

  • Eric

MicrosoftExcelTeam2 karma

Thanx for your feedback. Have you tried our Spreadsheet Inquire in Excel 2013 - http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/excel-help/what-you-can-do-with-spreadsheet-inquire-HA102835926.aspx

-Prash

MicrosoftExcelTeam2 karma

Hey,

First - thanks for the work you do over in /r/Excel - that's awesome.

I have seen Slate (at a high level, a while back) - it's an interesting product (and space). As far as working through how visualizing how spreadsheets are laid out, and how formulas themselves are constructed, we're always looking for new ways to easily understand what's going on in the spreadsheet.

We've got a few foray's into the space with an acquisition of a company called Prodiance that we did a couple years ago that try to build a map of relationships between spreadsheets, and we've got some internal prototyping and investigations into better formatting of formulas (pretty-printing them, etc.) that we'd love to get into a future version of the product.

Cheers,

-danb

JeepTheBeep4 karma

Hi, Excel team! What is your favorite James Bond film?

MicrosoftExcelTeam9 karma

I'd have to say Casino Royale. Daniel Craig is a great Bond!

  • Aaron

MicrosoftExcelTeam6 karma

Anything with the DB5 in it, especially Goldfinger and Skyfall.

-joe

Sticky_Z3 karma

What is the oddest use for Excel that you have come across?

MicrosoftExcelTeam6 karma

We had a test file from a restaurant in Japan that laid out their menu in Excel. They created a square grid which helped them design it and fit with different text orientations that you'd see in Japanese, and then entered items and prices in separate cells. They could change prices based on calculations.

We've also seen people do tradeshow floor layouts in Excel, because it has all the benefits of being a big canvas like Visio, but they could also add calculated values as needed.

Then there's this guy: http://www.spoon-tamago.com/2013/05/28/tatsuo-horiuchi-excel-spreadsheet-artist/ He's on a whole other level.

-joe

bobthebobd3 karma

Did any of you ask Bill Gates questions when he was doing AMA?

MicrosoftExcelTeam3 karma

No. We hope you enjoyed it though!

  • Aaron

PixelPurple3 karma

What is your favorite part about your job(s)?

MicrosoftExcelTeam5 karma

Knowing that the work I do has such a big impact on a large set of users. If I do something well that really helps people, that a win for a lot of folks. I also know that if I screw up, we'll hear about. Even if it's in an obscure part of the product, somebody, somewhere is using that every day to help them solve a problem. -Matty

MicrosoftExcelTeam5 karma

Getting to work on software that is used by hundreds of millions of people. I can walk up to almost anyone and they are impacted by features I help build and improve. -Ben

promiscuouspineapple3 karma

Are you guys individually actually familair with ALL of the pre-defined functions?

There are SOOO MANY

MicrosoftExcelTeam4 karma

I've worked on calc off and on for better than a decade and I don't. My favorite is PMT. - Matty

MicrosoftExcelTeam2 karma

I can probably describe what each of them do if you tell me the function, but couldn't list them all on demand. My favorites are probably RAND because I use it so much creating random data for testing, and VLOOKUP/HLOOKUP for general data wrangling.

kvazar3 karma

Finally, on time for AMA!

Hey guys, my job involves a lot of MS products, mostly Excel.

Are there any non-microsoft forums you would recommend for trouble-shooting?

Do you have a list of features you implement? How this process works? Who submits/approves? How can users participate?

Will there ever be ability to add macroses with ctrl+z, meaning there will be a reverse VB script or something. Because it will basically mean that you don't need to implement every function ever, as people will be able to assemble excel in accordance with their needs, cool right?

Why so many plug-ins so easily crash excel? Seriously, it's strange how easily one plugin, or even macros will crash the whole Excel (can't we implement ability to stop the exact file that causes trouble?)

What do you consider your greatest achievement (related to Excel), and what are you working on now?

And thanks for your work! I really appreciate Excel, it's a great tool if you know how to use it, and it's simple enough to actually know how to use it.

MicrosoftExcelTeam6 karma

Hey!

thanks for posting! to answer a couple questions:

For non-microsoft forums, i tend to use a few:

mrexcel http://www.mrexcel.com/forum/forum.php

vbaexpress http://www.vbaexpress.com/

experts-exchange http://www.experts-exchange.com/

I know our Excel MVPs poke around these and answer questions (or own the site as well).

ctrl+z-ing a macro action: we do explicitly clear the undo stack after code, its something we've looked into but with all the things a macro can do it makes it a bit complicated.

-samrad

imfilo3 karma

Love, Love, Love CUBEVALUE Functions and the OLAP Convert to Formulas functionality! It has given me winning solutions to many BI problems within our business. Thanks for the tools! Is there any training fro these tools? Everything I've learned has come from resources outside Microsoft...

MicrosoftExcelTeam5 karma

I'm happy to hear you like CUBEVALUE Functions. We get pretty excited about them too. We've been talking to our content writers about improving our BI articles and tutorials since it has been an area that hasn't received much love recently. Hopefully you'll see something come out soon. -Ben

bobthebobd2 karma

Do you use any non-Microsoft product for development? (Textpad for example)

MicrosoftExcelTeam2 karma

Xcode :)

-joe

MicrosoftExcelTeam2 karma

A fair number of people on the team use Visual Assist and Notepad++. - Eric

MicrosoftExcelTeam2 karma

A few of us who have been around a while use Visual SlickEdit. We've actually developed quite a few macros specific to Excel with its fantastic extensibility. -Matty

Neilson5092 karma

Any chance you talk to the guys over at Microsoft Word and get clippy back for us?

MicrosoftExcelTeam5 karma

Only if we wanted to start a royal rumble. RIP Clippy.

  • Aaron

MicrosoftExcelTeam3 karma

We brought clippy back in Office Online a few days ago. But he's gone missing again.

-danb

jambon752 karma

My wife is a major Excel whizz and fan but hates social media so I am asking this on her behalf! She would like to know if you can use conditional formatting within a pivot table and can you have a macro update it. I don't know what any of that means, I've seen her create spreadsheets that make my nose bleed. Also can you say hi Bryony, she'll be so happy. Cheers!

MicrosoftExcelTeam2 karma

Hey! Awesome that she is a whizz! Yes you absolutely can create conditional formatting on a pivot table and use macros to adjust it, is there a specific problem she is having with it?

-samrad

jambon751 karma

Thanks for the reply! Apparently when she refreshes the pivot table the conditional formatting can disappear or be skewed - can she reference a date that sits outside the pivot table as part of the conditions?

MicrosoftExcelTeam2 karma

We don't do a good job with PivotTables and conditional formatting today. You can add CF, but it lives on the grid and not on the actual PivotTable. It's something we hear about and is on our list of possible improvements. She should be able to reference something outside the Pivot. -Ben

rasendart2 karma

[deleted]

MicrosoftExcelTeam2 karma

It's always a hard decision to make. We have lists of hundreds of possible features we could go implement at any given time. The primary way we decide is talking to customers and deciding which features would have the biggest impact for our users. We also align many of our features with the general themes Office is trying to deliver for a release and the overall market trends. -Ben

rahimzulfiqarali2 karma

If there was NO EXCEL ! then What else today ?

MicrosoftExcelTeam3 karma

+1

-danb

promiscuouspineapple2 karma

How do you guys go through what can possibly be added, in terms of functionality?

Do you plan on added sophisticated statistical functions into a future version (not as an add-on)?

Also, excel is amazing, and I would be useless at my job without it.

MicrosoftExcelTeam2 karma

thanks for the great question! there are a lot of things we think about when considering new functionality. we meet with customers to see how they are using our current products. we study statistics that help us better understand how often people use existing functionality. we often build and test prototypes to see how well a design works at meeting a specific need. and we also think about how much time certain features would to implement. it's a prioritization exercise from there. hope that gives you some insight into the process.

  • Aaron

RawMuscleLab2 karma

Can you ask the powers that be if I can have £1m worth of MS shares?

MicrosoftExcelTeam3 karma

If I ever I find those powers, I'm happy to ask for both of us.

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m99q0hKr8P1qknseao1_500.png

:-)

-danb

MissSpanishFly1 karma

How did you guys come to be a part of the Excel team?

MicrosoftExcelTeam3 karma

I did an internship in 1995. Got hired back full time next year. I remember saying to my Dad, "I'll get my foot in the door at MS in Excel and then we'll see." Still here. - Matty

MicrosoftExcelTeam3 karma

I also came in as a college hire after having completed internships during school (Access and charting teams). -Ben

MissSpanishFly3 karma

Was there anything in particular that drew you to joining Microsoft?

MicrosoftExcelTeam2 karma

It was overwhelming the smart people trying to solve real problems. Everyone was really competent and on top of things. Compared to college it was a big difference. The contrast between ivory tower theorizing and pragmatic problem solving was stark and I couldn't wait to get back to doing that full time.

jesusconrad1 karma

Where do you get the ideas to come up with new functions?

Edit: Also, which Office Application do you use the most?

MicrosoftExcelTeam2 karma

Outlook sort of wins this battle without trying. I always have email open and email is a big part of communicating here. Excel is #2 though. We track work items and things a number of ways, but I funnel all of that into Excel to do analysis of my own schedule and the team. - Matty

bobcatsand1 karma

Are there any cool Easter eggs in the past few releases that few people know of?

MicrosoftExcelTeam6 karma

Those are kind of frowned upon these days. Customers complained about them. -Matty

Sticky_Z1 karma

What is the longest forumla you have seen inside of a single cell? Wait, is there limit to length?

MicrosoftExcelTeam5 karma

The limit is 8192 characters, though there are cases where you can create a shorter formula that won't parse because it expands to a much larger internal representation. In practice, that never really happens.

I'm not sure what the longest is, but I've seen some that go to several hundred characters. - Matty

rahimzulfiqarali1 karma

  1. When will Microsoft release the Next Version of Microsoft Excel ? Currently its Excel 2013.
  2. How to begin start learning VBA for Excel if the user is not a programmer ?
  3. What are the tools for business analyst in microsoft excel ?
  4. Is microsoft adding more security features in Excel ?

MicrosoftExcelTeam1 karma

for #2, I would say pick something you want to code and turn on the macro recorder and do the actions in the sheet, then see the code it produces and mess with it. Hands on!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dw58URG8CfU

-samrad

MicrosoftExcelTeam1 karma

  1. We can't give a specific date for the next release, but if you look historically at the time between releases, it's generally 2-3 years.
  2. The best way to learn VBA (even for programmers) is to use macro recording. You can turn that on by going to File | Options | Customize Ribbon, and turn on the DEVELOPER ribbon. There, you'll find a "Record Macro" button. After you record a macro, look at the code that's generated for you!
  3. There a way too many for me to list here. Check out Power View and Power Pivot though!
  4. We always try to make Excel as secure as possible. Did you have a specific feature you were curious about?

Cheers,

-danb

DynamiteEggroll1 karma

Most people considered Microsoft Excel to be relatively simple to use pre-2008. The update added many new features and functions, but many of them are unused by many students and offices, are there any plans to simplify Excel? Or release a lite version of some sort to simplify and streamline efficiency? Thanks!

MicrosoftExcelTeam2 karma

The biggest change that we saw with the 2007 (Windows) and 2008 (Mac) release was the introduction of the ribbon. That definitely was a shocking (and re-learning) experience for many that we knew was going to be a bit painful. We have done a bunch of studies over the years though, and it turns out that once people learn the ribbon, it's generally easier to use.

Moving forward, we're always looking for ways to simplify and streamline the interface, and I think you'll see it evolve over the upcoming releases.

For a simplified version, you might want to check out Excel Online - a version of Excel that runs in your browser. It's still Excel, but it has just the "core" features of Excel, and so is a bit easier to use.

You can try it here: http://excel.office.com

Cheers,

-danb

answay11 karma

Hey how do I add more boxes in a spreadsheet? I have A1-K1 as dates to keep track of finances then totals in L1 etc but when I need to add more dates without deleting my total boxes how do I do that?

MicrosoftExcelTeam2 karma

If I follow, you want to insert a column by right clicking on column L. You can also just select column L and drag it to the right to move the totals. - Matty

bobthebobd1 karma

"We're full of coffee and pizza" ??? they should feed you better. Tell them I said so.

MicrosoftExcelTeam4 karma

Better than coffee?!?

MicrosoftExcelTeam4 karma

Our cafeteria pizza does leave something to be desired, but we ordered the Pizza and it was great - http://www.pagliacci.com/. Generally we do eat pretty well here, though we all hate our respective cafeteria's (and we all think "the building next door has a better one." :-)

Cheers,

-dan

bobthebobd1 karma

What do you guys use for source control?

MicrosoftExcelTeam2 karma

We have an internally developed tool. - Matty

GodHatesDogs1 karma

Would you rather fight the Lotus 1-2-3 team or 20 OpenOffice contributors?

MicrosoftExcelTeam3 karma

All at once. I always keep a cricket bat in my office. -Matty

CuntyMcGiggles1 karma

So cool! Is there a crazy Easter Egg or secret trick you can tell us to impress coworkers and win over the ladies? Thanks!

MicrosoftExcelTeam4 karma

I love Excel, but I've never seen it win over the ladies. I did see a personal ad in the Stranger once that said something like, "Excel expert preferred. Macros make me rock." - Matty

gvrt1 karma

What is the best place to submit Excel bugs and discuss feature requests? (Something like the Microsoft Connect site for the dev tools).

MicrosoftExcelTeam2 karma

You could use answers.microsoft.com or on the top right near the close button of the app, you might notice the Send-A-Smile feature, which the team regularly reads. - Eric

firsttime10101 karma

As a small business owner, and novice excel user, what are some cool things excel could be doing for me that i don't know it can do :)

MicrosoftExcelTeam4 karma

We're working on the print money feature for our small business users. It's not quite ready yet though.

As a novice user, I'd recommend tables as a great starting point. They unlock a lot of sorting and filtering capabilities in Excel. Highlight a set of data, go to the insert tab (or the tables tab in Mac Excel) and then insert a table. By placing your data in a table, it become much easier to sort information - such as customer lists, time reports or sales projections. Hope this helps!

  • Aaron

kmja1 karma

What are the most useful, but relatively unknown, tools or shortcuts?

MicrosoftExcelTeam6 karma

A keyboard shortcut that I use all the time in Windows Excel (following a Ctrl+C) is the Alt+E+S command. It brings you to a paste special dialog that allows you to quickly paste the copied data as values, formulas, formats, etc.

I find it most useful when I want to quickly copy formatting across a spreadsheet -- and use the Alt+E+S+T keystroke.

-Aaron

MicrosoftExcelTeam4 karma

I posted this elsewhere but alt-; is one of my favorites. It selects only the visible cells in your current selection. Handy for filtering and then working with just the filtered data.

glenglenglenglen1 karma

why'd you choose this job? did you not excel at anything else?

MicrosoftExcelTeam10 karma

Actually my only other sort-of-professional job was working as an engineering intern at Gillette. I worked on the production line for Sensor Excel. - Matty