We are the Microsoft Excel product team. Come ask us anything, from XLOOKUP to Sheet Views to lambda functions. Our whole team will be online answering your questions starting at 10 AM PT on March 10, 2021. Proof: https://twitter.com/msexcel/status/1361792480723795971


That’s a wrap for today, folks! Our team will continue to work through your unanswered questions offline.

Thank YOU so much for your time and your questions & feedback!

Please fill out this short survey at https://forms.office.com/r/uyHy0Tc8yX to let us know what you think of this AMA and future AMAs.

Comments: 4246 • Responses: 86  • Date: 

PadrinoFive75037 karma

When can we please prevent Excel from dropping leading zeroes?

MicrosoftExcelTeam1328 karma

I hear you! We know there's lots of interest in this and we are considering some options to give you more control over automatic conversion. Please send a frown (See: How do I give feedback on Microsoft Office? ) about it so we can add your voice to the other feedback about it. We really do use them to decide what needs to be fixed. -Jakub

DoctaEpic3016 karma

Seriously, what's the deal with Excel and interpreting everything as dates?

MicrosoftExcelTeam1597 karma

Someone thought this was a good idea when parse was first written 30ish years ago. I don't like it, but I need data to justify making changes to the powers that be. Nothing quite compares to a flood of Frowns ( How do I give feedback on Microsoft Office? ), so please keep sending them! -Jakub

MicrosoftExcelTeam712 karma

To add, we know there's lots of interest in this and we are considering some options to give you more control over automatic conversion. Please send a frown (feedback from in Excel) about it so we can add your voice to the other feedback about it. - Steve

jquijano1347 karma

Will there ever be a 'dark-mode' in Excel?

MicrosoftExcelTeam1166 karma

I would certainly hope so. It has been a point of interest in internal hack-a-thons. -Tom

MicrosoftExcelTeam661 karma

Also you can send feedback on that to help us prioritize that against all the other features that we're considering!

- Josh

Sittinginchairs1046 karma

Why are unsaved files in "Document Recovery" not listed chronologically?

Most of the time this function is only used when someone failed to save, and normally naming a document is part of that saving process. This means that you end up with a list of recovered documents with variation of "document1" sorted by title instead of date modified.

I just think sorting them by date modified would be a really nice QOL improvement.


MicrosoftExcelTeam675 karma

This seems like a really good suggestion - would you please send-a-smile with this suggestion. Thank you -Tom

MicrosoftExcelTeam782 karma

Hi. I'm Howie and I work on PivotTables and Power Pivot. I'm happy to take any questions in those areas.

mtforero89 karma

There used to be the functionality to hover over a pivot table filter button and it would show what filter was being used (example: values greater than x). Any chance that’s coming back?

MicrosoftExcelTeam93 karma

We're working on improvements to both the dropdown menus and right-click (context) menus, especially on the web which had lagged behind desktop Excel. We will be doing a more complete job of indicating the various sort and filter operations that have been applied.


boredafmama62 karma

What's the best way to learn pivot? Is the a "pivot for dummies"? I've always been interested in learning but don't know where to start. I don't even know what it would be used for.

MicrosoftExcelTeam102 karma

There is a great template that helps give an introduction to PivotTables! Check it out, and let us know what you think: https://templates.office.com/en-us/pivottable-tutorial-tm16400647


FesterJA633 karma

Who was the person that created the undo button? I feel like I should know their name since I thank them at least 10 times a day.

MicrosoftExcelTeam816 karma

We did - Excel 3.0 was the first application to have a toolbar, so also the first to have a undo button. - Eric (MSFT)

Sigmar_Heldenhammer569 karma

So, you know how for example Blizzard has a statue of an Orc at their head office, Games Workshop has a Space Marine, you know, their most known creations. Does Microsoft have anything like that? I mean, I know you probably have a lot of windows, but, maybe a statue of Clippy?

MicrosoftExcelTeam771 karma

I'm sure there is a Clippy around somewhere.. in our hallways I've seen a lifesize cardboard cutout of Steve Ballmer and Master Chief from Halo :)

- Catherine.

MicrosoftExcelTeam624 karma

There's also a life-size Hannah Montana cardboard somewhere around our building. - David

Noch_ein_Kamel513 karma

Who came up with the clever idea to translate all excel functions in e.g. german?
All programmer pro-moves are not possible because you can't copy/paste english functions in german excel.

And what happens if someone opens the excel file with a different language version? :-o

Or can I set german excel to accept english functions as well ;-)

MicrosoftExcelTeam277 karma

We have a free add-in that you can use to easily translate functions and formulas.
Excel Functions Translator - Excel (microsoft.com)

If someone opens the same file, it should be okay. In the Excel file, the functions are kept in a format that will correctly show in whichever language you use, so if you share a file, the functions will show in the language for the other person.

It would be great if you would send feedback from within Excel so we can add your voice to the other feedback about this. - Steve

gdoebs412 karma

What's programming language is Excel written in?

MicrosoftExcelTeam720 karma

Multiple, actually. The core is C++ (and in a few places C pretending to be C++). Mac Excel has Objective-C++ parts, Excel Online has C#, and there are others. ~~ Alex

MicrosoftExcelTeam413 karma

We also use React/Typescript for a good number of the newer task panes and our Excel Online ribbon. - David

JerkfaceMcDouche320 karma

Is there any hope of you guys creating a PERCENTILEIF function? Or MEDIANIF?

I had to write my own but would be great to see it come natively with the program.

MicrosoftExcelTeam865 karma

Any ***IF style function can be done with the use of FILTER. Eg. MEDIANIF: =MEDIAN(FILTER(data,condition))

I prefer the FILTER approach over IF, because FILTER removes the data that does not meet the criteria. IF just replaces it.


i_do_floss60 karma

You ever use array formulas? I think I already do those things with array formulas.


th3cr1t1c52 karma

Right on... MEDIAN IF is possible with an array formula as well.


MicrosoftExcelTeam91 karma

This is a good option - also we expect that LAMBDAs will allow users to create functions like this that can be shared so that you won't need to wait for us to create them. LAMBDAs will really open up the functionality of Excel.

- Josh

MicrosoftExcelTeam302 karma

Hi, I am Alina and work on Intelligence in Excel, specifically Ideas and Chart Recommendations. Let me know how I can help :)

felicitybean82113 karma

Do you have plans to expand your map chart range and geographies? Where can I find a list of which countries you currently cover?

For me, this would include administrative districts of countries (eg, in Switzerland, cantons and gemeinde).

MicrosoftExcelTeam76 karma

I'm not personally familiar with the administrative districts of Switzerland, however, if you have an M365 account you can convert those to geography data types (Data ribbon tab -> Geography in the Data Types block) and those have additional data inside of them that help the map chart do a better job of plotting the data. Please let us know if you have issues with that with the feedback buttons in Excel!

- Josh

eazyp294 karma

Sometimes I click on the border of a cell and it drops me to the bottom of my spreadsheet. What’s up with that?

MicrosoftExcelTeam269 karma

I believe you discovered one of the very old grid navigation features. Please, try disabling "Enable fill handle and cell drag-and-drop" option under Advanced. ~~ Alex

jjjiiiomn278 karma

How would you feel if Excel became an e-sport?

MicrosoftExcelTeam322 karma

There has been Excel modelling competitions. Just be sure to pry the F1 key off your keyboard if you want to win ;) - Eric (MSFT)

MicrosoftExcelTeam129 karma

Wait!? I thought it already was. MAKRO being one of the biggest names in the pro Excel e-sport scene. Though he recently lost to V1K4S in a wild upset... ;)


lostdelirium272 karma

Why did y'all delete the car racing game from inside early versions of excel?

MicrosoftExcelTeam647 karma

They banned us from including Easter eggs :<

- Ryan

conker223245 karma

When dealing with large cells, it is difficult to scroll through an excel spreadsheet because scrolling goes from cell to cell instead of a smooth scrolling feature. Why is there not an option for smooth scrolling that doesn't jump around when dealing with large cells?

MicrosoftExcelTeam118 karma

Thank you for your input! We have planned work for this feature based on the community feedback, you can track updates in the uservoice page for the feature

Have Excel scroll better when there are large cells. – Welcome to Excel’s Suggestion Box! (uservoice.com)

- David M

MicrosoftExcelTeam207 karma

Whatup Spreadsheet Family! I major in Data Types and minor in functions. Looking forward to your questions!


JayFv130 karma

Hi Kaycee, Are there any benefits of XLOOKUP over INDEX+MATCH?

MicrosoftExcelTeam275 karma

It's definitely a personal choice. However, some benefits include readability for yourself or anyone auditing your workbook. Nesting functions like Index Match make it harder to read and parse. XLookup has a logically simpler formula. It also includes "If Not Found" as an optional argument where to do the same with IndexMatch is more nesting. :/ There are also minor performance benefits because how we can more efficiently evaluate Xlookup over nested functions.


MicrosoftExcelTeam196 karma

Hi, I'm Catherine. I'm one of the Excel Product Leads at Microsoft. Ask me anything!

MicrosoftExcelTeam145 karma

Ayo - I'm David, I work on the Excel charting experience. Ask me anything!

JonPeltier237 karma

Hi David, I'm Jon. I live in the Excel charting experience. We need to go have a beer sometime.

MicrosoftExcelTeam145 karma

Love your work, Jon. Anytime. - David

MakesErrorsWorse177 karma

Why doesn't Excel have gantt charts?

I wrote a VBA script to draw gantt charts, using each cell as 1 month. So its not a technical limitation.

MicrosoftExcelTeam107 karma

Make sure to use UserVoice to voice your thoughts regarding Gantt charts. When it comes to new charts, we base our research on the community's need.

Welcome to Excel’s Suggestion Box! (uservoice.com)

- David

loser7787138 karma

What is one of the biggest keyboard shortcuts most people don’t realize would make them more productive day to day?

Edit: Some interesting replies here, thanks to everyone who chimed in. This makes me realize I need to take some time to sit down and dig deeper and take a look at all of the little things I do in a more manual way.

Even saving a few seconds here and there would add up when thinking about how I’ve been using Excel for work tasks for almost a decade now.

MicrosoftExcelTeam367 karma

My favorite if F9 when writing a formula in the formula bar. It replaces the highlighted portion of your formula with the calculation value. Saves me a lot of time when debugging formulas.

Guy [Excel Team]

MicrosoftExcelTeam290 karma

Pressing F2 while editing a formula in a cell (or in the conditional formatting or name manager dialogs) switches between "Enter" and "Edit" modes, which change how the arrow keys work. In Enter mode pressing an arrow key moves the selection in the grid and enters the reference in the formula, whereas in Edit mode you can use the arrow keys to move the cursor around within the text of the formula.


slopos110 karma

Any chance you guys can add a button to stop formula calculation for cases where it hangs? I deal with spreadsheets with hundreds of thousands of data sets and waiting 2-3 minutes when I accidentally change something I didn't intend to builds up to a lot of lost productivity. I know I can disable formula calculation, but then if I forget to turn it back on, things go awry.

Edit (thought of something else) 2nd thing: my company has disabled VBA/Macro functionality in excel due to security concerns. Is there anything more secure in the works for future versions?

MicrosoftExcelTeam146 karma

While there isn't a button to stop formula calculation, you can press the Esc key to break out of the calculation as Excel does regularly check if the user is trying to abort the calculation. You may need to hold the Esc key until it stops. Do note that if Excel is in automatic calculation mode it will try to pick up any uncalculated cells when Excel is not actively doing work, so if you don't want that behavior you can switch to manual calculation mode at this time.


MicrosoftExcelTeam1 karma

For your second question, yes! We recommend checking out Office Scripts: Office Scripts in Excel on the web - Office Scripts | Microsoft Docs.

It is currently in preview for Excel for web, and you can read about the differences between VBA and Scripts here: Differences between Office Scripts and VBA macros - Office Scripts | Microsoft Docs.

slugerama87 karma

Why is the web based version of all Office products, such hot garbage? They look like the products have regressed to a very basic version of what they were, particularly Word.

MicrosoftExcelTeam61 karma

We have invested heavily in the web applications over the past several years and it continues to be a huge focus, so you should expect to see continual improvements on an almost weekly basis. A few years ago, the feedback I'd get was around needing support for copy/paste and formatting. Now the feedback is around support for advanced BI capabilities... so we've come a long way.

Here's a summary of our strategy on the web app: Excel for the Web - Microsoft Tech Community

Here's a link of just a few of the new capabilities rolled out in the past several quarters: What's new in Excel for the web - Excel (microsoft.com)

-Brian Jones

MicrosoftExcelTeam85 karma

Hi, folks. I'm Bill Monroe. I'm a trainer with the Microsoft 365 for Journalists team. We help journalists and reporters around the world to use Excel, Teams (and the rest of the Microsoft 365 suite of products and services) to tell their stories more effectively.


MicrosoftExcelTeam78 karma

Hi, I'm Emmanuel. I'm a software developer on the Excel team! Ask away!

UnsignedRealityCheck73 karma

Do you Excel at your job?

And how many times have you heard that.

MicrosoftExcelTeam99 karma

In fact I'm wearing a shirt today that says "I simply [Excel logo]" and I know a lot of us have this shirt :)

MicrosoftExcelTeam34 karma

I thought about wearing that shirt today, but I think it's in the wash. ~~Wayne

MicrosoftExcelTeam44 karma

Hi. I'm Andy and I work on LAMBDA (and other functions). Ask away!

CatalyticPerchlorate33 karma

Are you aware that the hot key shortcut to do a simple sort in excel is <alt key> ASS? I’ve often wondered of that was pure chance, or a disgruntled employee sneaking their grievances into the product.

MicrosoftExcelTeam26 karma

I learned something new today :) Thanks for the chuckle too! I suspect we never considered what the shortcut would spell out.


PedroERB33 karma


I was at the Global Excel Summit and they showed a file with the periodic table, where can I access it?

MicrosoftExcelTeam31 karma

Yep, that's the link! The Periodic Table file can be found by clicking the "Periodic Table template" link at the top of the page. Have fun with it -- I love the new integration of science topics and data directly in Excel.

Note that right now, in order to use the new Chemistry data types, you need to be a part of the Office Insiders Program and have a consumer (non-Enterprise) subscription account. In the coming months, it will be expanded the general (non-Insiders) users as well.


NielsBohron2 karma

There are lots of Excel-based Periodic Table templates freely available. I have a half dozen that I built from a template online that I modified to fit my needs. I use them on a regular basis for illustrating different concepts, and they work pretty well (I teach Gen Chem)

Is there something about this particular feature that the existing templates can't do?

MicrosoftExcelTeam3 karma

The new Chemistry data types have added data brought in directly from Wolfram, kept in a rich data type in one cell. Once you have access to these data types (which is now if you're in the Insiders Program and soon if you aren't) you can take your existing Periodic Table spreadsheet and convert the elements and compounds in them to Data Types, so you can keep the layout you have while also having access to more data from Wolfram.

Check out the videos here, specifically the second one under the "The evolution of data types" section, which is a short animation working with a hydrogen data type.


MicrosoftExcelTeam28 karma

Hi, I'm Wayne, a software engineer on the Excel team. Ask me anything!

MicrosoftExcelTeam23 karma

Hi, I'm Cuong. I'm the Excel community lead at Microsoft. Ask me anything!

Inspect0r718 karma

Can I request an option to disable the help hotkey (f1) without requiring a macro code?

I believe the macro below works, but isn't always ideal.

Private Sub Workbook_Open()
Application.OnKey "{F1}", ""
End Sub

(credit to u/imjms737)

MicrosoftExcelTeam13 karma

Certain hardcore Excel folks have been known to physically remove the F1 key from their keyboards. :) -Carlos

MicrosoftExcelTeam15 karma

That’s a wrap for today, folks! Our team will continue to work through your unanswered questions offline.

Thank YOU so much for your time and your questions & feedback!

Please fill out this short survey to let us know what you think of this AMA and future AMAs.

MicrosoftExcelTeam13 karma

Hello, I'm Bill. I work on the Excel engineering team. Ask me anything!

my5cworth8 karma

You guys are my favourite team.

People at work never believe me when I tell them how tiny the MS Excel team is. How big are you guys now anyway?

Bonus question: What's the most impressive spreadsheet you've seen someone create using your program?

MicrosoftExcelTeam5 karma

My favorite spreadsheet is one that plays and AD/DC music video on the sheet in the cells. At one time, it was downloadable from their website. You may still be able to find it somewhere on the internet. - Steve

MicrosoftExcelTeam7 karma

Hi there. I'm Tim, Excel PM for Data Privacy. Ask me anything!

MicrosoftExcelTeam6 karma

Hi I'm Tom - I work on win32 Excel reliability. Ask away...

metalmine5 karma

can you make it easier to insert rows/columns as well as to paste as value?

MicrosoftExcelTeam3 karma

Hi! Can you tell me more about the challenges you're facing?


Suax4 karma

When will Clippy come back???

MicrosoftExcelTeam5 karma

Glad to hear you miss Clippy. :) What was your favorite character? Can you give us an example of the help Clippy provided that you found useful? -Urmi [MSFT]

MicrosoftExcelTeam4 karma

Are you missing it? :) -Tom

kahrido3 karma

Why does excel on Mac not have alt shortcuts? Makes doing work so much more difficult.

MicrosoftExcelTeam3 karma

This is a great suggestion, and you're not the only one who has been asking. We're considering this, but I don't have a timeline to share about it. - Steve

KiNgAnUb1s3 karma

I have heard that there are so many things you can do with Excel that no one knows how to do anymore. Is this true? Also what are some of the little known but insanely useful tricks you can do?

MicrosoftExcelTeam13 karma

That is true. A couple of my favorites: Ctrl-' to show formulas and zooming out to 30% or further to see named ranges. ~~ Alex

slugma1232 karma

Can you tell us about some super secret feature in Excel that, as of today, absolutely no one in the public knows of yet?

MicrosoftExcelTeam3 karma

The one that prevents sharing of super secret ... ACK! *cough* ... nevermind -Tom

MicrosoftExcelTeam2 karma

It's not new, but I recently discovered you can create an object that shows dynamically another section of the workbook and thought it was really cool! Dynamically display the contents of a cell or range in a graphic object - Excel (microsoft.com).

- David M

MicrosoftExcelTeam2 karma

Hey, I'm Brian, I work as an engineer on Excel mainly on the new Data Types feature. Ask me anything!

MicrosoftExcelTeam2 karma

Hi I am Urmi, and I work on making Excel easier to use for beginner and general users. AMA.

McDouggal2 karma

Every part of Office 365 online is a damn good product, but Excel is always laggy as hell, which forces me to download the sheet locally and work on it there if I don't want to have it hang for a half second every time I put in a new equation. Is there a way for me to fix this for online use so that it preferentially uses my computer's processor for these calculations?

MicrosoftExcelTeam3 karma

Hi there! We are constantly improving the performance of our Excel for the Web solution. Here is the blog post describing the recent set of improvements that we introduced.

Performance Improvements in Excel for the Web - Microsoft Tech Community

If you have a specific list of scenarios that you think can be even faster - please let us know!

Guy [Excel Team]

nadzvi2 karma

Ok, always wondered. Who is the father (or mother) of Excel? Who thought of the cells and rows and columns and mostly who's idea was to use formulas in cells and invented vlookup or sumif.

MicrosoftExcelTeam3 karma

Here is a great video on the history of Excel: https://youtu.be/qdReNKlq1oE ~~ Alex

rwilson9552 karma

Now that Guido Van Rossum has joined Microsoft, do you see Python interacting with Excel in new ways in the future?

MicrosoftExcelTeam4 karma

We don’t yet have specific plans to announce at this time, but we have been researching the topic, conducting customer interviews, and are working with the Python team at Microsoft. Our goal is to build a plan that we think can address majority of the scenarios users have told us about and ensure it can run wherever Excel runs.


GetADogLittleLongie1 karma

Have you guys thought of an HTML table to excel functionality? I've found some tools online that can do it but an official extension would help a lot...

Right now I have to download the page and edit the source code to use it.

Cool didn't know Excel would have lambda functions.

MicrosoftExcelTeam2 karma

You can use Power Query in Excel to easily bring data from web pages, you can see more information here: Import data from the web - Excel (microsoft.com) - David M

ConstantTorque1 karma

Will we ever get anything other than VBA for scripting in Excel?

MicrosoftExcelTeam3 karma

Office Scripts is the newer language. Some info is here: Introduction to Office Scripts in Excel - Excel (microsoft.com)


iDareToDream1 karma

Got some stupid excel questions.

  • I have 2 tabs on a report (over 10k rows per tab). Is there an easy way to add the contents of the second tab as new rows on the 1st tab give then number of rows involved?
  • Is there a way to easily add data from 3 separate sheets onto a master sheet?

MicrosoftExcelTeam4 karma

They are great questions!

I think the best solution for both of your questions is to use Power Query to consolidate your data and load it into a new sheet.

You can find a good step-by-step guide by an Excel MVP here: How to Combine Tables with Power Query - Excel Campus

-David M