Microsoft has integrated the Python coding language into Excel — a spreadsheet app from their Microsoft Office suite of products. It has not been released. However, a public preview of the feature is available.
Python is a coding language that is used for a wide variety of purposes. However, it’s most appealing use cases are mathematical, scientific, and data analysis operations. It is used by developers to crunch numbers and sift through large quantities of data in a time-efficient manner.
This is appealing to Microsoft Excel users because they too have to sift through large quantities of data in the form of spreadsheets, but the formulas in spreadsheets are not nearly as advanced as the Python interpreter (which is what executes Python code).
Python also provides the advantage of being home to the world’s most advanced and popular machine learning libraries that enable Python users to incorporate AI into their data analysis software.
For now, the confirmed Python features in this new version of Excel include plotting, charting, among others. Microsoft’s partnership with the Anaconda repository means that the Pandas (open source data analysis tool), Matplotlib (plotting and visualization tool), and Statsmodels (statistical modeling tool) libraries will be available in Excel.
The Python code will be executed in the Microsoft Cloud and the output will be sent to the front end Excel app, which is unnecessary, would only slow down the users’ operations with an Internet round trip (and prevent them from using it offline).
It would also complicate things from a privacy and data security standpoint because you’d be sending your data and code to Microsoft. Hopefully Microsoft updates it to operate on the users’ computers instead. On mobile phones, the case for cloud execution is more compelling.