Excel is getting support for custom data types via Power BI or Power Query

Laurent Giret

Excel Custom Data Types

Microsoft announced this morning an important update for Excel, its popular spreadsheet app used by millions of users across the world. If most Excel users are fine with using the app with just text and numbers, Microsoft recently expanded the field of possibilities with the addition of dynamic arrays, array formulas, as well as Stocks and Geography data types powered by Bing. However, the company is pushing forward today with the addition of new custom data types for Excel.

Microsoft will provide organizations with different possibilities for bringing their live data to Excel. The process will be really seamless for Power BI customers, as Excel will be able to automatically integrate Power BI data and integrate it as a structured data type. Microsoft will also let other organisations bring their own data sources to Excel with Power Query data types.

If, for example, you have a system for tracking your customers, and you want to bring that customer data into Excel for analysis, now you can import as a richly structured “customer” data type structured in the way you or your company have defined “customer.” If you are a Power BI customer, Excel will automatically connect to Power BI, and any data you’ve published will be easily discoverable and flow into Excel as a structured data type,” explained Brian Jones, Group Program Manager for Excel.

Excel Custom Data Types

Power BI data types are now available in Excel for Windows for all Microsoft 365 365 subscribers with a Power BI Pro service plan. Power Query data types are still rolling out and will be generally available for all Microsoft 365 subscribers in the coming weeks.

In addition to custom data types for Excel, Microsoft announced is also expanding its partnership with Wolfram Alpha to bring more hundreds of new data types to Excel such as chemistry, nutrition, zip codes, historical events, and genetics. These are currently available for Microsoft 365 subscribers in the Office Insider program.