How New Excel Functions Shape Our Future

new excel functions

How To Improve Excel

Microsoft 365 had made several promises regarding the integration of major tools such as Office 365, Windows, Azure and security tools. Building this bridge would be possible by extending desktop tools and cloud support. Moreover, one of the most popular software to think of is Excel with its new Excel functions.

Excel had never had the chance to take advantage of any remote processing capabilities. Even with Visual Studio Tools, the software always went back to its calculation origins. However, today it is able to connect to data sources as part of its application. In 2018, technologists found new ways to extend the programming model of Excel.  They decided to use JavaScript because of the availability of custom functions incorporated in Excel.

Creating custom Excel functions

JavaScript is the function code that we can easily create and incorporate in any editor. The advantage is that you can have many functions in just one file. Therefore, you can use one library of integrated functions that will be available across the organization. A good advice would be to put namespaces because different sources can have similar functions. An example is ISPRIME function found in TechRepublic namespace and integrated as =TechRepublic.ISPRIME to look for prime numbers in a cell.

JSON description, which is the metadata for a custom function, links Excel to the code. It helps you to autocomplete functions, offer custom options and define the parameters sent to the function. It is followed by XML manifest to show the files associated with custom functions.

Functions running at the same time and remotely need JavaScript call-backs and promise to deal with asynchronous operations. Professionals can use them to call out Azure and other web-services.

One interesting idea is to stream the results into a cell automatically. It means that the content can update on its own. Any streaming function will need to be cancellable. As a result, Excel spreadsheet integrated into a streaming custom function, which is an open opportunity for improving any business process. A customizable dashboard uses that new Excel function in custom and built-in visualizations.


Microsoft Excel is progressing with the integration of new custom functions that facilitates the business processes. Due to its capability to reach out to cloud services and machine learning, which we will discuss in the next editions, the new Excel shapes new technological opportunities for the future.

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