The summer is coming to a close, and we have some really awesome blog posts coming up that will blow your data-driven/Excel minds! We’re going to be reviewing an awesome tool someone sent us that shows you how to remember shortcuts, and a new tool to help you ladies out there plan your bachelorette parties. Based on the success of our first Google Sheets tool for helping you and your friends split costs better, we think this bachelorette party planning tool will be a big hit!
Alternatives to Microsoft Excel (if you’re tired of paying for the license)
Yes, there are indeed alternatives to Microsoft Excel. We’ve tried all of them, and there are alternatives to Excel for opening a .xls or .xlsx file. We think that these alternatives are generally good if you want to simply “open” the file and not do any heavy modeling or analysis in the file (although we’re sure the alternative programs beg to differ).
Regardless, the biggest advantage of these alternatives is that you don’t have to pay the hefty price tag that comes with a Microsoft Office license. The .xlsx file format is actually short for Open Office XML Spreadsheet, an “open” format Microsoft introduced in Office 2007. Programs like Apple’s Numbers, and lesser known ones like LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice can open these files as well. If we had to choose the best alternative, however, it would still be Google Sheets.
Source: New York Times
Why Excel 365’s API Will Blow Your Mind Away
Ok, so blowing your mind away might be a bit of a stretch, but this is definitely BIG news in the world of Microsoft Excel.
In August 2016, Microsoft released on its blog the Excel API to broaden the use of Office 365. This was a power move by Microsoft to further take on other Excel alternatives such as Google Sheets, Quip, etc. Office 365 has no doubt seen the popularity of spreadsheet collaboration and is pushing its own version of online collaboration via Office 365. With the API, dev and product guys can now use all of Excel’s functions by doing a simple API call. Need to use the mortgage payment function PMT() in a random app you’re building? Call the API and you can use the function without having to open up Excel at all.
We all heard the big news of Salesforce buying up Quip for $582M in an effort to compete with the big boys at Microsoft. We wrote about Quip in an earlier post as an up and coming business analysis platform that is trying to compete with Office, and this acquisition gives Quip the firepower it needs to compete further. But if Microsoft continues to release cool shit like this API, Salesforce and Quip are in for a longgg ride.
Source: The Register
Geneticists Are Going Crazy Over Excel’s Autocorrect Feature
We never thought there would be an intersection between Excel and the world of genetics, but here it is! And not in a good way. A group of researchers analyzed thousands of academic papers where there were gene names involved and 19.6% of the papers contained errors due to Microsoft Excel’s autocorrect feature. Sure, autocorrect leads to really funny and awkward conversations when they happen over text, but not when you’re writing an academic paper and autocorrect misinterprets the genes in your paper to mean dates.
For instance, geneticists use the gene name MARCH1 in their papers but when they plug this into Excel for data analysis purposes, MARCH1 gets translated to 1-Mar. We’ve all seen this happen when we want to write actual text in a cell but then Excel converts that text to a date, then we have to use format cells to change the format of that cell, and re-type the text, and the process goes round and round. Funny thing is that there is no way to turn off the autocorrect feature and scientists have been dealing with this problem for the last 10 years! Damn you Excel Autocorrect!
Source: How Stuff Works