How can we improve Excel for Windows (Desktop Application)?

Python as an Excel scripting language

Let us do scripting with Python! Yay! Not only as an alternative to VBA, but also as an alternative to field functions (=SUM(A1:A2))

3,133 votes
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    DanielDaniel shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    HI folks,

    Thanks for the continued passion around this.

    We’ve been busy building an infrastructure that allows remote execution of arbitrary code from custom functions in Excel. This was introduced last week at the Microsoft Ignite conference with Azure Machine Learning (https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/tools-for-the-ai-driven-digital-transformation/), which itself can host code in various runtimes.

    This is just the beginning, and doesn’t cover many of the scenarios this user voice item now has. Just wanted to drop a quick note saying we’re continuing to work to deliver the scenario we announced with high quality and explore other integration points.

    Thanks again

    Ashvini Sharma,
    Lead Program Manager
    Microsoft Excel

    212 comments

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      • GuzmanGuzman commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I don't understand, one year ago this had more thsn 7.000 votes.
        Anyway, go Python!

      • Sebastian RieraSebastian Riera commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        xlsxwriter and openpyxl have already accomplished a lot. surely taking credit for all the work they've already done isn't something you're opposed to.

        not gonna get into R vs Python vs Java (we all "know" which one's best) but it seems python would be relatively easy.

      • Jason WhittleJason Whittle commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Please, Please integrate Python. Not only would it make excel better but it will expose students and new users to programming in a way that's not too overwhelming.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I use Python to extract data from unstructured data sources. It would be great to integrate this capability with Excel. It can extend Excels external data functionality.

      • balakrishna sappabalakrishna sappa commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Unlike JavasScript, Python is not a web standard. If still Python is to be introduced only to support its community, it is R that should go in first.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        >Where else can Python add value to Excel?

        For people that know Python but not Javascript.

      • balakrishna sappabalakrishna sappa commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Excel has got -
        Power Query for advanced data manipulation
        Power Pivot for BI data modeling
        Power View for Visualization
        JavaScript for Scripting

        R can be introduced first for advanced data analysis (which Python is also good at) and advanced visualization.

        Where else can Python add value to Excel?

        Still support for Python can also be introduced into Excel taking it's huge community into consideration but the pressing need is still sounds more for R.

      • Andre TerraAndre Terra commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        R is not used a general purpose language as much as Excel. It's virtually domain specific (Statistics) and there's no reason to shoehorn spreadsheet scripting into that.

      • balakrishna sappabalakrishna sappa commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        R should be introduced first because - the vector arithmetic of R is close to the way we work with cells and ranges in Excel. Data frames in R are close to the concept of tables in Excel. This makes both Excel and R communities picking up either technologies easily.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        1. Best option would be Python and R
        2. If that's not possible I prefer R but I think Python would probably help more people(?)
        3. There already is the excellent excel.link package on CRAN. You might want to make that official (either by talking to the author or forking)

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Most universities and high schools are now teaching Python as the 'go-to' programming language. Microsoft, you are missing out on a prolific opportunity if you don't enable Python in Excel... just saying.

      • JohnJohn commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I thought I remembered seeing 8,000+ votes...

        Anyway, there's obviously a lot of demand for this feature from the thread; can someone from Microsoft update us on whether there may be any plans to introduce this?

      • GuzmanGuzman commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        WTF happened?
        What happened with the votes? Last year there was almost 8.000 votes and now there are "only" 3.000 votes.

        Can somebody comment on this?

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Python for Excel would help so much in my work as a structural engineer.
        I already use Python, but it is hard to distribute to collegues since everyone only use Excel.

        Great Idea. Really hope that you guys at Microsoft will comtemplate some form of integration between these two amazing tools.

      • Andre TerraAndre Terra commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        People saying VBA is essentially the same as Python just don't understand programming. Anyone who's ever written classes in VBA and in Python will need no further convincing.

      • Matthew CrewsMatthew Crews commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        As someone who has worked with both R and Python, I vote for Python. For people coming from VBA it will be a much easier transition. R has many quirks which would not be intuitive for people working in Excel. The Python syntax is more straightforward than R. R only becomes very powerful when you enable the use of libraries from CRAN. Python is a good language, even without any other libraries.

      • Zev SpitzZev Spitz commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        (Not familiar with R). I support this idea for (if nothing else) Python's lambda expressions, which enable a succinct style of data processing (think LINQ) than requiring multiple nested For/For Each loops in VBA.

        How would the editor/debugging experience work? Must Office also have an embedded Python IDE, like the VBA IDE? I know Visual Studio Code supports debugging Python via an extension, so it should be possible to debug with an external IDE.

        Would Python support be enabled for other Microsoft Office programs as well?

        I understand the intention is to either 1) allow Python programs to be embedded inside Excel documents, or 2) allow Python programs to be hosted by the Excel application. Or both. What about security implications?

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