More linked data types coming to Excel 365

More details are coming out about the extension of Linked Data Types to pull more public information into Excel 365 workbooks.  Microsoft originally boasted there would be 100 new linked data types but the number has shrunk.

It’s a massive extension of the existing Stock and Geography data types like

  • Anatomy
  • Animals
  • Foods: calories, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, nutrients, etc.
  • Medical
  • Yoga
  • Cities
  • Locations: zip codes, economic data, airports, schools, forests, etc.
  • Terrain
  • Structures
  • People: famous people
  • Plants
  • Universities: graduation rates, tuition, student body, etc.
  • Chemistry: elements, compounds, and minerals.
  • Space: planets, moons, satellites, supernovas, space missions, etc.
  • Movies: actors, characters, directors, release dates, poster art, etc.
  • Music: plants, animal breeds, famous people, languages, etc.
Source: Microsoft

All the existing features of Linked Data Types are in these new data sources.  Our ebook Real Time Excel goes into detail about Linked Data Types as well as more info for Stocks, Currency Exchange Rates and Stock Indexes.

Type in a name, then go to Data | Data Types and choose the data type from the expanded list.  The Data Card shows all the information imported for that item.

Source: Microsoft

Extend that information into other columns using dot . separator and the pull-down list of options.

Source: Microsoft

Organization

A very interesting option is Organization.  Within companies, Linked Data Types can be made by Power BI to fill worksheets with employee or customer data.

IT Managers might start looking at extending Power BI for this easy integration into Excel.

Automatic

The Automatic data type opens up even more data types. We tried ‘Oliver Twist’ with Automatic and Excel gave us choices for the fictional character, the book and various films.

Characters

Fictional characters

Medical

disease, medical test, ICD nine, ICD ten, cognitive task

Body

anatomical structure, neuron, anatomical functional concept, anatomical temporal concept

Media

artwork, book, music act, music work, music album, musical instrument

Nature

plant, animal species, dog breed, cat breed, dinosaur, cattle breed, goat breed, pig breed, pigeon breed, poultry breed, sheep breed, animal anatomical structure

Activities

yoga pose, yoga position, yoga sequence, yoga prop, pilates exercise, physical activity

Other

person, given name, tropical storm, cloud, atmospheric layer, language, sport object

Data Accuracy

It will be interesting to see how accurate these new data types are.  The info is sourced from Wolfram Alpha and Bing (which is essentially web scraping).

As we’ve shown before, the Geography data type is error prone because it grabs data from Wikipedia with no human curation.  Microsoft has been deaf to complaints, placing their trust in the letters ‘AI’ which are supposed to have some magical qualities.

Be careful with Excel 365’s Linked Data Types
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Who gets it?

It’s rolling out gradually starting with Office for Windows and Mac Insiders Fast.  English-language and consumer licences only for now.

  • Windows: Version 2007 (Build 13029.20006).
  • Mac: Version 16.40 Build 20062901.

Even then, the new data types might not appear in Excel because Microsoft hasn’t made them available to all Insiders at once.  All you can do is check Data | Data Types and see if there’s more than just Stock and Geography icons.

Fix Excel when Stock and Geography data types go missing
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