Two new Excel formula helpers

Microsoft has two new formula helpers in Excel. One to suggest the right function (Formula Suggestions) and the other to automatically insert copies of a formula (Formula by Example).

For the moment, these two features are in Excel on the web but are likely to spread to other Excel’s during 2023.

Formula Suggestions

Excel will prompt with a suggestion of the right formula to use, based on clues like the column or row heading.  For example, for a column headed ‘Total’, Excel will suggest a SUM() formula.

Source: snipped from a Microsoft video

Formulas suggested are SUM, AVERAGE, COUNT, COUNTA, MIN, and MAX.  At first, only in English.

Formula by Example

When typing into cells that related to other cells, Excel will suggest a formula to automatically fill the rest of the column or row.

Source: snipped from a Microsoft video

If Excel ‘sees’ a text pattern being typed repeatedly, it will suggest a formula that will do the job for the rest of the column. Look for a “Fill cells with this formula?” prompt.

It’s very similar to Flash Fill, except this works to suggest a formula and not just plain text results. That’s VERY good because Flash Fill was always a ‘one off’ change which didn’t reflect later changes in the source cells or additional rows/columns.

An Koala Stamp 🐨 of approval to the Excel Dev Team for making short, informative videos. They demonstrate the feature clearly and simply, something often lacking from Microsoft videos.

Patience, Grasshopper

No matter how hard we’ve tried, we can’t get these features to work.  Perhaps they aren’t fully deployed yet? If they don’t appear for you, we can only suggest patience.

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