In this tutorial I’m going to highlight some cool new Excel features that might have slipped under your radar, a couple of which we’ve wanted forever. These are available to Microsoft 365 users, and some are so new that they’re only available to Office Insiders users on the Beta Channel. If ever there was a good time to get Microsoft 365 it’s now!
Note: I don’t get paid to recommend Microsoft products, it’s just my honest opinion.
Watch the Video
Unhide Multiple Worksheets
The ability to unhide multiple worksheets in Excel has been at the top of people’s wish list for so long that many have resorted to writing macros to automate this task. Finally, it’s here.
Right-click any sheet tab > Unhide:
Select a range of sheets while holding SHIFT, or select non-contiguous sheets while holding CTRL:
And do the happy dance 😁
Workbook statistics is a handy tool when working with large and or complex Excel files. You’ll find it on the Review tab > Workbook Statistics:
This opens the Workbook Statistics dialog displaying counts and other information about the current worksheet and workbook as a whole:
The end of sheet cell is particularly useful for detecting cells that Excel thinks still contain data that need cleaning up, which is a common problem.
If you work with data that requires large row heights, then you will be overjoyed with the new ability for Excel to smoothly scroll across rows without it jumping to the next row.
This feature is on by default, assuming you have the update.
Note: The row height is restricted to a maximum of 409:
The Navigation pane is a great way to get an overview of the workbook’s layout. From here you can see the elements that make up each worksheet and navigate directly to them. Open the Navigation pane from the View tab > Navigation:
Resize Conditional Formatting Dialogs
If you use Conditional Formatting with long formulas, then you’ll be pleased to see that you can now resize the dialog boxes:
Notice you can now also duplicate a rule from the dialog box above.
Checked them out… UnHide WILL be nice. If, as I assume, it really lets you select more than one tab at a time. It looks so much like the general navigate-to-a-particular tab dialog that I fear about that though I do understand that might be turned off there since navigating to several tabs at once is a bit strange-seeming to say the least, though I CAN think of a use or two for it. Just fear that it’s non-existent, not just turned off.
Statistics could be interesting, and maybe useful if you have apparent corruption issues. After all, instead of checking out a hundred angles, if perhaps it said there are four charts in the spreadsheet and you only know of two, you can zero right in on that angle. Maybe save some time. And maybe for some cues about complexity, maybe move one to consider how to simplify the spreadsheet. Otherwise, “interesting” largely in the way having Word assign you some grade level for the writing you just did and smarting it up or dumbing it down or just being insulted (… well, “mortified” anyway).
Smooth scrolling though, waited too long in my work life for that one. I have no need for it nowadays. Still I know for a fact it will be nice now and then. And I know tens of millions of people will love it so it’s nice it finally came. Been available in the Mac world for 12+ years now, but hey, who’s counting?
Checking its use out though, I think just HOW smoothly it will depend upon your mouse settings. Mine is set to jump three lines per haptic feedback signal (click of the rolling wheel) from my mouse’s rolling wheel. And smooth scrolling for me bumps along at that level of granularity, not a truly smooth, infinitely tiny jump analogous to teensy pixels in a large picture. NICE though. Nice enough, and not critical enough, I shall leave the mouse alone so that web pages wheel-scroll nicely for me still. I wager though, that if I cut down on how much scrolling my mouse did for wheel thunk, I’d find the scrolling to be much, much smoother. Something I’d’ve seriously valued in earlier days (decades). Nice.
Great to hear your thoughts on the new features, Roy!
I get why all the MVPs rush to YouTube and other platforms to demonstrate Microsofts new features BUT it infuriates me that when I trawl the Net for a solution to a problem that I am inundated with suggestions to use features that are only on the insider channel. Most notably, the Lambda function.
10 months since release and still not on the regular channels.
I hear you, Alan. Some features take longer to become generally available than others. Typically those that have a bigger impact on other functionality and those that are complex, like LAMBDA.
In addition to what Ms. Treacy said, consider a couple other things.
One is that at least this (hugely aggravating) way, you can hit the ground limping or walking instead of flat out starting from zero. They will have discovered and at least ground down the edges of some good ways to use features immediately.
Another is that while it is in distribution, though limited, MS apparently (once in a while) pays attention to their designated experts (“MVP” program folks) and modifies the new features before full roll-out. A great example is XLOOKUP(). Much nicer after refinement and it would not have happened without the slow roll-out to MVP’s and folks who at least knew they could have the rug pulled out from under them with changes.
Imagine if XLOOKUP() had been rolled out to a billion customers immediately. The sheer amount of usage over 3,4,5… months would have made refinements and changes hideously vicious to a very large batch of folks. So… they would not have happened and we’d be looking at a pretty unsatisfactory XLOOKUP(). Consider how such a thing, if it had been possible (since I figure VLOOKUP() was very, very early on if not in the original program), could have made life more of a dream if they’d learned that using TRUE as VLOOKUP()’s 4th parameter’s default was a monstrous thing. Or if they’d started building in a parameter for a failed lookup from the very first lookup formula? Or indeed, into probably half the functions over the years?
As for me, I write functions for the company to use that are about 90% of what LAMBDA() will finally do nicely, though it doesn’t solve all the difficulties, either directly based upon nothing, so to speak, or actual functions by adding parameters to them (understanding they will fail as directly such, but…). No VBA, just cell-side (“grid”) functions used almost like real functions. But I’d be hosed for some of them if a new parameter got added out of the blue. Have to hunt them down for replacement… the nightmare that would definitely keep on giving (taking!). So I applaud the practice of at least trying to do it in a way that allows for refinements before I ever see them.
That said… Just downloaded 2109 and STILL no LAMBDA()! Booooo!
Also, although I am POSITIVE I don’t want it much, it does not have the Navigation Pane either. Hate all of Office’s Pains. Geez, try to do a simple Find in Word lately? Gotta new Task Pain for that, they do. Yay. But I still wanted to check it out as even the least used feature sometimes is handy. Not here yet… (sigh…)