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Natural Language Queries is a feature in Ideas in Excel, powered by Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing that makes data analysis simpler, faster, and more approachable.


Natural Language Queries Now Generally Available

Thank you for providing valuable feedback on how to improve Natural Language Queries! We’re excited to announce that the Natural Language Queries feature introduced at Ignite last November is now generally available in Windows, Mac, and Excel for the web. 


After Ignite, we have added more refreshable PivotTable answers and we have introduced answers supported by formulas. We have also made many quality improvements such as the ability to understand questions in relation to date/time columns (‘by year‘, ‘by month’).


Let’s see it in action

Simply click a cell in a data range, and then click the Ideas button on the Home tab. Ideas will analyze your data and provide high-level summaries, trends, and patterns.


If you are interested in more specific information, enter a question in the query box at the top of the pane, and press Enter. Ideas will provide answers that you can insert into the workbook in the form of charts, tables, PivotTables and formula answers.


For example, if you have sales data with people names, you can ask ‘Who had the highest sales in 2018?’ or ‘What products have sales higher than 20,000?’. You can also specify how you want your answer, for instance, you can ask ‘Show me sales by product as table’ or add ‘sorted by product’ to your question.


If you are interested in exploring your data, or just want to know what is possible, Ideas also provides personalized suggested questions which you can access by clicking on the query box.

GIF showing Natural Language Queries in Ideas in Excel.GIF showing Natural Language Queries in Ideas in Excel.

Following Microsoft’s Responsible AI principles, Ideas strikes through any words from the question that it can’t understand. It also provides a description of the answer so that you can check whether it’s exactly what you were looking for. If it isn’t, please rephrase your question… and send us feedback.


We are always improving, and you can help us get better: please try Natural Language Queries out and send us your feedback through the Help tab.


Availability Notes 

Natural Language Queries in Ideas is available to Microsoft 365 subscribers in English.  If you are an Microsoft 365 subscriber, make sure you have the latest version of Office. To learn more about the different update channels for Office, see: Overview of update channels for Microsoft 365 Apps.


Your Feedback Helps Us Improve Our Product:

Let us know your thoughts on Natural Language Queries! Send us ideas and suggestions via UserVoice.


To learn more,

Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.

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