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Key Takeaways

  • Microsoft has released a Python Editor for Excel, allowing users to leverage the power of Python alongside Excel formulas.
  • The Python Editor, developed by Excel Labs, offers features like syntax highlighting, IntelliSense, automatic code completion, and debugging capabilities.
  • The Python Editor is currently available as an add-in through the Add-ins Store, and may eventually become a built-in feature.

Less than a month ago, Microsoft finally announced support for Python in Excel, allowing customers to use the powerful programming language in tandem with conventional Excel formulas to analyze and manipulate data. The move was greeted with a lot of enthusiasm and to capitalize on this excitement, Microsoft has released a Python editor for its Office application.

The aptly named Python Editor comes from Excel Labs, which is a Microsoft Garage initiative consisting of a handful of members from the Excel team. For those unaware, Microsoft Garage is a program under which employees from across the company are encouraged to build new and experimental software that can eventually become full-fledged dedicated products or be integrated into existing solutions.

Python Editor in Excel offers a coding experience that is very similar to an integrated development environment (IDE), like Visual Studio Code, in nature. In fact, it shares several components with the aforementioned IDE along with features like syntax highlighting, IntelliSense, automatic code completion, and proper formatting.

Another advantage of Python Editor includes the ability to debug your code by showing you the result for each execution step in order. It's also tailor-made for longer scripts in terms of user experience and offers an environment that is optimized for the more traditional type of programming practices. This extends to the point where you can make changes to your Python code in various iterations and not have them apply to the data unless you commit it. This reduces the chances of your data being messed up while coding.

As it stands, Python Editor is available as an Excel Labs add-in through the Add-ins Store. Anyone can access it as long as they have Python in Excel enabled in their app. The utility is not built into Microsoft Excel by default yet but there's likely a chance that this could happen provided that it gains enough traction and popularity among the community.