Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet app from Microsoft that makes compiling, tracking, and analyzing data easy. It is the go-to spreadsheet for small and large businesses worldwide. Having just released the 2019 version of the software, Microsoft is pushing the envelope by offering new functions and features that take Excel to another level. If you’re looking for a spreadsheet app to do your heavy lifting, there really isn’t a better option than Microsoft’s Excel. In this Excel buyer’s guide, we will point out some of the great features and help you decide if Excel is right for you.

If you’re not a spreadsheet enthusiast, you might not get excited about spreadsheet software, features, etc… Even if you are a casual user of Excel, however, knowing some of the details about the software and what it can do might change your mind. While Excel has always been the leading spreadsheet software worldwide, Excel 2019 delivers some performance improvements and features that you will find pretty compelling. If you’re using an older version of Excel, you might want to consider the upgrade to take advantage of some of those new features, which we will highlight for you in this Excel buyer’s guide.

New Features in Excel 2019:

  • New Charts
  • Precision selecting
  • Timeline filters
  • Customizable ribbon

There are a lot of new templates and charts in Excel 2019, so you can now get started on your projects faster than ever, with more choices than ever before. You can insert graphics and other objects into your spreadsheets to bring them to life. There are some important changes as well, including:

  • CONCAT: This new function is like CONCATENATE, but better. It supports range references, in addition to cell references.
  • IFS: With the IFS function, conditions are tested in the order that you specify. If passed, the result is returned. You can also specify an else "catch all" if none of the conditions are met.
  • SWITCH: This function evaluates an expression against a list of values in order, and returns the first matching result. If no results match, the "else" is returned.
  • TEXTJOIN: This function combines text from multiple ranges, and each item is separated by a delimiter that you specify.

Excel 2019 lets you work with Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) Add visual impact to your documents, worksheets, and presentations by inserting Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) that have filters applied to them. You can also add 3D objects into your spreadsheets and rotate them 360 degrees. Create visually powerful spreadsheets with this great new feature.

New functions in Excel 2019

CONCAT

This new function is like CONCATENATE, but better. First of all, it's shorter and easier to type. But it also supports range references, in addition to cell references.

IFS

Tired of typing complicated, nested IF functions? The IFS function is the solution. With this function, conditions are tested in the order that you specify. If passed, the result is returned. You can also specify an else "catch all" if none of the conditions are met.

MAXIFS

This function returns the largest number in a range that meets a single or multiple criteria.

MINIFS

This function is similar to MAXIFS, but it returns the smallest number in a range that meets a single or multiple criteria.

SWITCH

This function evaluates an expression against a list of values in order, and returns the first matching result. If no results match, the "else" is returned. This function combines text from multiple ranges, and each item is separated by a delimiter that you specify.

Excel 2019 Feature Overview

Custom visuals like word clouds, bullet charts, and speedometers (previously only available in Power BI) let you distribute and display your data in new ways. Microsoft Office has full SVG graphics support plus the Excel and 500 built in icons. These are now supported on dashboards and infographics. The Insights feature has been expanded. Click on a table of data and select Insights from the Insert tab. Several charts appear on the right-hand side of the page to give you “insights” into your data.

Create custom functions using JavaScript. It’s always been possible to create user-defined functions using VBA but JavaScript allows for greater interconnection. Excel connects to Flow to create automated workflows that automatically collects data and synchronise data sources. Excel connects to Forms and map & funnel charts too.

One of the biggest new additions to Excel is the implementation of touch and inking capabilities that have been improved upon. With touch screen support you can take full advantage of the new inking features, integrated data model support, Pivot Table filtering with slicers and timelines, recommended charts and pivot tables, full cloud support, and advanced sharing features.

What If I Use an Older Version of Excel?

Older versions of Excel are fine, depending upon how far you go back. Keep in mind, though, that if you are running behind more than a couple of versions, you will be missing out on many of the features that have improved Excel over the years. There are advancement in the program, particularly from 2010, that make a big difference in the way the program functions. Anything before 2013 is going to lack some serious power. If you’re using Excel 2016, you should still be good if you don’t want to take advantage of the new inking features and the expanded graphic capabilities in the latest version.

There are, of course, reasons you might want to use an older version of Excel. In fact, if you don’t have Windows 10, you won’t be able to use Excel 2010. Excel 2016 is a good recommendation in this case. Excel 2016 gives you many of the features you can rely on, minus the new 2019 tools and features. If you’re looking for the best version of Excel and don’t want to upgrade to the Windows 10 operating system, you’re going to get as close to the new experience of Excel as you can without upgrading all the way.

All of the versions of Excel going back to 2010 are going to have the functions and features you need to perform all the tasks you need Excel to perform. If you’re using Excel 2013 or 2016, you won’t even miss the features of Excel 2019. If you are one of those power users that like the latest and greatest, though, Excel 2019 is worth the upgrade. It’s powerful, modern, and full of new tools and features that will change the way you use a spreadsheet. If you’ve got the budget and you are a power user, Excel 2019 is the best choice for your company. Get all the latest features and improvements and work better and faster than ever before.