Microsoft Office has been one of the top must-have suites used to write, present or create.
Among all the programs – Word, PowerPoint, Publisher, etc. – Microsoft Excel has an important role in managing databases and using formulas to develop a fully functional sheet with an array of values useful for a person or a business.
Now, Office 2021 brings new improvements, along with what appears to be a change in looks, as a part of the new Windows 11 UI.
This article explores all the up-to-date enhancements Microsoft gave to this powerful tool.
Not only the common excel functions have been improved, but now, excel features allow you to do things that you couldn’t before.
What Is Microsoft Excel 2021
Microsoft Excel 2021 is the latest version of the spreadsheet program integrated into the Office suite.
Thanks to its functionalities, Excel users can calculate, format, and organize information and transform it into a database.
The program manages with formulas. You can make simple calculations such as additions, subtractions, divisions, etc.
You can also call information with one formula or create an excel table with unique values in it.
Thanks to its versatility, you can make data analysis, discover an item’s relative position, stock images, store intermediate calculations, and more.
Excel 2021 New Features
There are tons of functions available in Excel now. But here we are going to explain many new features that have been included in this software.
Keep in mind that some of these functions, like Co-authoring, won’t be available in Excel LTSC.
Work Together On The Same Document (Co-authoring)
The Co-authoring function allows you to work with your co-workers in the same excel workbook. You can see changes in real-time and even communicate with an internal chat while your teammates are working on multiple sheets and identify them at once.
To start using the co-authoring function, you need to:
- Have a Microsoft 365 subscription and have it installed.
- Access Office with your account.
- Use the formats .xlsx, .xlsm, or .xlsb in your Excel Workbooks.
- Go to OneDrive in your browser and upload the workbook you have been using. If you don’t have one, create it.
Note: Sharepoint Online is not supported.
Now that your file is online, you can use the Share option to send invitations to your colleagues so they can join.
Dynamic Array Functions
Dynamic Arrays are formulas that return arrays of different sizes when you use them.
In Excel 2021, you have over six new functions: FILTER, SORT, SORTBY, UNIQUE, SEQUENCE, and RANDARRAY. They will help you get specific values according to your action.
Array formulas are divided into two types:
- Dynamic Array: This type of function returns a value in the form of an array. For example, the Filter function.
- Spilling Array: The spilling array is a function that returns different values and can be placed in multiple cells or a range of cells. For example, the Sequence function.
Now, Dynamic and Arrays work great on tables. This is because you can use structured references to call the data.
They adjust when you add or remove rows from a table. Have in mind that Spilled Arrays don’t work on tables.
XLOOKUP functions allow you to find data in a table or multiple cells. You can use them for different things like:
- Finding the price of a product.
- Getting employees' names using their IDs.
- Getting a City’s name based on the first letter.
XLOOKUP makes an instant search like you were using a search bar and returns the result. It’s a unique function that can find everything you need even if the value is in a different column. In case there isn’t an exact match for your search, the function will return the closest match.
This is possible thanks because of this formula: =XLOOKUP(lookup_value, lookup_array, return_array, [if_not_found], [match_mode], [search_mode])
As you can see, it’s similar to the VLOOKUP function because it does a power query. Let’s explain how this works:
- Lookup Value: This is the value you’re looking for.
- Lookup Array: The value in an array that will look into.
- Return Array: The result will return from a table or range of cells.
- [if_not_found]: Optional value that you can use in case the specified item isn’t found. If nothing is added, then N/A comes as a result.
- [match_mode]: Determine what result you want to get. It can be an exact match, partial match, etc.
- [search_mode]: Determine what search mode the function will use to find items. For example, starting from the first item; reverse search, etc.
The XMATCH Function gives you the location of a specific item within a range of cells. It also returns the position within that same list.
You can use this function, for example, to find text or the location of a name in a long database. The position of an item won’t change if you use the formula to find it; it will just reveal where it is.
Among the new features in Excel 2021, the LET function allows you to give names to the results you have calculated. As such, you can store results, values, names, etc. This formula uses the native formula syntax to save the names.
This means that to use the LET function and save calculation results, you need to determine a pair of names.
With this new function, workers can improve their performance while reading a formula. They can make faster calculations and call the expression as often as possible to avoid copy/pasting.
Customized Sheet Views
Customized sheet view is a default feature that has already been seen in previous versions of Excel. With this, you can create different views in an old or new excel sheet without interrupting others.
This way, you can edit the sheet without worrying about disturbing your coworkers. If you’ve tried to work in a common sheet before, you probably have gone through this issue.
Filter columns, lines, and more. You can even make cell-level edits and save them in your workbook.
The current Excel Workbook has passed through a serious visual improvement. It resembles a lot of programs from Mac – your worksheet has rounded corners and better accessibility when it comes to finding tools.
You can also get a dark mode to rest your eyes.
Improved Accessibility Tools
And now that we are talking about tools, Excel 2021 gives you an Accessibility ribbon where you can find all the tools you need.
To find the ribbon, you only need to go to Review and click on Check Accessibility. This will show you all the tools you have available.
This feature will help you to:
- Find issues that could make data readability difficult.
- Include alt text to easily understand pictures and charts (immersive reader.)
- Modify the view tab, merge or unmerge cells, and structure data in a row.
- Avoid color contrast issues.
Excel 2021 not only does allow you to hide or unhide an array or range of elements, but you can also do it with sheets. The point of hiding data is that no one else can see it.
To do so, you just have to right-click the sheet and click on Hide and it will be automatically hidden. On the contrary, if you want to uncover them, you should do the same but click Unhide instead.
Documents need good images that you can use as a backup. With Excel 2021, Sharepoint Online, and Microsoft 365, you have tons of images, shapes, and more, without copyright that you can use in your documents.
New content is added constantly, so you’ll find icons and figures that you can use to express variables and operations.
New Microsoft Search Box
Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other programs from Office 2021 have a new Search box that you can use to find tons of data, from random numbers to a feedback you need to read.
You'll find the new Microsoft Search box at the top of your Microsoft Office apps on Windows. This powerful tool helps you quickly find what you're looking for, such as text, commands, help, and more.
To access the Search Box, press ALT+Q. Then you can start looking for an answer to your question.
The best thing about it is that if you perform a search based on your criteria and you’re using a Microsoft 365 subscription – which means that Excel supports Co-authoring – you’ll also see what other people have been looking for.
OneDrive Cloud Storage
Additionally to all the previous benefits, there’s the AutoSave feature for most of your Office programs. You can save your work automatically in cloud storage so you can edit it later from wherever you are.
You don’t need any kind of programming feature or insert any advanced command. You only have to save the document as a copy and upload it.
If you create a document from the cloud, it will be stored already in your OneDrive.
Updated Draw and Review Tab
Excel 2021 has a new and better Draw Tab. Here you can find all the ink tools, change colors, line focus, and more. There are other functions such as Point Eraser, Ruler, and Lasso.
You can use each one of them on a separate canvas and have the ability to generate graphics, letters, and everything related to the ink editing experience.
Excel 2021 - Summary
Microsoft Excel 2021 is a great addition to all those who are used to managing big databases and consolidating information with a single formula.
Now, with all the features it can support, there are better ways to work from your home or your office.
Start developing a sheet together with co-workers and reduce the time you spend in a workbook; use the new functions to find an item in an array or to get a reference about where to find it.
If you want to get a copy of this software, you can get the whole Microsoft Office 2021 suite CD Key for a low price and start new working methods to improve collaboration and productivity.