Microsoft Office Labs
Only a few months ago Microsoft launched a new business unit with the aim of boosting innovation in the company, and already it's paying off.
The unit, dubbed Microsoft Office Labs, is headed by Chris Pratley, a company veteran who has worked in the Office group for 12 years on products including Excel, Word and Publisher.
Office Labs was created to counter public perceptions that Microsoft had run out of good ideas and to serve as a proving ground for hare-brained and high-risk projects that product teams could not afford to commit to, Mr Pratley said.
Here's the site, where you can see some current hare-brained ideas: Microsoft Office Labs. They also have a blog and discussion groups.
Right now, there are two projects related to Excel:
- Chart Advisor
Want to create charts quickly in Excel? Let Chart Advisor generate graphs appropriate for your data so that you can pick one you like. It's fun!
- Search Commands
Search for commands in your own words and get the button to do it, instantly. Works with Microsoft Office 2007 - Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
Tim Mayes has tried Chart Advisor, and your can read about it his blog. Tim notes that they omitted a rather important detail:
The charts that are created are not linked to the data in the worksheet. You can get around this problem by re-linking the data after you insert the chart. Just right-click the chart and choose Select Data, and then edit the data ranges for each series.
I installed Search Commands a few weeks ago just to see how it worked. I uninstalled it after about 20 minutes, but I kept noticing an add-in in my list called scoutcommands.xlam. Apparently, uninstalling Search Commands doesn't really get rid of that add-in.
Spreadsheet Page Blog
Welcome to the Spreadsheet Page Blog. This is where you find the latest news on my books, add-ins, and other Excel-related topics. Comments are welcome.