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New Tech Features

Excel, Teams, Power BI, PowerPoint, Zoom, G Sheets, Meets: New tech features for Sep-Dec 2022

Author: David Benaim

Published: 12 Dec 2022

Our digest of new features across Microsoft 365 & other business tech products in written, images & video format covering the last three months.

My top 5

  1. Convert picture to data in Excel
  2. Show changes in Excel to see who edited which cell and what was there before
  3. Custom named functions in Google Sheets, similar to LAMBDA in Excel but simpler
  4. Bookings for me where people can pick from your available times to book a meeting
  5. Searchable and editable transcripts for Teams meetings

Core Office Apps

New features are only available to the subscription Microsoft 365 version. Within that there are a few release cadences with the Current Channel and Semi-annual Channels being the most common. To see or update your version, click File> Account. The current channel should now be on version 2211, which is the year 2022 and month 11 (November) with 12 (December) coming soon whilst the semi-annual channel received an update in August to version 2202 (all updates until February 2022) with no new features in this quarter. The Insider or Beta features are only available for a small selection of people who sign up to help test features, but they give a good idea of what is coming next.

Excel screenshot

Excel Windows current channel

It has been a busy quarter for Excel which now publishes a digest every month, September, October and November.

1. Search on right click: Right click any item and search for a command.

2. Navigation Pane: Access this new searchable Table of Contents from the View tab. Navigate to worksheets as well as ranges, tables, PivotTables and objects.

Excel screenshot
3. Convert a picture of a table into an Excel table: Take a partial screenshot with the shortcut Windows Shift S (Recommended but not essential) then in Excel, click Data tab > From Picture > Picture from clipboard, then check and correct items (either go through the spell check like feature or click any cell to edit) and insert it into your worksheet.
Excel screenshot
This video shows tips on how to optimise and check for errors:
4. See who edited which cells, when and how it looked before: Right click a cell (or range or worksheet) and choose “Show changes” to get a list of all the changes made. Filter to a range, worksheet or entire workbook. Changes are not currently showing for certain things. More information is here.
Excel screenshot
This video shows the feature and some useful scenarios:
5. Office scripts on the Automate tab: A new coding language that aims to eventually succeed VBA. This uses the TypeScript language which is a superset of JavaScript on the new Automate tab.
Office script screenshot
Write a New Script or use an existing pre-made sample, then you will see a sidebar, 3 screenshots of what that may look like are below.
Excel screenshot

6. Automate a task from Excel: Click Automate > Automate a task, then click the sidebar to go to Power Automate online. You may set up tasks such as create a spreadsheet of all attached file names from emails or get notifications when a spreadsheet is edited.

Excel for the web only features

7. Search on queries pane: Despite queries not being editable the queries pane has a search bar.

Excel screenshot
8. Check performance: Files can get bloated and slow due to accidental formatting on cells with no data in them. This great feature is worth opening a file via Excel Online. Click Review > Check Performance  and it will then show which shells are causing issues sheet by sheet. Click “Optimize all” to fix all unhidden worksheets.
Excel screenshot
The video below shows you this and other ways to reduce the file size.

Word Current channel

9. Share for track changes only: Force share recipients to use Track changes by clicking “can review” when sharing.

Excel screenshot
10. Plagiarism checker: Click Home > Editor, scroll down to “Similarity checker”. This scours the internet for similar text to what is in your document. Once it finds similar sources, click “Similarities reviewed”. Delete it, insert an inline citation or copy citation (to reuse in a footnote or hyperlink).
Microsoft word gif


Note features some are automatic, others need to be turned on by administrators.

11. Zoom mail & calendar: Zoom is expanding into be an Outlook alternative, view emails from Microsoft or Google or other vendors without leaving Zoom.

12. Enhanced in meeting chat: Add formatting, send images, screenshots or quote messages.

13. Enhanced whiteboard: New shapes, follow with presenter and add text formatting.

14. Sign language interpretation: Assign someone to do interpret.

15. Decline meeting invite with message.

16. Schedule recurring meetings from Zoom.

Google Sheets

17. Events and files in Smart Chips: Press @ in a cell then search for items to link.

18. XLOOKUP: Excel’s successor to VLOOKUP is now in Sheets. =XLOOKUP(Cell to look up, range to look in, range to return, [optional if not found]) is the syntax. It can look from right to left, horizontally, handle errors and tackle more issues that VLOOKUP typically has.

19. Named functions: Click Data menu > Named functions and follow the wizard. Add your own name functions without coding it via the LAMBDA function like in Excel. More information is on the video below or on this recent ICAEW blog I wrote.

20. Timeline/Gannt chart: Google Workspace customers can create a Timeline from the Insert menu. At minimum you need a Start Date column formatted as a date, but for maximum effect you should have columns for card title, card detail, start date, end date and duration. Recolour manually or via conditional formatting. Read more here.

Google Workspace

21. Emojis in Google Chat & Docs: Add emojis inline to Docs and add custom ones to Google Chat (previously Hangouts).

22. Split cells in Google Docs table.

23. Control Slides moving in Meets: Move slides and see participants when presenting.

24. Transcribe meetings: Results are in Google Docs.

25. Format text in Forms: Bold, italicise and underline text in questions or add hyperlinks. Descriptions can use that plus have bulleted & numbered lists.

Teams screenshot

Teams meetings

26. Assign seats in together mode: Choose who sits where in a classroom or board room etc.

27. Automatic 7x7 video view: A manual change prior to this update.

28. Searchable & editable meeting transcripts: Now that recordings get viewed on Microsoft Stream on SharePoint, you can edit or search to jump to a point in the recording.

29. Updated Chrome/Edge meeting interface: Many Teams Desktop features are brought to the web.

30. New poll options: From a Teams meeting, click Apps, find 'polls', then from the Polls pane, you can get suggestions, search for recent polls, ask a question verbally, then launch a one click yes/no poll and explore new poll types like rating and ranking polls.

Teams screenshot

Teams chats

1. Scheduled send: Create a chat, comment or post but schedule to send in future.

2. Record video in chat: Click the video button on bottom right to record a video.

3. Start chat with a Distribution Group or Office 365 Group.

4. Choose preferred location for file download.

5. Toggle unread only in notifications.

Teams screenshot

Other apps

6. Internal YouTube: Microsoft Stream on SharePoint is Office 365’s internal YouTube, accessible via the app launcher. Share videos or create with a built-in screen recorder and simple editor. Searchable and editable transcripts are made automatically from your videos. All Teams recordings are now stored here. Admins can control whether you see the SharePoint or classic Stream experience. You can toggle views on the top right (see screenshot below).

Sharepoint screenshot
7. Bookings with me: People can click to choose a suitable appointment in their own time zones from your available times via a link as shown below. To create a Bookings with me page, click Calendar > Add/Edit bookings page (on the left) and set your customisations.
Calendar screenshot
More on this recent ICAEW blog I wrote or the video below.

8. Activity column in OneDrive online: See which doc has unseen changes and comments.

9. Recurring task in Planner: Click “Repeat” and choose what type of recurrence as shown:

OneDrive screenshot

10. Forms – Send directly to Teams channel or Outlook: Click Collect Responses for this choice. If you choose Outlook, you get notified with anyone inside your organisation who hasn’t completed it yet.

11. Forms – Timed quiz: Set a time from settings for a quiz (not available for a form).

12. OneNote – Dictate: Speak to text, as in Outlook and Word now in OneNote’s home tab.

13. OneNote – Insert picture from camera: Click Insert > Pictures > From camera.

14. OneNote – show page list on the left: Click File > Options > Display to choose this.

OneNote screenshot

Power BI

15. Small multiples on different scales: Until now, small multiples only worked well when all charts are within the same order of magnitude. Turn off “Shared Y axis” and turn on “Scale to fit” to get around this issue.

16. Revere stack order for stacked charts: Edit under “Colours” for bar, column, area, ribbon and combo charts.

17. Relationships pane and DAX formulas from the model view. Enable this preview feature first.

18. Get AI to write your DAX for you: Click Home > Quick measures > Suggestions tab, then start typing your question, and DAX will try to build the formula to match it. Some admin settings need to be configured before use.

Teams and Google Sheets saw a fair few updates but the most were for Excel this quarter. February will have updates to Excel’s Semi-annual channel too. 

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