Excel Office 2016 Developer Preview Features


The inspiration of this article was Mahesh's posted news. In this article I am exploring some of the new Excel features of Office 2016.

Setup Instruction

You can set up the Office Developer Preview from the following link

After installing Office 2016 Developer Preview you will see it as in the following screen.


If you already have an Office version and install the Developer Preview on the same machine then your current Office version might not work. I suggest installing the preview on a different machine where no prior Office version is installed.

Excel Developer Features

I explored a few features of the Excel 2016 Developer Preview as in the following.

  1. Colorful Office theme

    Microsoft has changed the default Office theme to be consistent with the appearnce of modern apps. The default theme is now colorful. In the previous version of Office the default theme was “White”.

    You can now change the theme from File > Account > Office Theme.

  2. Tell Me Box

    After opening Excel 2016 preview, you will first see this new box at the top-right corner of the Ribbon. The Tell Me box is for searching the builtin Office functions within the Ribbon. 

    The Tell Me Box works as an auto-suggest text box. You can type what you are looking for in the Tell Me box.

    For example, if you are looking for a sum function in Excel, you need to just type “sum” in the Tell Me Box as shown in the following screen shot.

  3. Updated Open and Save and Save as user interface

    The Browse button is much more visible and in the Open, Save and Save As tabs. Now it is visible at the top-right. Now backstage, the place from where you can open and save documents, is more intuitive as far as storage locations are concerned.

  4. Excel Power Query Integration 

    Microsoft Power Query for Excel, that was a separate downloadable add-in for Excel 2013 and 2010, is now integrated into Excel. Power Query enhances self-service Business Intelligence (BI) for Excel with an intuitive and consistent experience for discovering, combining and refining data across a wide variety of sources, including relational, structured and semi-structured, OData, Web, Hadoop, Azure Marketplace and more.

    We can aslo query data from other sources from the Web, from a Salesforce object or from a SharePoint List.

    Here, I connect with a salesforce object for an account object as shown in the following screen shot.

  5. Introduce Excel forecasting functions

    A planning tool that helps management in its attempts to cope with the uncertainty of the future and relying mainly on data from the past and present and analysis of trends.

    Now Office 2016 preview introduce forecasting functions. 

    The time series forecasting sheet functions are used to predict future values based on historical data. For example, a monthly timeline with values on the first of every month or yearly timeline. For this type of timeline, it's very useful to aggregate raw detailed data before you apply the forecast that produces more accurate forecast results as well.

    Here are the forecasting functions descriptions.


    Returns the forecasted value for a specific future target date.


    Returns a confidence interval for the forecast value at the specified target date.


    Returns the length of the repetitive pattern Microsoft Excel detects for the specified time series.


    Calculates, or predicts, a future value along a linear trend using existing values.

    There are more features available in Excel Office 2016 preview. I have not had much time to explore the following features.

  6. Support for multi-selection of Slicer items using touch 

  7. Time grouping for model based Pivot Tables

  8. PowerView over an OLAP connection

  9. Data model PivotTable automatic relationship detection

  10. BI features discoverability

  11. Excel data cards

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