Microsoft Releases Excel 2016 for Windows

Today Microsoft officially releases Office 2016 for Windows. We’ve been able to preview it for some time, of course, and the Mac version has been out for a few weeks. But now it’s been let loose.

I have not personally devoted a lot of time with the Excel 2016 for Windows preview. It looks to me a lot like Excel 2013, and what I did confirmed that it behaved very much like Excel 2013, both in Excel itself and in VBA. I spent more time with Excel 2016 for Mac, which also looks a lot like Excel 2013 for Windows, but the back end (VBA) has a lot of differences and a lot of shortcomings which Microsoft is hustling to address. I’ve had to figure out lots of workarounds to make my programs work the way I want them to, and in fact, some of my programs don’t really work yet.

For Excel 2016, Microsoft has introduced several new chart types, described in Introducing new and modern chart types now available in Office 2016 Preview. Several of them are also included in Peltier Tech Charts for Excel, including waterfalls, histograms, Paretos, and box plots. Should I be worried that I’ll lose business to Microsoft? Well, maybe not too worried. I will keep these charts in my product, because people may prefer my chart styles and defaults, and they may have written their own VBA to use my add-in to create charts. And of course, Peltier Tech Charts for Excel has lots more than these few charts.

I did “get to” foray into Office 365, because that was the only way to get either the Mac or Windows preview of Office 2016. That was a little frustrating, because I felt like I no longer had control over my account (seems I have half a dozen accounts with Microsoft, and I never guessed the right credentials whenever I had to log in), and updates could be an adventure. Recently, though, things seem to work more smoothly.

Here are a handful of links to articles on Microsoft’s Office Blog that talk about Office 2106, including topics related to business analytics and some new charts introduced in Excel 2016.

Here are a few articles from users outside of Microsoft

Microsoft is implementing a new development cycle. They’re going to move away from the 3- to 4-year new version cycle, and roll out more substantial updates monthly or so. This will help eliminate bugs and add features more rapidly. It also means they will make Office on all platforms increasingly compatible.

Microsoft has added a new communication feature. If you have a great idea for a new feature, you can suggest it at the Excel Idea Box at Other users can review, comment on, and vote on your ideas. I’ve posted Give us a proper NULL() worksheet function; please go and vote for it. I’ve also supported Bring VBA into the modern worldLink the min and max values of a chart axis to cell valueMake it easier to find external links, and Improve the Concatenate Function, among others, and they could also use your votes.


Peltier Tech Charts for Excel


  1. I voted!
    Thanks for your report

  2. The current msging for Office devs is confusing. Does MS see VBA as an albatross?
    Any enthusiasm for VSTO anymore?
    Sidebar web “Apps” never went anywhere…did anyone even want that?
    Is the new direction javascript, an API to O365 (email, contacts, calendar and files.)
    Where is the roadmap for the Excel dev now? I need to know where to focus learning and designs for new solutions.
    Someone give me a pep talk. Tell me “it gets better.”

  3. Dory –

    It’s confusing, isn’t it?

    For desktop Excel, Microsoft understands how important it is to keep supporting VBA. Unfortunately, they never got around to making VBA work on platforms other than Windows and Mac.

    For other platforms (and for desktop), Microsoft is now putting a lot of resources behind Javascript APIs. The team working on this finally understands the importance of automation of any worksheet/workbook activities, and the emphasis of these Javascript APIs has changed from the cute little iframe-like toys (a weather map??? that’s what my web browser is for) inserted into worksheets which were all the rage except among Excel users, to actual modification of Excel objects the way VBA has done for a generation.

  4. I voted for all five of the uservoice suggestions that you linked. I also voted for “Allow the PivotTable to Not Aggregate Data” suggestion:
    and posted my own related suggestion “Scatter Charts with Group-By from third data series”:

  5. I thought I knew something about VBA but I can’t parse and make sense of your description of the NULL function you desire.
    Confusion begins with what you mean by “parent”. If a cell contains a formula does the NULL function evaluate the result of the formula (it’s output) or is it evaluating the presence of the formula in the cell?

  6. Nothing to do with VBA. I want something I can use in a worksheet formula so the formula is treated in most cases as a blank cell.

    For example, I can make a formula return #N/A if a condition is not true:


    I want to be able to force a cell to be evaluated as a blank cell, not as a cell that contains a formula that returns something other than blank. And as you should know by now, “” is not blank, it’s a piece of text, so the cell is not considered blank.

    I want something like this:


  7. No new posts since september 22? are you alright?

  8. Bernat –

    Thanks for your concern. I’m fine, just very busy supporting the new utility, rebuilding some computers, and traveling a bit. I do have several half-finished posts waiting for a little free time.


  1. […] Excel MVP and charting master, Jon Peltier, shares insights and more links to give you ideas about the newest in Excel 2016. […]

  2. […] Office 2016 for Mac and Microsoft Office 2016 for Windows have been released over the past couple of […]

  3. […] you don’t read anything else, then read Jon Peltier’s blog post on the subject. He’s included super relevant […]

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