Excel for Mac: The Latest Features

A new release of Excel for Mac came out in January of 2018, and with it, some very useful features were added to its existing capabilities. While some spreadsheet power users tend to shy away from the Excel version for the Mac operating system out of fear they won’t be able to do all they are used to, those who have taken the plunge have found it to be every bit as powerful and functional as they need. And with these latest features, it has only gotten better.


The latest release of Excel for Mac fully supports the ability for multiple people to work on a document at the same time, also known as Co-authoring. You will no longer have to struggle with a “this file is locked message” when someone else is using a file. You also won’t be forced to work with a read-only copy.

Now when someone else is working on the same workbook, the Sharing corner will show you who that person is. By clicking on their initials, you can see their name and where they are currently editing. This also makes it easy for you to chat with them from inside Excel.

New Chart Types

Excel for Mac has also added some new chart types to support even more powerful data visualization. The Waterfall Chart is one of the newly added types. It is ideal for visualizing data such as revenue coming in, costs going out, and the difference between them.

Charts that focus on hierarchies of data are also supported, such as Treemaps and Sunburst Charts. Treemaps allow you to quickly see a hierarchical representation of data using rectangles and allows you to visually compare data for different categories based on the relative size of their rectangles.

Sunburst charts, on the other hand, look a little like the classic donut chart but use different levels of rings to allow you to drill down into subcategories. The Sunburst chart shows how different pieces contribute to the whole at various levels of abstraction.

Histogram charts have been added to the new release, also. Now you no longer have to adapt a column chart in order to visualize your histogram data.

Another impressive addition to the charting capabilities available in Excel for Mac is 2D Map Charts. This allows you to visualize geographically related data overlaid on a map of the region in question, whether it’s world-based, continent-based, or country-based. Excel works with data from the Bing map engine to create stunning mapped charts.

Microsoft Excel for Mac

Expanded PivotChart Functionality

Excel for Mac has also updated the functionality of PivotCharts: a PivotChart will immediately adapt to changes in the PivotTable upon which it is based. This makes PivotCharts much easier to use and far more interactive. If your document has a data component, you can use the Timeline feature to adjust what data is plotted in the PivotChart. Timelines can easily be inserted via the Insert menu.

Multi-threaded Calculations

Multi-threaded, simultaneous calculations of spreadsheet formulas is now supported in the latest Excel for Mac release. In the past, each formula was processed one after another. Now, with multi-threading, multiple formulas can be processed at the same time. This means that worksheets filled with long, complex calculations will take just a fraction of the time they did in the past. And perhaps the best part is that you don’t have to do anything special – no settings to change, no options to set – for multi-threading to be implemented.

Slicers for Tables

Another useful feature that Excel for Mac now supports is Slicers for tables. Slicers allow users to easily filter out unwanted information so they can immediately focus on what is important to them. What makes Slicers useful is the easy-to-use button interface and the fact that they don’t just work on PivotTables.

Sending Feedback to Microsoft

You can send feedback to Microsoft via the Smiley Face button that appears on the upper right-hand side of the screen. This allows you to either tell Microsoft what you liked about Excel for Mac, or tell them what kinds of things they could do better. The latter not only means you can more easily request new features, but you can send information about specific problems you have encountered. If you’d like to get a response, you can include an email address – but just remember that they don’t have time to respond personally to all the feedback that they receive.


Excel for Mac is constantly evolving to be more like Excel for Windows, and these updated and added features demonstrate Microsoft’s commitment to making that happen. With multi-threading capabilities, coauthoring, new and better charts, and slicers, Excel for Mac users can do even more. And don’t forget to provide your own feedback to Microsoft. This feedback helps the company design more user-friendly apps for its users.

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