Microsoft has revealed a much-anticipated feature for its spreadsheet software Excel has now entered general availability.
With the latest update, Excel users will be able to access a log of changes that tracks which elements of a spreadsheet have been edited, by whom and when. The data can be filtered by sheet, range or individual cell and extends as far back as 60 days.
Microsoft Excel will also save a copy of the previous cell value after a change is made, making it easy to reverse data entry errors and recover from larger mistakes that would otherwise have required lengthy remediation.
Microsoft Excel update
According to Microsoft, the “Show Changes” feature has been among the most frequently requested for some time, with customers looking for a way to rectify blunders more easily.
A similar function is already available in rival service Google Sheets, so the Excel update will restore parity between the two tools in this respect. In Sheets, right-clicking on a cell and selecting “Edit History” allows users to scroll through previous cell values via simple backwards and forwards arrows.
In a blog post, Microsoft claims the Excel update will encourage greater collaboration by eliminating some of the risk associated with sharing editing permissions with a large number of users.
“Show Changes in Excel revolutionizes the collaboration experience for one main reason: if you pour days and detail into the perfect Excel workbook, you may hesitate before sharing editing permissions with others. And you can’t have collaboration without sharing,” wrote Sanjay Bhat, Senior Program Manager at Microsoft.
“Now, with Show Changes, you have a ‘safety net’ of knowing that any changes done by others are being tracked for the entire workbook down to a single cell.”
The new feature is available immediately via the Excel web client across all popular operating systems, including Windows 10, macOS, iOS and Android. Microsoft has not yet responded to questions from TechRadar Pro surrounding if and when the feature might be integrated into Excel for desktop.