Insights in Excel – Get automated, fast, accurate analysis of your data

by | Mar 5, 2018

Insights in Excel – Game Changer for Data Analysis

What if I told you in Excel 2016 for Office 365, you can click on one cell and with two more clicks, have data analysis you would never dream of having? It’s here! Microsoft has updated Excel 2016 for Office 365 with Insights for Excel. Insight is discussed in the December 13, 2017, blog post from Microsoft. I’ve been waiting to get this since then and I received the update on Saturday, March 3, 2018. I spent two days testing Insights. It is incredible!

Chris Menard - Insights for Excel - PivotChart with outliers

Insights for Excel created this PivotChart with outliers automatically.

Insights relies on machine learning to help seek out patterns. In my test, it identified outliers, and quickly gave me other useful visualizations. It even took some of my data and automatically created a PivotTable and PivotChart. I simply clicked on Insights.

Steps to see Insights in Excel:

  1. Simply click a cell in a data range
  2. Click the Insights button on the Insert tab.
  3. Insight Services will analyze your data and return interesting visuals about it in a task pane on the right-hand side of your screen.

Menard tip: Make your data range a table first using CTRL + T. My free course on Ten reasons to use Tables in Excel.

Video On using Insights in Excel

The video above shows three test in Excel and one error message during the testing. PDF transcript of Insights video.

Free Course - Ten Reasons to use Tables in Excel

Are you still using ranges in Excel? It is time to turn your range of cells into a table. 

Start learning Excel the right way with Chris Menard

Photo Gallery of Screenshots

Below are 5 screenshots. The 1st image shows what Version and Build of Excel 2016 I have. I’m using Version 1803 (Build 9127.2004) on an Office 365 subscription. If you have a stand-alone (perpetual) version of Office 2016, you will unfortunately not have Insights and there are no plans for perpetual users to have Insights with Office 2016 as a stand-alone. I’m not sure if Office 2019, purchased with a perpetual license, will have Insights. Office 2019 is coming out H2 of this year.

To use Insights you need the following:

  1. Internet Connection.
  2. Enough Data for Insights to Work. If you click Insights, you may get this message “We couldn’t find any significant patterns in your data to show as an Insight. Try using a larger dataset with more variation in it.” See the photo gallery above. From my three test, this is due to not enough columns. I had plenty of records. In fact, in the Video below you can see I had 576 records. I had to add some column data.
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chris menard
Microsoft Office Master Instructor
I train corporate clients in Microsoft Office Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and Outlook. When I'm not training, I blog about technology and create training videos on YouTube. I currently have over 240 technology videos available. Most of the videos I've created come from questions asked during MS Office training.

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