Historically, when it was time for Microsoft to release the next version of Excel, everyone would be buzzing, excited, and talking about the new features, functions, and improvements. I know that my heart would pitter-patter as the new version was installing on my system. But, things are different now. In fact, in a way, the Excel 2019 release is almost anti-climatic and the real buzz is about the ongoing enhancements made to Excel via the O365 subscription.
So, in this post, I’d like to quickly review software licenses, talk about Excel 2019, and then provide a few resources including a free ebook by Bill Jelen (Mr Excel).
Quickly, there are two ways we can purchase Excel (Office) these days. One way is with an ongoing fee (subscription), and the other way is with a one-time purchase (perpetual). The subscription is called Office 365 (O365) and the current perpetual license is for Excel (Office) 2019.
The perpetual license includes the desktop applications we are used to running, for example, Excel for Windows. The O365 license provides these same desktop applications with additional online services.
The applications delivered via the perpetual license do not receive new features and enhancements. But, the desktop applications delivered via O365 are updated periodically with enhancements, features, and functions.
Excel 2019 is provided via a one-time perpetual license and basically includes enhancements previously provided to O365 subscribers. Basically, Excel is frequently updated for O365 subscribers. At some point, Microsoft created a snapshot that included past updates. Microsoft calls it Excel 2019 and sells it via a perpetual license.
What this means is that there really isn’t anything new if you are an O365 subscriber because you already have the updates.
At the end of the day, Microsoft makes the cumulative updates available in Excel 2019 for those not on the subscription.
More information is available below on the difference between Office 365 and Office 2019.
Should I upgrade? That depends. If you are currently an O365 subscriber, you are all set because the periodic updates ensure you have the current version of Excel.
If you are on a perpetual license, rather than upgrade to Excel 2019 consider upgrading to O365 … that way you’ll receive periodic updates.
For me personally, I prefer the O365 subscription because of the frequent updates made to my favorite program. These updates provide cool new things all the time, including new functions and enhancements to Power Query and Power Pivot.
If you are on Excel 2016 and would like to know what’s new for Excel 2019, see the reference below.
O365 subscribers receive updates and enhancements periodically, but, there is one update in particular that I’m most excited about: dynamic arrays. (Thanks to my buddy Jon at Excel Campus for the heads-up!)
Here is the big picture.
Generally, we write an Excel formula and we expect it to return a single value to the cell. There are exceptions, but, in general, we think about formulas as returning a single value. That is how we have been working with Excel for decades. There are several new functions that will return many values (an array of values) instead of a single value, including SORT, FILTER, and UNIQUE.
But, how can multiple values fit into a single cell? In short, they don’t … they “spill” out of the formula cell. The returned values are displayed in adjacent cells. Each time the Excel engine recalculates, the spill range will adjust to accommodate the number of new values. That is, the spill range is dynamic. That is the essence of dynamic arrays.
And … the best part is that we can reference the spill range in other places within Excel, including other formulas. There are going to be all sorts of ways dynamic arrays can be applied in our workbooks.
Here are some additional resources in case you’d like to learn more:
Plus, Mr. Excel Bill Jelen is offering an ebook that digs into the details called Excel Dynamic Arrays Straight to the Point.
It is free for a short time, so, you’ll want to grab a copy now:
I just devoured Bill’s new book, and it is absolutely incredible. He talks about the new functions and how to use them in combination. Plus, he demonstrates several applications which are super-helpful. Thanks Bill!!!!
If you have any other information about dynamic arrays or O365 enhancements, please share by posting a comment below.
At the time of this post, more information is available from the Microsoft website at the links below.
What’s the difference between Office 365 and Office 2019
What’s new is Excel 2019 for Windows