Empowering investors with real-time data and insights in Excel

Microsoft, Nasdaq, and Refinitiv empower everyday investors with real-time data and insights in Excel

Financial investments are among the more important things to track in everyday life and millions of people choose Excel to manage their budgets and track their assets. To make this seamless, last year we introduced Stocks, a Data Type in Excel powered by artificial intelligence (AI), which turns a stock ticker into an interactive entity with layers of rich information like price, change, currency and much more.

We’re excited to announce we’re working with Nasdaq and Refinitiv to pull current financial information for the full range of U.S. exchange-listed equities, including stocks on the Nasdaq Stock Market, the world’s largest exchange company, and from Refinitiv, one of the world’s largest providers of financial markets data and infrastructure, right into Excel Stocks Data Type.

The stock Data Type turns Excel into a more robust tool for tracking personal investments, enabling you to track the latest stock prices, trading volume, and other financial information without leaving Excel to search outside sources. Now with trusted, real-time data from Nasdaq and Refinitiv, this becomes even better. Stocks in Excel now expands financial data to include bitcoin, bonds, international currencies, extended-hours pricing information and information about the company, like industry and company description, in addition to other previously available data like mutual funds and stock indexes, such as the Nasdaq Composite, Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and  more.

“Expanding the reach of real-time market data is essential to making markets more accessible,” said Oliver Albers, Senior Vice President and Head of Strategic Partnerships for Nasdaq’s Global Information Services. “Our collaboration with Microsoft is a significant step towards bringing important market information to individual investors. Microsoft’s focus on empowering individuals aligns perfectly with our mission to make financial markets more inclusive.”

“Anyone with an interest in financial information needs quick, reliable data to navigate today’s complex and fast-moving global markets,” said Brennan Carley, Global Head of Enterprise at Refinitiv. “Refinitiv has many years’ of experience in delivering data to financial professionals within Microsoft Excel and we are now delighted to give everyday investors access to these capabilities via our partnership with Microsoft.”

To understand more deeply how Stocks in Excel works, let’s look at the Microsoft stock. When you type in MSFT and click Stocks, Excel recognizes it as a stock and gives you an option to convert it into a rich entity linked with many properties of related information, including real-time attributes such as Price, Change, Last trade time, 52-week high/low, and other pricing information. You can choose to capture these attributes in different cells or use a preview of available categories. Imagine adding a list of ticker symbols from your stock portfolio in one column and having Excel provide the price and your daily gains or losses, refreshed with the click of a button.

By bringing together the power ofMicrosoft-backed data services with highly trusted sources of market information like Nasdaq and Refinitiv, we’re helping everyday investors like you access the same data as the market sees, enabling better financial literacy. And this is just the beginning: soon, you’ll be able to see historical data and automatically update the prices every few minutes.

We’re excited to continue our journey to continually improve Excel to help you get the most out of your data. Start tracking your personal investments using Excel for Office 365 today and this template to help you track your investments.


Resource Credit | Microsoft 365 

Take your analog data digital

Insert Data from picture

Take your analog data digital for a faster, more efficient way to work

We live in an increasingly digital world. We’re used to having almost all the data we need at our fingertips with the click of a button or a tap of the screen. But frequently information still gets relayed to us in ways that aren’t digital-such as paper receipts, handouts art conferences, or notes from a whiteboard at a meeting. That’s why, at Microsoft, we’ve been developing ways for you to easily move your analog data into a digital format to help you be more productive.

Quickly capture paper-based data to unlock new insights

To help you bring analog data into Excel, we developed the Insert Data from Pictures feature. With this feature, you can easily grab any data in a table format-financial spreadsheets, work schedules, task lists, timetable and so on-and convert it to a digital format in Excel, so you can arrange and analyze that information quickly and in context to make better decisions on the fly.

The Insert Data from pictures feature works by combining advanced optical character recognition (OCR) technology, layout understanding techniques, and machine learning models to transform paper-based information into digital data. We’ve used these and other technologies across Office apps, including the PDF Reflow feature for Word and Office Lens and in the Seeing AI app.

Convert handwritten notes to digital text with ease

Let’s look at how we’re helping users go from analog to digital. Before, you had to copy whiteboard notes by hand at the end of the meetings. Later, you could take photos of whiteboards with your phone. Either way, you still had to type in the notes later. Now, with ink grab you an take a picture of the notes scribbled on a physical whiteboard, convert into tools like OneNote, so you can convert notes to text quickly to share in messages, documents, or presentations.

We’re also exploring more advanced ways to help you convert analog data to digital information that you can use across your Office apps. For example, we envision that you’ll be able to take a picture of handwritten notes on paper and import the text directly. Other areas we’re exploring include scanning a picture PDF annotation and signing.

Analyzing the physical world

In addition to importing data from a physical piece of paper, there are many other ways we see customers leveraging Excel to help them analyze data from the real world. For example, with the Hacking STEM program, teachers use Excel to help students explore and analyze real-world phenomena. Leveraging the Excel Data Streamer add-in, students can easily move data from the physical world in and out Excel-introducing them to data science and the internet of things (IoT)-for example, using pressure sensors to measure brain impact during a concussion.

More on how the features work-available on iOS and Android

Insert Data from pictures brings printed, tabular data directly into Excel, where you can perform various kinds of analysis that are time-consuming or even impossible with pen and paper.

Going from analog to digital

Simply open the Excel app on your phone, snap a picture of your paper-based data table, crop and review the image, and you’re done-no technical skills required. The data table is automatically embedded and ready for analysis in Excel.

“If only I had this before, I’d have saved so much time avoiding manual data entry” is one very popular reaction of Excels so far. Going from analog to digital gives you time for more important tasks and is more secure. In addition, once a printed copy is converted, digital records are easier to organize and search-eliminating paper waste and reducing physical storage space.

Here are a few examples of how users can benefit from Insert Data from picture:

  • Consolidate dozens, hundreds or even thousands of rows of paper-based data in a flash-all without a single pencil mark.
  • Create illustrative charts and graphs to summarize information that was extremely difficult to communicate before.
  • Use ideas in Excel to surface new trends and dependencies you might have missed when your data only existed on paper.
  • Easily archive data documents for future reference and compliance purposes.

Inside Excel: the technology behind the feature

To enable seamless data extraction from an image, Insert Data from pictures reuses many of the same OCR and layout technologies previously released for Word.

First, the image is analyzed to detect the main building blocks of the document, like text and graphical elements (eg. table borders). For this, we further enhanced our Microsoft built OCR engine to handle images with scattered text, which is often the case in tabular data and leveraged image processing techniques to detect graphical elements.

Once the image is decomposed into main building blocks, Insert Dara from picture starts inferring the layout of the table. The most important part is detecting the grid of the table, which is done by generating grid candidates from horizontal and vertical lines (for bordered tables) and empty spaces between text (for borderless tables). After all the candidates are generated, the feature uses a combination of various heuristics and machine learning models to filter false positives and produce the final grid that will be reconstructed in the output. Producing that final grid relies on the analysis of each cell to build out other structures like paragraphs, font properties, and lists.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) for more accurate results

For those who have used CR-based features before, you know it doesn’t always get everything right. Insert Data from picture takes special care to highlight potential errors, so you can focus on individual entries rather than the whole thing. The good news is that this is an AI-powered feature designed for continuous improvement, meaning that the data accuracy will increase over time. To achieve this, we leveraged the collection of machine learning models where each model detects a specific case of misinterpreted content (e.g. missed or added characters).


Resource Credit | Microsoft 365

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