Technology

LAMBDA, the Excel tool to create custom functions

Microsoft recently rolled out major updates to Excel, such as support for custom data types. Today it offers another interesting novelty on the Beta channel. Microsoft announced LAMBDA, a new feature in Excel that allows users to create custom functions based on Excel formulas.

Excel becomes more flexible thanks to LAMBDA

Until now, it was possible to create custom functions in Excel, but only using other languages ​​like JavaScript. LAMBDA allows you to create functions using the Excel formula language, and then they can be saved with custom names, making them reusable. Additionally, functions support recursion, which means that a function can call itself within its definition. This was only possible in Excel using scripts, such as VBA or JavaScript.

According to Microsoft, this approach has several advantages. On the one hand, using a registered custom function means that if you find an error in the formula, you can correct the function and it will correct the result of every cell where the function is used. It may also be easier to read for those who haven’t created the formulas, as the functions can be identified by names, making them easier to understand.

Recursion is also useful because it allows formulas to update automatically when needed. A function can call itself if a data change is detected, updating the result of the function based on those changes. For example, Microsoft uses the following GIF to show how recursion keeps the resulting cells up to date to provide the desired result.

Of course, these formulas support more than text and numbers, and can be used with data types like locations, and they also support dynamic arrays.

This feature is only available in the Office Insider beta channel at this time, and it’s unclear when it will roll out to more users.

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