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The best AI tools for Excel
For some of us, Microsoft Excel is one of the most dreaded of work apps — spreadsheets are dry at best, and they’re often complicated, especially for tasks like science, engineering, and accounting. We need any help we can get, and that’s where generative AI can come to the rescue.
The best AI tools for Excel
Superior AI tools find the pain points in Excel and either shrink them or eliminate them completely. A common theme is formulas, which are one of the core reasons to use Microsoft’s software, but aren’t necessarily intuitive for the average person.
Ajelix casts a pretty wide net, promising help with tasks like formulas, templates, translation, and visualizing data. It’ll even generate VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) scripts, optimize your own VBA code, and explain scripts to you if you’re confused about something. Not too surprisingly, it can also explain standard Excel formulas in case your needs aren’t quite that advanced.
Many functions are available for free, but you’ll need to upgrade to a Standard or Business subscription if you want unlimited requests and access to some key features, such as an Excel add-in. Only Business users get things like Google Sheets integration and a one-click report builder.
You’ll have to form your own bridge between Excel and Google Sheets to get this to work, and the overall Arcwise platform is aimed at mid- to large-scale businesses. Once you’re golden, though, Arcwise AI lets you ask plain-language questions about the company data it centralizes, such as “What are the top 10 states by sales?” or “What are the most frequent types of delays for each carrier?” You can publish the answers back to Sheets, or else Looker, Tableau, or PowerBI.
If you’re prepared, you’re allowed to scrutinize the technical details of the AI model you’ve been given. That’s important, because while customized models are free during the Arcwise AI beta, you still have to pay a per-token fee for processing, and that model cost could rocket as high as $50,000 per year once the beta is over. We weren’t kidding about scale.
AI Excel Bot
AI Excel Bot only does two things, ultimately: generate formulas and VBA code or explain it to you. If that’s all you need however, it’s a lot cheaper than tools like Ajelix or Arcwise. There’s additionally a Chrome extension that works with the web version of Excel.
The basic version of Excel Bot is free, but you can only use it 5 times per month, and some features are kept out of bounds. You’ll need to pay for a Pro plan to get full features and unlimited use, the good news being that it’s priced at $2.99 per month or $24.99 per year.
PromptLoop is similar in concept to Arcwise AI but supports Excel directly, and it reaches beyond your company’s own data to crawl websites and generate new research. Web content is the focus in fact, and the tool’s developer claims that it’s four times faster in this regard than technologies like ChatGPT or Google Bard.
Pricing schemes are somewhat unusual. If you like you can try PromptLoop on a pay-as-you-go basis, with daily usage caps. Individual and Enterprise customers meanwhile get unlimited access for a monthly fee, including experimental AI models. The Enterprise tier offers perks like white-glove onboarding and support.