Introducing the new Navigation Pane for Excel
Today Microsoft unveiled the New Navigation Pane feature in Excel. The Navigation Pane, which is currently only available in the Beta version of Excel, is designed to help users quickly understand how a workbook is structured and navigate easily between the worksheets and objects in the model.
Whilst the Navigation Pane may not sound as groundbreaking as dynamic arrays or the recent Lambda development, I think it’s going to make a real difference to a huge number of Excel users.
At Full Stack we are excited to see how this new feature will help financial modellers better communicate the structure and flow of their models.
So, what is the Navigation Pane in Excel?
The Navigation Pane development is part of Microsoft Excel’s new inclusivity features which are aiming to make Excel more accessible for everyone.
The Navigation Pane is launched from the view tab on the ribbon (Alt > W > K shortcut) (in Beta version only at time of writing) and lists all of the worksheets in the current workbook in a table of contents style. Expanding a worksheet name lists all of the objects, such as tables, named ranges, images, shapes, charts and pivot tables in that worksheet.
How can we use the Navigation Pane in Financial Modelling?
In Financial Modelling transparency and ease of use are absolutely vital. I’m sure you’ve experienced the pain of picking up a model from a colleague and felt your heart drop as you try to unpick the logic and flow. Trawling through the tabs and rows of numbers trying to work out how it hangs together.
A good financial model must be well designed and structured, always with the end user experience in mind. Separation of Inputs, workings and outputs on clearly named worksheets with tab colouring to clearly communicate purpose is a key element of this.
I think the Navigation Pane will really improve model transparency with an automatically generated table of contents that also lists out the key objects within the model. I can’t wait for it to come to the main version of Excel so we can start putting it into action.
Want to find out more? Check out these Microsoft articles: