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Excel's Power Maps take bar graphs to some new and mildly interesting places


There are only so many ways one can juice up boring Excel data, but Microsoft's new Power Map Preview for Office 365 looks like it's up to the challenge. The 3D map visualizer has just graduated from "project" status with a handful of features sure to please number crunchers and map lovers alike. Power Map can automatically recognize geographical data in your spreadsheets -- from latitude and longitude coordinates to city or country names -- and plot associated values to points on a Bing map. You can also color code locales to see regional trends, switch between globe and flat map views and create "interactive" video tours for traversing your 3D spreadsheets. Those determined to turn raw numbers into eye candy will find the add-in on Microsoft's Download Center, and for an idea of what it can do, a sample video tour Redmond made earlier is located after the jump.

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