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Get real-time stock data in Excel: A Rich Data Types guide

In today's digital age, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the way we handle data. Excel integrates AI into its functionality to help recognize rich data types beyond numbers and text strings, particularly in tracking real-time information such as stock data. Previously, acquiring stock data required manual entry from sources like financial websites or printed materials, which was time-consuming and error prone. Now, real-time stock data can be easily retrieved directly in Excel. This guide will demonstrate how to use the Rich Data Types in Excel to ensure your financial analysis stays up-to-date with the latest market trends.


Overview of Excel Rich Data Types

With added AI capabilities, rich data types in Excel go beyond the traditional text and numbers. They allow you to bring in a wealth of structured data about various entities. For example, when you enter a company's ticker symbol into a cell and convert it to the Stock data type, Excel fetches a variety of related information, such as stock prices, company names, and more.

Note: These data types are only available in Excel for Microsoft 365.

What linked data types are available in Excel?

To know what linked data types are available in Excel, go to the Data tab in Excel, then you can find the linked data types in the Data Types group.

There are 4 data types in the Data Types group, including Stocks, Currencies, Geography and Organization. And each one has its associated data types. To know more, visit this page: List of linked data types in Excel.

In this tutorial, I will illustrate how to use the Stocks data type to get real-time stock data.


Accessing Real-Time Stock Data with Rich Data Types

Suppose you have a list of company’s ticker symbol as shown in the screenshot below and want to get the relevant real-time stock information for each of these ticker symbols. This section will demonstrate how to accomplish this task with the Stocks data type in Excel.

Step 1. Convert the original data range to Table

Select the range containing the ticker symbols (in this case, I select the range A1:A9) and press the Ctrl + T keys. The Create Table dialog box will open. You need to check if the cell references are correct and whether your selected range has headers, then click OK.

Tip: Converting the original range to Table, one of the most significant advantages is its ability to automatically fill the entire column with the selected field, which is helpful when working with large amounts of data.
Step 2: Convert the ticker symbols to stock data types

Select the original range, go to the Data tab, and select Stocks in the Data Types group.

The selected ticker symbols are converted to stocks data type (with this icon display before the texts). See screenshot:

Note: If Excel does not recognize a ticker, it will return a question mark before the texts. To correct the missing data types, follow this instruction: Correcting missing data types.
Step 3: Add related information for each ticker symbol

Then you can add real-time information for each ticker symbol. Here I will demonstrate two ways for you.

Method 1: Add fields with the Add Columns button

Click on any cell within the data type, and the Add Column button will appear. And then you need to click this button to show the available fields of data. Click on the field name to extract the information of that field. In this case, I select the Price field.

Then the Price field is added to the stock data type. You can repeat this step to add more fields as you need.

Notes:
  • When you select a cell that contains a field of the rich data type, you can see a formula displayed in the Formula Bar. The data in the selected cell is extracted with this formula.
  • If you have not converted the data range to a Table, when adding a field, it will only be applied to the selected data type cell. To populate the field for other data types, you will need to drag the cell’s Fill Handle down.

Method 2: Add fields with formulas

If you are familiar with these fields and their corresponding formulas, you can easily add fields using formulas without having to use the Add Column button.

Take the above stocks data type as an example, to add the Price field to this data type, you can do as follows.

  1. Select a cell to output the field (here I select cell B2), enter the following formula and press the Enter key.
    =A2.Price
  2. Select the result cell and double click the Fill Handle (the green square in the lower right corner of the cell) to populate the current column with the same field.
Notes:
  • If the field name to be referenced contains spaces, the field reference needs to be enclosed in square brackets. For example:
    =A2.[52 week high]
  • You can also use the FIELDVALUE function to retrieve field data from linked data types. In this case, the formula should be:
    =FIELDVALUE(A2, "Price")

Explore More Options

This section demonstrates additional options that may be used when getting real-time stock data in Excel, including correcting missing data types, changing data types, updating date types, and using Cards to discover more information of the data type.


Correcting Missing Data Types

If Excel does not recognize a ticker, it may fail to convert it into a stock data type. As shown in the screenshot below, Excel does not recognize Mikecro Soft, so it displays a question mark before the text. This section will help you correct the missing data type step by step.

  1. Select the cell containing the missing data type, and the Data Selector pane will be displayed automatically.
  2. In the Data Selector pane, you need to do as follow.
    1. In such cases, you need to make sure that the ticker symbol is correct. So, try entering the correct ticker symbol in the text box. Here, I changed Mikecro Soft to Microsoft and then press Enter to search for matching results.
    2. You will then get a list of search results. Select a matching result by clicking on the Select button under it.
      Tip: You can click on the card above the Select button to view the details of this data type.
Result

The missing data type has now been corrected. See screenshot:


Changing the Data Types

If the data type converted by Excel does not meet your needs, for example, as shown in the screenshot below, the data type in cell A2 is not what you need, you can change it manually as follows.

  1. Right click on the cell you want to change the data type, select Data Type > Change.
  2. In the Data Selector pane, retype the ticker symbol and press the Enter key. Then select the desired data type from the list.

Updating the Data Types

The linked data type connects to an online data source. Once you convert text to a linked data type, an external data connection is established in the workbook. If the online data changes, you will need to manually update the data to get the latest data. This section describes how to update data types in Excel.

Note: Excel data types can be updated automatically. However, it is important to note that the frequency of updates can be influenced by several factors, including the Excel version, the type of subscription (e.g., Office 365 subscribers may get more frequent updates), and the update frequency of the data source itself. In some cases, there might be a slight delay in data updates.

There are three methods you can use to manually update the data types. Click on any cell of the data types, then you need to:

  • Right click the selected cell and then select Refresh from the context menu.
  • Go to the Data tab, click Refresh > Refresh All or Refresh.
  • Use shortcut keys:
    1. Press Alt + F5 to refresh the cell you selected, as well as other cells with the same data type.
    2. Press Ctrl + Alt + F5 to refresh all sources in the current workbook.
Note: Refresh All will also refresh all other connections in the workbook, such as pivot tables and power queries.

Discovering More Information with Cards

After you convert text into a certain data type, an icon will appear before the text. Clicking the icon will open a card with more detailed information about the data type. Let’s see what we can do with the card.

Click the icon of the data type to open the card. See screenshot:

In the card, you can:

  • View all fields and corresponding values of the data type.
  • Add desired fields from the card by hovering the cursor over the field and then click the Extract X to grid (X here represents the field name).
  • Know where the fields and values come from by scrolling down inside the card and see the “Powered by” note at the bottom of the card.

Getting Historical Stock Data

The stock data type doesn’t provide historical data. Sometimes, for some purpose, you may need to get historical stock data. This section will briefly describe how to use the STOCKHISTORY function to get historical stock data in Excel for a specific data range.

Note: The STOCKHISTORY function is only available in Excel for Microsoft 365.
Syntax of the STOCKHISTORY function

=STOCKHISTORY(stock, start_date, [end_date], [interval], [headers], [property0], [property1], [property2], [property3], [property4], [property5])

Arguments
  • Stock (required): A ticker symbol in double quotes, such as "MARA", "JMIA".
  • Start_date (required): The start date of the data to be retrieved.
  • End_date (optional): The end date of the data to be retrieved. Default is the start_date.
  • Interval (optional): The time interval.
    • 0 (default) = Daily
    • 1 = weekly
    • 2 = monthly
  • Headers (optional): Specify whether to display headers.
    • 0 = No header
    • 1 (default) = show header
    • 2 = show instrument + header
  • Properties (optional): Additional data to retrieve.
    • 0 (default) = Date
    • 1 (default) = Close
    • 2 = Open
    • 3 = High
    • 4 = Low
    • 5 = Volume

Here I will use this function to get the close price of given companies on December 20, 2022.

Select a cell (D2 in this case) next to the original stock list (or select any blank cell you need), enter the following formula and press the Enter key.

=STOCKHISTORY(A2,DATE(2022,12,20),,,0)

Select this formula cell and drag its Fill Handle down to get the rest of results.

Notes:
  • In this formula, A2 is the cell with the ticker symbol. 2022,12,20 is the date for retrieving the closing price.
  • As I already have headers in my data, I specify the header argument as 0 to avoid displaying extra headers in the results.
  • The function returns an array as the result, which includes the specified date for retrieving the closing price, and the closing price for that date.
  • To know more about the STOCKHISTORY function, visit this page on the Microsoft website: STOCKHISTORY function.

FAQs on Utilizing Excel Rich Data Types

Q: How often does Excel update stock data?

A: Excel updates stock data in real-time, though there may be a slight delay for market changes to reflect.

Q: Can I use rich data types for currencies or other financial instruments?

A: Yes, Excel's rich data types also cover currencies and other financial instruments.

Q: Is there a limit to the number of stocks I can track?

A: There's no set limit, but performance might be affected if you're tracking a large number of stocks simultaneously.

Q: Where does the stock financial data come from?

A: To know where the stock financial data comes from, visit this page on the Microsoft website: About the Stocks financial data sources.


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