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Python For Microsoft Excel Company IronSpread Comes Out of Beta, Changes Name To DataNitro

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Y Combinator Winter Summer 2012 graduate Data Nitro (formerly known as IronSpread) has a simple proposition: it enables you to to use the popular programming language Python in Microsoft Excel. The plugin is free for individual non-commercial and enterprises will pay for the privilege. So far it’s only available for the Excel 2007 and 2010 for Windows. The company has no plans to support OSX.

datanitro screenshot

Although power users have long been able to use Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) to script Excel, and Microsoft is expected to support JavaScript in Office, Python is a strong addition to the Excel jock’s toolkit. Python is a top — if not the top — language with programmers by a number of metrics. It’s clean, straightforward syntax has made it a popular choice for beginners and introductory programming courses, but its popular in product in many places, including Google and NASA. There’s a lot to like about the language, and the effort spent learning Python for Excel scripting could translate well to other applications.

The good news: You can still use all your old VBA scripts, Data Nitro won’t stop them from working. Plus you can use existing Python libraries. The bad news: anyone you send the spreadsheet to will need to install the plugin in order to run the Python script.

Other tools for working with Python code in Excel include Pyvot and Pyxll (hat tip to the Hacker News community for the links).