Thanks for stopping by our blog. The Excel 2007 Web Data Add-In team intends to use this blog to stay in touch with the community with news about our product and provide helpful links and information. This add-in is a beta piece of technology developed in Microsoft Research; by releasing it we’re hoping to get feedback on how to make it better.
But exactly what is it you ask? To put it briefly, it’s a tool that plugs seamlessly into Excel 2007 that makes extracting and importing data from a webpage as easy as possible. The add-in allows you to specifically select data you'd like to import; say like the price of a particular product, or at the click of a button lets you expand your selection to similar items automatically. This saves you time if you need to import say all the items of a particular table of data, like in a weather report, stocks, reviews, ect.
Note that once you import this data into Excel, it's not a one-time thing like copy/paste -- the selections are linked to the webpage, so when you click the "Refresh" data command in Excel, the data can be refreshed from the webpage, even if the author of the webpage changes the content and to some degree, the html structure itself.
The way we can achieve this functionality is by using advanced webpage wrapper technology developed by Microsoft Research. The technology uses machine learning to get better results with more training -- in this case, the training set are the selections of data you make on the webpage.