How to Make a Real Time Excel Spreadsheet

By James Highland

Updated September 28, 2017

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Microsoft Office Excel is a spreadsheet application that organizes data into columns and rows. It is most often used by individuals to store and manipulate data. The program supports a wide variety of content types. Usually, Excel files are "static" in that the data does not change until the user makes edits. However, the program also supports real-time data feeds. Powerful spreadsheets can be created to automatically update based on data fed by external sources. It is not complicated to set up a real-time Excel spreadsheet. With some patience and an Internet connection, Excel may be configured to pull data from a variety of sources.

Launch Excel. Create a new spreadsheet by clicking the "New" button or the "New" command under the "File" menu.

Consider the type of real-time data you wish to use. Excel is often used to track stock prices and provide analysis on changing investment scenarios. Using real-time stock quotes is one example of Excel's ability to work with a data feed.

Click in the cell on the spreadsheet where you wish to place the results from a real-time data feed.

Click on the "Tools" menu, and select the "Research" command. A side pane will open on the right side of the Excel window.

Type in a stock ticker symbol in the "Search for" box at the top of the Research pane. Choose the "MSN Money Stock Quotes" data feed from the drop-down menu under the "Search for" field.

Press the green "Search" button to the right of the "Search for" field. The stock data for the desired ticker appears in the middle of the Research pane.

Click the "Insert Price" button. The current real-time stock price for the ticker symbol is inserted in the spreadsheet.


The possibilities for real-time spreadsheets are limited only by the availability of quality data feeds for Excel. Download and install the Office Web Services Toolkit from the Microsoft Download Center to extend the available data feeds for Excel.