Working with accounts data in Excel: Power Query

In the previous instalment in this series we looked in some detail at the Power View add-in for Excel. Microsoft has recently introduced two new “Power” add-ins and given the entire Power ensemble the name Power BI.

The two additional add-ins are currently previews with some known ‘issues’ and warnings about possible changes in the final release, so it’s worth reading the accompanying release notes before getting started. Power Map is a data visualisation add-in that starts where last time’s Power View playable charts finished, but this time we will concentrate on the other end of the BI process – getting at the data and preparing if for use. This is what the Power Query preview is for.

Microsoft describes Power Query as providing ‘an intuitive user interface for data discovery, data transformation and enrichment.’

There are three stages to the Power Query process. First you connect to one or more sources of data, then you can ‘shape and transform’ the data prior to returning the result to an Excel worksheet and, optionally, adding it to the Excel Data Model...

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