Power BI redefines the spreadsheet

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More advanced versions of Excel 2013 offer extra analysis and viewing tools that take the spreadsheet into the realm of analytical databases. Simon Hurst explores what these tools can deliver.The Power BI suite

Excel Zone has previously covered several components of what has now become the Microsoft Power BI suite. Excel 2010 saw the introduction of PowerPivot, with Power View being added in Excel 2013. A few months ago, Power Query was made available as an add-in for Excel 2010 and 2013 and Power Map was introduced for Excel 2013.

However, things are not quite as straightforward as that. Although PowerPivot was a free add-in that could be installed in all versions of Excel 2010, in Excel 2013 the Power add-ins are only available with certain editions of Excel 2013. Until the early part of this year, the only edition of Excel 2013 that supported the power add-ins was Professional Plus. Not only is this the most expensive of the Excel 2013 editions it is not available as a ‘retail’ purchase, but only through the Office 365 rental route or the volume licensing program.

Fortunately, the retail version of Excel 2013 standalone, at a cost of around £100, now also provides access to these add-ins - register for free with AccountingWEB.co.uk and log in to see Simon's full of the facilities on offer from Power Query and its companions.

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About Simon Hurst

Simon Hurst

Simon Hurst is the founder of technology training consultancy The Knowledge Base and is a past chairman of the ICAEW's IT Faculty.

 

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10th Oct 2014 09:25

Refresh

Simon,

Thanks for a really useful post. I have been wondering about the relationship between Power Query and Power Pivot. Power Query is being developed so fast with monthly releases, I agree it could become (and maybe already is) incredibly useful.

The lack of auto refresh is a bore but under the query's connection properties, you can set a minimum refresh period of 1 minute and also "Refresh on open" which together nearly get around the issue.

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10th Oct 2014 21:43

Power Query refresh

Thanks Paul - yes, that's a good point, particularly as Power Query connections to Tables within Excel allow for automatic refresh, whereas PivotTables based on Excel Tables in the same spreadsheet don't.

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