Wednesday, January 23, 2013

PowerPivot Updated!

Nearly everyone wants to be recognized as being “Someone Special”. Except for the hopelessly introverted, this is true among those of us who are into manipulating data in Excel.

One way to separate yourself from the Excel masses is to understand and deploy the use of PowerPivot. This tool gained popularity in Excel 2010, and is even more powerful and impressive in Excel 2013!

Although many of the features that were present in PowerPoint 2010 are now built into the Excel 2013 functionality, you still need to download the Free (“Free” is always cool) PowerPivot for 2013 add-in in the latest Excel version in order to do take advantage of some of the more advanced data modeling techniques.

Let’s say that you have several SQL databases housed on SharePoint and other sources, and you want to load the data and create interactive queries from within an Excel workbook. Quickly done with PowerPivot!

So, what can you do with this remarkable tool? Here is a partial list of some of the coolest features:

1. When importing data, you can filter out unnecessary data and import just a subset
2. Manage and create relationships using drag and drop in the Diagram View
3. Define your own calculated fields to use throughout a workbook
4. Define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to use in PivotTables
5. Author your own calculations using advanced formulas
6. Use other more advanced data and modeling operations

While this is a tool typically used by only Advanced Users, it is worth the time of any Excel Analyst to look at its possibilities. PowerPivot truly Empowers you to capture the data you need, gain greater insight into the meaning of the data, and do so without overtaxing your system’s resources.

PowerPivot: Not necessarily for everyone, but if you work for a large company and need a new way to Slice and Dice your data, take a few minutes sometime and check it out.

Next week: Back to the mainstream with some cool, easy techniques that will give you crunching options you never knew you had (and wish you did…).

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