Power Pivot: Powerful data analysis and data modeling in Excel

Power Pivot is an Excel add-in you can use to perform powerful data analysis and create sophisticated data models. With Power Pivot, you can mash up large volumes of data from various sources, perform information analysis rapidly, and share insights easily.

In both Excel and in Power Pivot, you can create a Data Model, a collection of tables with relationships. The data model you see in a workbook in Excel is the same data model you see in the Power Pivot window. Any data you import into Excel is available in Power Pivot, and vice versa.

What to do in Power Pivot or in Excel

The basic difference between Power Pivot and Excel is that you can create a more sophisticated data model by working on it in the Power Pivot window. Let’s compare some tasks.


In Excel

In Power Pivot

Import data from different sources, such as large corporate databases, public data feeds, spreadsheets, and text files on your computer.

Import all data from a data source.

Filter data and rename columns and tables while importing.

Read about Get data using the Power Pivot add-in

Create tables

Tables can be on any worksheet in the workbook. Worksheets can have more than one table.

Tables are organized into individual tabbed pages in the Power Pivot window.

Edit data in a table

Can edit values in individual cells in a table.

Can’t edit individual cells.

Create relationships between tables

In the Relationships dialog box.

In Diagram view or the Create Relationships dialog box.

Read about Create a relationship between two tables.

Create calculations

Use Excel formulas.

Write advanced formulas with the Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) expression language.

Create hierarchies

Define Hierarchies to use everywhere in a workbook, including Power View.

Create key performance indicators (KPIs)

Create KPIs to use in PivotTables and Power View reports.

Create perspectives

Create Perspectives to limit the number of columns and tables your workbook consumers see.

Create PivotTables and PivotCharts

Create PivotTable reports in Excel.

Create a PivotChart

Click the PivotTable button in the Power Pivot window.

Enhance a model for Power View

Create a basic data model.

Make enhancements such as identifying default fields, images, and unique values.

Read about enhancing a model for Power View.

Use Visual Basic for Applications (VBA)

Use VBA in Excel.

Don’t use VBA in the Power Pivot window.

Group data

Group in an Excel PivotTable

Use DAX in calculated columns and calculated fields.

How the data is stored

The data that you work on in Excel and in the Power Pivot window is stored in an analytical database inside the Excel workbook, and a powerful local engine loads, queries, and updates the data in that database. Because the data is in Excel, it is immediately available to PivotTables, PivotCharts, Power View, and other features in Excel that you use to aggregate and interact with data. All data presentation and interactivity are provided by Excel; and the data and Excel presentation objects are contained within the same workbook file. Power Pivot supports files up to 2GB in size and enables you to work with up to 4GB of data in memory.

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Saving to SharePoint

Workbooks that you modify with Power Pivot can be shared with others in all of the ways that you share other files. You get more benefits, though, by publishing your workbook to a SharePoint environment that has Excel Services enabled. On the SharePoint server, Excel Services processes and renders the data in a browser window where others can analyze the data.

On SharePoint, you can add Power Pivot for SharePoint to get additional collaboration and document management support, including Power Pivot Gallery, Power Pivot management dashboard in Central Administration, scheduled data refresh, and the ability to use a published workbook as an external data source from its location in SharePoint.

More about MSDN: Power Pivot for SharePoint.

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Getting Help

You can learn all about Power Pivot at Power Pivot Help.

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