Power Query and Privacy Impacting Features

Note: Power Query is known as Get & Transform in Excel 2016. Information provided here applies to both. To learn more, see Get & Transform in Excel 2016.

Power Query and its associated service, Microsoft Power Query Service, include features that are important to understand with respect to privacy. You can read the full privacy statement.

Online Search

Online Search allows you to search for public data from within Excel. The search requests and subsequent requests provides the following to Microsoft:

  • Unique user ID found in the “About” dialog

  • Product version

  • Search terms

  • Provided results

Send a Smile/Frown

Send a Smile/Frown lets you send an email to Microsoft with your feedback. By default, that email provides the following to Microsoft:

  • Unique user ID found in the “About” dialog

  • Product version

  • Excel version

  • Excel install path

  • IE version

  • OS version

  • CLR version

  • Memory working set

  • Peak Virtual Memory

  • Workbook settings

  • Screenshots / formulas

  • Exception information (if launched from an error)

You will be given the opportunity to edit the send a smile email before it is transmitted to Microsoft. You may include in the email any further feedback you choose to provide, including screenshots showing the specific compliment or concern you have.

In addition, Send a Smile automatically collects some information about your system configuration, standard computer information, and basic information about how you use Microsoft products. This information is sent when you choose to send feedback.

The information we collect from you is used by Microsoft and its controlled subsidiaries and affiliates to provide the services or carry out the transactions you requested or authorized, to provide critical updates and notifications regarding the software, and to improve the product or service. Your email address may also be used to contact you if Microsoft needs further information or clarification on your request. You don’t have to register your email address with Microsoft to use Send a Smile/Frown.


The Add-In saves user credentials on the user’s machine when connections to data sources are established. These credentials are encrypted and stored in a hidden folder only accessible by the user, and will be used only to access the relevant data sources.

Client Configuration Check

Upon Microsoft Excel start up and on sign-in to the Power Query service, the current version of the client, the current version of Excel and a GUID (see note, below) are sent to the service. The services responds with a configuration file that includes information on version update, search endpoints and other feature controls. If a newer version is available, the service will return a link to the Microsoft Download center where the new version is available for download. The client will repeat this call periodically to ensure the configuration is up to date. This feature cannot be turned off.

Note: Note: GUID stands for Globally Unique Identifier – a randomly generated number that does not contain any personal information. GUIDs are used to identify individual machines without identifying the user.

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