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How To Use Power Query In Excel For Business Intelligence

Power Query 1

Microsoft created the Excel add-in Power Query intending to make it simpler to import data into Excel from sources. It’s a component of the Power BI toolkit, so you can use it with other tools to create “self-service business intelligence solutions” in Excel. “Self-service Business Intelligence” is a fancy name for the reports and dashboards you create. The goal of a business intelligence solution, often known as “management information systems” or “decision support systems,” is to make business information available to employees so they may use it to make decisions about how to carry out their jobs.

This process allows users to extract data from their favorite databases or other data sources and bring it into Excel quickly; it’s also an excellent tool for quickly working with large amounts of data. It is a free add-in available on both Windows and Mac platforms.

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Licensing and Price Structure of the Power Query 

Query and Power BI for Office 365’s license structure are complicated and must be explained. However, it is licensed similarly to Power Pivot and Power View for Excel users (but not Power Map, which is only accessible if you have an Office 365 subscription), and it is free if you have purchased one of the following:

  • The Excel standalone version.
  • A desktop license for Office Professional Plus.
  • A subscription to Office 365 grants you use to the desktop capabilities in Office Professional Plus.
  • There are several subscription SKUs available; however, the Office 365 ProPlus, E3, and E4 SKUs all come with the correct version of Excel.

Power Query and Power BI for Excel are two powerful tools that allow you to create visualizations of your data in Excel. They’re available in Office Professional Plus Service Pack 1 (SP1), which supports all editions of Excel.

There is no access to Power View or Power Map in Excel SP1, but Power Pivot is. You can use Power Pivot to analyze, manipulate, and visualize large amounts of data. The ability to view Excel workbooks stored on-premises in SharePoint in a web browser is only available in SharePoint Enterprise Edition, and SharePoint is recommended for optimum results. You must install Power Pivot for SharePoint.

Power BI Sites, the Power BI Data Catalog, and the Mobile BI app are all now available on the cloud-based features that are a part of Power BI for Office 365 and are covered under a different subscription plan. A subscription to Office 365 that includes SharePoint Online is a must for utilizing these services; you must then acquire a separate subscription to utilize the services themselves.

Power Query in Excel

Why Use Power Query Over VBA And Excel Formulas

You might believe that you can accomplish all the tasks performed by utilizing the features offered on the Data tab in conjunction with Excel formulae and possibly some VBA, all without having to learn a brand-new tool. This process is correct to some extent, but there are several compelling reasons to choose it over these tried-and-true methods. You will make these arguments in more depth in this section.

Streamed Installation Of Microsoft Office Is The Future

One of the programs that are most frequently used is Microsoft Excel. Every modification Microsoft makes to Excel must thus go through a rigorous testing process since a flaw might impact millions of users globally and create enormous disruption in their businesses.

The new streamed installation option for all Office products will eventually resolve this issue, which is available to Office 365 subscribers. In addition, this option will enable Microsoft to distribute updates to users as soon as they become available. Still, it will be several years before most businesses switch over to this method of installation.

This streamlining process is part of what Microsoft calls its “Modern Lifecycle” model for delivering updates across its products. Under this model, all Office customers will receive updates much quicker than today’s traditional release cycle (which usually takes several months).

Data Analysis Using Excel and Power Query

The number of data sources this offers is the most glaring illustration of how it outperforms native Excel capability and where the difference gets more expansive with each new version. Nearly all of the data sources you can access through the Data tab are supported. It also adds several new ones, including Facebook, Active Directory, Exchange, SharePoint, OData feeds, and HDInsight. Support for connecting to online services is also included.

This feature set and the ability to seamlessly connect to databases on local or remote servers using ODBC/OLE DB drivers—Can be used as an effective data extraction tool for business intelligence (BI) projects.

Using Power Query to Access Web Pages and Scrape Data

One of the most powerful features is accessing web pages and scraping data. While Excel provides limited ways to access data from web pages, It can easily access far more web pages than Excel can. It also allows you to extract data from far more web pages than native functionality. 

For instance, it will make it easier and quicker than Excel for you to scrape data from a website. Finally, it can merge multiple CSV files into one result set by simply dragging and dropping them into the box at the bottom of your results pane. This process makes it much easier to work with large datasets than it would be using Excel’s built-in functionality.

Automating Data Loads in Excel with Power Query

If you’re a data loader, then this is the tool you’ve been looking for. With the help of Power Query, you can quickly execute a series of automated, repeatable procedures to replace human processes for importing data into Excel. In addition to helping save time, it also offers other benefits a substantially lower mistake rate. 

Automated data loading is likely to provide incredible speed and much simpler maintenance than VBA—given that many tasks require no code. It has been around for quite some time and has been used by thousands of people worldwide. 

Loading Data Into Excel Made Easy

Power Query is a fantastic tool that makes it easy to load data into your Excel worksheets. Throughout the continuation of the preceding statement, you saw in the tutorial that it makes it very simple to filter, aggregate, sort, pivot, and unpivot, as well as add calculations with the click of a button. The development team has done a fantastic job of recognizing and implementing all of the main scenarios that must be dealt with when importing data into Excel.

You saw throughout the lesson that it makes it very simple to filter, aggregate, sort, pivot, and unpivot, as well as add computations with a click of a button. This assertion is continued here. The development team identified and implemented the Power Query development team, which did an outstanding job. So, naturally, you cannot complete all tasks through the user interface.


It is an excellent tool for the majority of self-service Business Intelligence activities that many people in an organization perform daily. It makes it simple to load large amounts of data and access all that data for reporting purposes. I’ve found it especially good for merging large amounts of disparate data, even when one or more of those data sources has duplicate values; you can use Power Query to pick which piece of data you want to display without having to perform complex manual merges. We hope this article is helpful to you. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you want to add more data to your Power BI Desktop (which can be used in Power Pivot, Excel, and Power View) or if you have problems using these tools.

Errin OConnor

Errin OConnor

With over 25 years of experience in Information Technology and Management Consulting, Errin O’Connor has led hundreds of large-scale enterprise implementations from Business Intelligence, Power BI, Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, IT Security, Azure and Hybrid Cloud efforts for over 165 Fortune 500 companies.

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