How to Use Power BI and Excel Together

How to Use Power BI and Excel Together

There is no denying that businesses absolutely need data. For many years, Microsoft’s Excel has been the number one tool used by businesses in order to both analyze, store, and use this data. The spreadsheet has been a top go-to tool for many business analysts thanks to its extreme extensibility and flexibility, with macros and formulas that essentially make it an analytical playground.

However, these days, much of this torch has been passed on to the Power Platform and Power BI. This started as a set of excel products that eventually became its own intelligent product. However, it has always been an amicable split with the two tools working extremely well together while using the Power Query tooling as a common data extraction, load, and transformation pipeline.

By using these tools, you can easily go from almost any data source to either an Excel spreadsheet or Power BI report depending on what you are looking to do with your data at this point in time. Are you looking to understand how to use Power BI and Excel together? Well, you have come to the right place!

Work with Organization Datatypes

With Power BI now becoming part of the Power Platform suite of intelligent business automation tools, it has been able to establish deeper links to some of the very best technologies in business software tools. This allows you clear access to the tools needed to build and name organizational datatypes.

You can do this with Power BI used as an authoritative source. Now, you can gain access to specific datatypes or key pieces of business data using Power BI featured tables while sharing datasets with Excel. It is important to have the ability to transfer between the two tools. While Power Query in Power BI can be super helpful when making complex queries easy, it is more so focused on visualization.

While this is a powerful tool to have access to, it does take quite a bit of expertise to get it right. It can be far too easy to choose the wrong plot type or values for axes. This can often result in the wrong conclusion due to simple mistakes. However, they can land you in hot water.

If you have a good amount of experience with Excel and its services and tools, it will make linking it to Power BI make a lot of sense. This is because you can produce both queries and formulas in Excel that can be published to Power BI in order to construct visualizations and dashboards that can take a fair amount of time to produce in Excel.

You also gain the opportunity of creating featured tables from the datasets Power BI is currently using. All you need to do is select a table and set it to become a featured table. You can then begin by giving it a description, a row label, and even a key column that you can use as a unique ID.

More on Organization Datatypes

If you treat it much like your initial data hub, Power BI can be used to pre-process any data before you head on and use Excel for a far deeper analysis. Data is then transferred into a Power BI workspace where it is then able to be downloaded. Many of the modern line-of-business systems take advantage of aggregate datatypes in order to simplify as many operations as possible.

You can then take any data from this and import it into an Excel table, along with any data from other sources. You can then explore it using tools you know, as well as formatting. This produces algorithms and insights that can be used in your business. As Power BI is fully capable of supporting Microsoft’s information protection tools, you can easily lock down any information that may be commercially sensitive so that only approved users can gain access.

It is important to get this right as it gives information to much of your business’s critical and sensitive information. Having too much open can make it far easier for any attackers to gain access to this confidential and sensitive information.

Using Custom Datatypes from Power BI in Excel Power Query

One of the brand-new features that is super important is support for all Power Query datatypes in Excel’s data transformation tools. If you have used Power Query in Power BI before, you should be pretty familiar with all of its working capabilities which means you can work with data sets quickly and easily.

Bringing these features into Excel simplifies the entire process of taking complex data and turning it into easily understandable spreadsheets with support for complex databases. After all, it is important to recognize that using Power Query is easy enough. In the Excel data import tool, bring in a file and begin using the built-in editor to begin building your import query.

From there, select the columns you are wanting to use and then click on the Create Datatype button to begin your data transformation. You can then easily give that custom datatype a name and then add a column. You can then use this feature to create something like a product datatype that brings together the SKU, name, and price, along with any other related columns into your original source.

This complex datatype is then collapsed into a single column in the result data grid that is ready for use once you have loaded the data into your spreadsheet. You will have all the space you need to view the data in your new custom type. This will then make it easier to navigate our spreadsheet.

Use the Same Data, Everywhere

It is important to break down the silos between data analysis tools. Luckily, using common datatypes goes a very long way to erase any of these differences. If you are working in Excel or Power BI, it is important to know that you’re using the exact same data, and that you can easily share any resulting analysis without having to worry about confusion or misunderstanding.

Datatypes are essentially labels. Having the exact same labels across all businesses will not only help you work together more effectively but also allow new technologies to get the very best from your data.

The Bottom Line

Do you need some extra help with using Power BI and Excel together? If so, our skilled consultants are always here and ready to build a solution that works for you. We are only an email away! Contact us today for a consultation.