Today, lets talk about Power Pivot & understand it.
What is Power Pivot?
Power Pivot is an Excel add-in to connect, analyze & visualize massive amounts of data.
Lets take a closer look at the definition.
Connect: You can use multiple tables of data & set up relationships between them using Power Pivot. For example, you can connect customer details to sales transactions so that you can summarize sales by customer location or gender easily.
Analyze: You can create simple pivot table style reports or create something exceedingly complex by defining your own calculated fields for values area of the pivot. There is a whole set of formulas defined for exactly this purpose, called as DAX formulas.
Visualize: Instantly filter your reports using slicers, time lines (Excel 2013 or above only), conditional formats, pivot charts etc. You can even define KPIs and see the performance in bands.
Massive Amounts of Data: Although your typical Excel worksheet contains a million rows, if you tried to load even half of those with any data, Excel would quickly become slow & lazy. Power Pivot can take a million rows for breakfast and would be hungry for more. It can processes millions of rows of data very quickly and easily, all from the comfort of a standard desktop or laptop.
Excel Add-in: Power Pivot is an optional free add-in that works with Excel 2010 or above. If you are running Excel 2010, you need to download and install it. Users of Excel 2013 have it easy. Power Pivot comes pre-packaged with Excel, you just need to enable it.
A brief introduction of Power Pivot
It would not be an understatement to say Power Pivot is the most awesome data analysis feature you will ever come across in Microsoft Excel. Since you would not take something short of awesome for this introduction, I recorded a 25 minute video explaining what Power Pivot really is and how it works. Watch it below:
Looks interesting, what else can it do?
The video just scratches the surface of Power Pivot. You can do so much more by using & mixing various features of Excel & Power Pivot. Few possibilities are,
- Define your own measures (calculated fields for power pivot reports) that can summarize data the way you want
- Sum of sales YTD
- Count of distinct customers per product
- Ratio of sales made to single moms vs. single dads
- % of products made by top 10 employees in all etc.
- Slice and dice data anyway you want
- Filter all reports & charts based on multiple linked slicers
- Slice reports based on values in another (non) related table
- Fetch data from different data sources & integrate
- Set up Power View sheets to create rich visualizations of your data (Excel 2013 only)
- Create maps, rich interactive charts & more
- Integrate with Excel features to create stunning reports & dashboards
- Combine Power Pivot outputs with Excel features like sparklines, conditional formats, charts & form controls
- Use references to fetch pivot table values & present them in dashboards
and so much more.
How can I learn more?
If all this sounds interesting, you would enjoy our upcoming online course on Power Pivot. If you want to know more about our class, please enter your name & email below. I will update you as we make progress.
More resources on Power Pivot:
Power Pivot is a vast & interesting area. Since this is a relatively new technology, many possible applications of it are emerging every week. For those of you starting afresh, I suggest below resources:
- Power Pivot for data analyst book by Bill Jelen
- DAX formulas for Power Pivot book by Rob Collie
- Power Pivot Pro website & blog by Rob Collie
Do you use Power Pivot?
I first heard about Power Pivot in 2010, But I did not learn it then. Since October, last year, I have started learning and using Power Pivot and have been in love with it ever since. I think it is really powerful and capable. As I am learning new things about it, I am very eager to share them with you on this blog & thru our upcoming course.
What about you? Are you using Power Pivot? What is your experience like? Please share using comments.