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Microsoft® Excel® 2013: Using Power View

In this chapter from Microsoft® Excel® 2013: Building Data Models with PowerPivot, you learn the capabilities of Power View. We are not going to explain all the features in great detail, at least partly because there are plenty of good books and resources where you can learn much more information about Power View. Our goal here is to introduce this new tool and show the most important information about the role it plays in graphical exploration.

You already looked briefly at Power View in Chapter 1, Introduction to PowerPivot. There, you just scratched the surface of the new, beautiful reporting engine that now is part of Microsoft Excel 2013. Power View lets you perform graphical analysis of data, making the search for insights in your datasets more fun.

Power View was designed with simplicity in mind. Nevertheless, even if it looks like a toy, Power View is amazingly powerful, resulting in a unique blend of simplicity and power that makes graphical exploration a unique experience.

In this chapter, you learn the capabilities of Power View. We are not going to explain all the features in great detail, at least partly because there are plenty of good books and resources where you can learn much more information about Power View. Our goal here is to introduce this new tool and show the most important information about the role it plays in graphical exploration.

What is Power View?

Power View was originally an additional reporting system in SQL Server Reporting Services that was integrated into SharePoint. Thus, before the advent of Microsoft Office 2013, you needed to buy and install Microsoft SharePoint, Reporting Services, and PowerPivot for SharePoint in order to use Power View.

The feedback of users has been so enthusiastic that Microsoft decided to add Power View to Excel 2013 too, and when they did it, they did not create a subset of Power View. Instead, they took all the functionalities of the tool and added much more power to it. Thus, Excel 2013 contains the best data exploration tool that Microsoft offers, without needing any modification.

You already saw in Chapter 1 that, like PowerPivot, Power View needs to be activated because it comes as a disabled add-in. We imagine that, at this point of the book, you have probably already tried some Power View reports on your own data, just because reading the first part of this book has stimulated your interest in it. If not, we strongly suggest you to do so now for two reasons:

  • Power View is not only a technical tool. It fosters a wonderful experience that we will not be able to describe adequately on the printed page. Looking at static figures, you can learn new techniques to create useful reports, but you will lack the feeling of doing it yourself.

  • If you have alread used Power View without reading about how to write correct metadata for it, you will probably have seen some limitations and some operations that look hard to perform; and you will have a greater appreciation of the hints in this chapter.