Public Preview of Data Explorer

Public Preview of Data Explorer by Chris Webb.

From the post:

In a nutshell, Data Explorer is self-service ETL for the Excel power user – it is to SSIS what PowerPivot is to SSAS. In my opinion it is just as important as PowerPivot for Microsoft’s self-service BI strategy.

I’ll be blogging about it in detail over the coming days (and also giving a quick demo in my PASS Business Analytics Virtual Chapter session tomorrow), but for now here’s a brief list of things it gives you over Excel’s native functionality for importing data:

  • It supports a much wider range of data sources, including Active Directory, Facebook, Wikipedia, Hive, and tables already in Excel
  • It has better functionality for data sources that are currently supported, such as the Azure Marketplace and web pages
  • It can merge data from multiple files that have the same structure in the same folder
  • It supports different types of authentication and the storing of credentials
  • It has a user-friendly, step-by-step approach to transforming, aggregating and filtering data until it’s in the form you want
  • It can load data into the worksheet or direct into the Excel model

There’s a lot to it, so download it and have a play! It’s supported on Excel 2013 and Excel 2010 SP1.

Download: Microsoft “Data Explorer” Preview for Excel

Chris has collected a number of links to Data Explorer resources so look to his post for more details.

It looks like a local install is required for the preview. I have been meaning to add Windows 7 to a VM and MS Office with that.

Guess it may be time to take the plunge. ;-) (I have XP/Office on a separate box that uses the same monitors/keyboard but sharing data is problematic.)

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