Power Query Update Streamlines Excel-Based BI
Microsoft issues a Power Query update aimed at making it easier for Excel users to explore data and extract business insights.Microsoft has released the May 2014 update for Power Query, the Excel add-on that links to the company's cloud-enabled Power BI business intelligence offering. Released on Feb. 10, Power BI is Microsoft's attempt at "bringing BI to a billion users," according to Julia White, general manager of Office product marketing. The update includes a time-saving tool called Recent Data Sources. Miguel Llopis, program manager for Microsoft Power Query, described Recent Data Sources as "one of the most commonly requested in Power Query and it's about being able to easily reconnect to a previously used data source," said Llopis during a YouTube video walk-through. A new button under the Get External Data group, within the Power Query tab, generates a menu that displays the 15 most recent data sources. Further, users can now pin up to 10 frequently accessed sources under the "More Recents" category. Llopis said the new functionality "comes in very handy as it saves users from typing in the same data source information every time." It also helps users keep better track of data sources that are only used occasionally, he added.
The Query Editor ribbon and Insert tab now sport several more transform options. The Insert tab, in particular, includes "several new options to insert new columns based on Text, Number, Date & Time and other common operations referencing values from other columns in a query," said Microsoft in a statement. A new Transform tab displays "common transformations that can be applied to an entire table or to specific columns within a table."