Tips & Tricks

Excel Power Query vs Power BI

We often get asked about the difference between the above applications – the short answer is none or at least very little. The best way to explain it is to look at the history of the applications.

In July 2010 Microsoft launched Power Query. It was designed to allow users to easily discover and connect to data from public and corporate data sources. In the first instance for Excel 2010 it was an Excel Add-in which you would have to download and install - this continued through to Excel 2013. With Excel 2016 it became a default feature and is now known as ‘Get Data’.

Power BI was first released to the public in July 2015. One of the main differences at the time of launch was that Power BI could create dynamic charts and dashboards whereas in Excel, you could only create Power Pivot, Pivot tables. So, the difference was mainly visual, pivot tables or charts and dashboards, however the underlying technology which allows the user to connect to various public and organisational data sources is the same. This functionality is now called ‘Get Data’ in both Excel & Power BI.

There’s a bit to this story which is missing, that is what does Power Pivot do and how does that compare to Power BI – watch this space for the next update...


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