Data Explorer

Public Preview of Data Explorer

The Public Preview of Data Explorer (which some of you know I’ve been following for a while, since it first appeared in SQL Azure Labs), is now available for download. You can get it here:

There’s also a good video overview here:

Data Explorer

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.

UPDATE: Check out the following blogs/links for Data Explorer:

10 thoughts on “Public Preview of Data Explorer

  1. The Data Explorer Formula Language is quite extensive. It appears that with Excel 2010 SP1 Data Explorer supports data downloads to a workbook but not to a PowerPivot model.

  2. Hi – It is Faisal from the Data Explorer team here. You can load data into the PP model in 2010 but you need to go into PP to do this. Simply use the connection that Data Explorer sets up and pull from PP. This is because Excel 2013 includes the xVelocity engine natively, whereas in 2010 it is not possible to push data into the model from Excel (without explicitly going into PowerPivot).

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