Power Pivot for Excel 2010

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jethro's picture

Disclaimer. Although I was asked to review this product and received the Black and Decker VPX tools for doing so, I was not influenced by PowerPivot or Ignite Social Media in any way. The following review is entirely my own and not influenced or edited by Power Pivot in anyway.

PowerPivot What is Power Pivot?

First of all, PowerPivot is only available to work with Office 2010, and specifically Excel 2010 and SharePoint 2010. I have the Beta Office 2010 suite running on a test machine and a test user account so as to not interfere with my production environment.

In their own words:

PowerPivot for Excel is a data analysis tool that delivers unmatched computational power directly within the application users already know and love—Microsoft Excel. It’s the user-friendly way to perform data analysis using familiar Excel features you already know, such as the Office Fluent user interface, PivotTable and, PivotChart views, and slicers. It’s the fast way to generate rich and interactive analysis tools, easily mistaken for IT solutions after weeks of effort. It’s the right way to achieve deeper business insight and shorter decision cycles.

Specific features:

  • Take advantage of familiar Excel tools and features
  • Process massive amounts of data in seconds
  • Load even the largest data sets from virtually any source
  • Use powerful new analytical capabilities, such as Data Analysis Expressions (DAX)
  • Make the most of multi-core processors and gigabytes of memory

The following set of screenshots takes you through the installation, data connection and using the tool.


Launching Power Pivot in a new window gets you the Power Pivot ribbon.


As this was a test machine I decided to connect to the Office 2010 sample access database, Northwind.

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The wizard walked me through the process.

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and imported all the tables from Access quite quickly. It took maybe a minute or so to get it all.

Once it was in the spreadsheet, every table existed in a separate sheet. I was then able to make a pivot chart of the data and start adding slicers from the toolbar.

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The power of this was evident almost immediately.


Clicking on any of the available items in any of the slicers immiediately filtered the data and refrehsed the chart. Admittedly this is on an extremely powerful computer, (3Ghz corei7 quad core extreme CPU, 6gb DDR3 RAM and running off 10,000 RPM drives with 2x 1Gb video cards running in SLI) but i was still impressed with how fast it returned the results and refreshed the chart.

Here are some sample shots – the first shows the ribbon tools and the pivot chart options.


Each chart sheet is paired with a data sheet that also changes to reflect the current data set being displayed in the chart. In fact the chart drives off it.

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This is as much playing as I have done with it. Unfortunately I do not have access to any very large data sets. I have heard that this application will handle hundreds of thousands of rows of data very quickly.

Now for the fun stuff.

When I was asked to review this I was sent a way cool set of tools, the now discontinued Black and Decker VPX cordless tool kit.

The coolest thing about this was the way Lisa from Ignite social media who asked me to review the product packaged it.

The box had a sticker on it saying Open Me with a little power pivot icon and inside the lid was a note from Lisa. along with a flysheet about PowerPivot.

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The really fun stuff was in all the swing tags Lisa had attached to all the equipment with puns. Now I love me a good pun and these had me chuckling for ages.

Attached to the torch. and the saw.

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Attached to the screwdriver and the battery.

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Attached to the power supply and a shot of all the equipment.

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I’m getting excited about upgrading to Office 2010 in our office come March 2010 with tools like this.

You can follow the PowerPivot team on their blog as they develop this tool from beta into the final product. There are also a number of training and learning videos on the website.

Thanks to Lisa and ignite Social Media, I am Tim the Toolman!

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Anonymous's picture

can power pivot include

can power pivot include images? similar to qlikview's product?

jethro's picture

no its for rapidly accessing

no its for rapidly accessing and analysing large data sources - millions of rows of data
try http://www.getpivot.com/ for image manipulation - you need an invite though to get access to it at the moment.

Anonymous's picture

I tried connecting PowerPivot

I tried connecting PowerPivot to Analysis Services cube and it is very very slow compared with the regular pivot table. Please email me your comments veeramraja@yahoo.com