Office has a long track record of offering compelling ways to display data visually. Office 2013 introduced Power View, an interactive reporting capability built into Excel. Since introducing Power View, customers have told us that while they value its interactivity for visual data exploration, they also value the familiarity, look and feel, customization, fidelity, and the programmability of the native charting experience in Excel. In addition, customers preferred a dedicated tool for such visual data exploration. This feedback led us to develop Power BI Desktop, which provides a dedicated environment for visual data exploration and reporting, complementing the deep analytics users perform in Excel. The Power BI Desktop tool, available as a free download, has received rave reviews since its release.
What's next for Power View in Excel
As mentioned in the What's new for business analytics in Excel 2016 blog in 2015, Power BI Desktop is built on the same free-form reporting experience as Power View, and offers a dedicated environment for visual data exploration and report authoring. Power BI Desktop has added support for several new and custom visualizations, and is delivering improvements rapidly through monthly updates. With Power BI Desktop, customers can also import Power View content from Excel workbooks and reuse their investments.
To deliver a compelling experience for visual data exploration in a focused tool, we are shifting all investment to Power BI Desktop for this workload, and have concluded new feature development for Power View. Power BI Desktop is now the recommended tool for visual data exploration and reporting, and Excel continues to be the broad tool for deep analytics. The Power BI Service allows for simple publishing of dashboards for both Power BI reports and Excel workbooks, and also enables users to analyze Power BI data in Excel. Each of these tools is optimized for the different needs of business analysts, and together, the suite is deliberately designed to work together.
The Power View sheets that customers have created with Excel will continue to be supported by Excel desktop, SharePoint with SQL Server BI add-on, and SharePoint Online through the current Silverlight-based implementation. This support includes fixes for security issues and major functional regressions without simple workarounds. Browsers that support Silverlight are listed here.
Given this approach, Excel 2016 removed the default functionality that allowed customers to add Power View sheets from the ribbon. For those customers that elect to continue using Power View, steps are available to enable adding new Power View sheets.
In the summer of 2016, Excel 2013 was updated to align with Excel 2016 by removing the default ribbon functionality to add Power View sheets to Excel workbooks. In addition, the Import Data dialog in both Excel 2013 and 2016 removed an option to create Power View report when users import data into the Data Model. Inserting a new Power View sheet will connect it to data in the Data Model as it does today.
Based on user feedback, we believe this approach strikes a good balance between supporting existing functionality and content, and encouraging users to get the best experience in Power BI Desktop, a dedicated tool for visual data exploration and interactive reporting.
In addition, Excel will continue to innovate on the native charting experience. Excel 2016 introduced new chart types including waterfall, box and whisker, histogram, treemap, and Microsoft 365 customers now have access to funnel as well. We look forward to delivering more charts and interactivity that allow customers to analyze and communicate with impact.
We hope this article gives you clarity of visualization investments across the portfolio and how we’re continuing to deliver on our long track record. We look forward to hearing your feedback on User Voice sites for both Excel and Power BI on our User Voice sites.