Why do we need to export data from Power BI to Excel?
Although Power BI is being increasingly used by finance professionals, teams still have to produce static reports in Excel to format and analyze their data. So how do you export data from Power BI to Excel?
In this article Roxanne, Power BI consultant at F31 will walk you through the different methods available to export Power BI to Excel:
Option 1: Export data from a Power BI visual to Excel with “Export Data”
Here is how to export data from an online Power BI report to Excel:
- Go to app.powerbi.com and choose a report you have access to
- Click on “…” at the top right of the desired visual, then click the “Export data” button
- Choose between downloading a CSV or XLSX file containing the data relating to the visual
- By default, you will only have access to the data filtered by the “Summarized data” view – depending on your rights, you can also export underlying data (unfiltered data) by choosing “Underlying data.”
You can now edit your data or re-make graphs directly in Excel.
This first type of Power BI export to Excel is simple but limited as:
- You can only export data from one visual at a time, in a new CSV.
- You cannot update the data in Excel as the Power BI report evolves.
- You can only export data related to a Power BI visual, it is not possible to extract a table, because the data and the model cannot be viewed in the published version.
However, it is possible to export a table from the Power BI desktop to Excel: in the “Data” view, select a table, then right-click and “Copy” for a column, or “Copy Table” for the entire table. Simply paste the data into an Excel file to retrieve it.
Option 2: Export large data sets from Power BI to Excel with “Analyze in Excel”
The second way to export data from Power BI to Excel can handle whole data models, plus offers the advantage of being able to refresh the data directly in Excel! This will help when you want to export large amounts of data.
Here is how to connect your data model to a blank Excel file with the “Analyze in Excel” function:
- Go to app.powerbi.com
- Open the report which contains the data set you want to export
- Click “…” to the far right of the ribbon above the report
- Select “Analyze in Excel”
This downloads an Excel file in .ODC (Office Data Connection: an extension stored using HTML and XML) version. From here you can create PivotTables, visuals, etc. directly in Excel from the data derived from the Power BI data cube.
For example, when you want to create a new PivotTable in the Excel file (“Insert” > “PivotTable” tab), simply choose “Use an external data source” and then connect to the desired data cube by clicking on “Choose Connection.”
To refresh the data from the Power BI report, simply go to the “Data” tab and click on “Refresh All.”
This second type of Power BI export to Excel has the advantage of being semi-dynamic, yet it’s still limited as:
- It generates a new file, with an unfamiliar extension (.ODC, while Microsoft recommends to use the .XLSX extension).
- Measurements from data models must be created beforehand as it is not possible to create them in a PivotTable.
Option 3: “Get Data” from within Excel
Here’s how to access Power BI data from within Excel:
- Go to the Excel “Data” tab and select “Get Data”
- Choose “From Power BI” in the drop-down menu
- Select a dataset from the right-hand pane to create a PivotTable in Excel
- Choose fields from the PivotTable Field List to display
Whilst this is a quick, easy way to export data from Power BI to Excel, it isn’t the most efficient.
This is because selecting fields from a PivotTable Field List can make it difficult to visualize and understand the data set, especially if you didn’t create the Power BI dashboard yourself. Clicking through the various PivotTable fields to create your intended table in Excel could cost more time in the long run.
What is the best way to export Power BI to Excel?
Option 1: Export data from a Power BI visual – it is useful when you are simply looking to obtain the data underlying a visual on a Power BI report.
Option 2: Analyze in Excel – it is more suitable if you want to study your Power BI datasets. By importing the entire dataset, you have more flexibility, as long as you make sure that your metrics are created in advance so you can use them in your tables and graphs.
Option 3: Get Data from within Excel – it’s a relatively quick and easy way to export Power BI data to Excel. However, if you didn’t create the Power BI dashboard yourself, selecting the correct PivotTable fields could be time-consuming.
How to export Power BI to PowerPoint or Word
Good news! You can now export Power BI visuals to PowerPoint or Word using UpSlide’s Power BI Link! This feature allows you to access your Power BI reports and dashboards directly from PowerPoint or Word, choose the visuals you need and insert them into your presentation in a few clicks.
Once your Power BI is linked to your PowerPoint or Word, you can also update your entire presentation or specific visuals with the latest data by simply clicking the ‘Update Links’ button.
UpSlide’s Power BI Link enables you to reduce your time spent on low value-added tasks and be sure the data in your presentation is always up-to-date.
Do you want to know more about Power BI?
Here are some resources to help you learn more about Power BI:
- Read the article “How, and why, do finance professionals use Power BI?“
- Get a full Power BI training session by Finance 3.1 experts
- Watch this video on “The Powerful Interactions between Excel & Power BI” by the Power BI Community
- Access Microsoft’s Power BI Guide