BI capabilities in Power BI for Office 365, Excel, and SharePoint Online

 Note    The information in this article applies to Excel 2013 and SharePoint Online Enterprise. If you’re looking for information about Excel Services in SharePoint Server 2013 (on premises), see Business intelligence in Excel and Excel Services (SharePoint Server). Business intelligence capabilities are not supported in Office 365 operated by 21Vianet.

Excel, SharePoint, and Power BI

Business intelligence (BI) is essentially the set of tools and processes that people use to gather data, turn it into meaningful information, and then make better decisions. In Office 365 Enterprise, you have BI capabilities available in Excel, SharePoint Online Enterprise, and Power BI for Office 365. These services enable you to gather data, visualize data, and share information with people in your organization across multiple devices.

What do you want to do?


Use Excel to gather and visualize data

In just a few simple steps, you can create charts and tables in Excel.

Example of an Excel Services dashboard

Step 1: Get data

In Excel, you have lots of options to get and organize data:

  • Using Power Query, you can discover and combine data from different sources, and shape the data to suit your needs.
  • You can create a Data Model in Excel that contains one or more tables of data from a variety of data sources. If you bring in two or more tables from different databases, you can create relationships between tables by using Power Pivot.
  • In a table of data, you can use Flash Fill to format columns to display a particular way.
  • And, if you’re an advanced user, you can set up calculated items in Excel.

Step 2: Visualize data

Once you have data in Excel, you can easily create reports:

  • You can use Quick Analysis to select data and instantly see different ways to visualize that data.
  • You can create lots of charts that include tables, line charts, bar charts, radar charts, and so on.
  • You can create PivotTables and drill into data by using Quick Explore. You can also use the Field List for a report to determine what information to display.

Step 3: Add filters

You can add filters, such as slicers and timeline controls to worksheets to make it easier to focus on more specific information.

Step 4: Add advanced analytic capabilities

When you’re ready, you can add more advanced capabilities to your workbooks. For example, you can create calculated items in Excel. These include:

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Use SharePoint Online to share and view workbooks

If your organization is using team sites, you’re using SharePoint Online, which gives you lots of options to share workbooks. You can specify Browser View Options that determine how your workbook will be displayed.

You can display workbooks in gallery view like this, where one item at a time is featured in the center of the screen:

Sample workbook displayed in gallery view

You can display workbooks in worksheet view, like this, where a whole worksheet is displayed in the browser:

Sample workbook displayed in worksheet view

And, you can even display an item or a worksheet in a special container that is called the Excel Web Access Web Part, like this:

Sample workbook displayed in an Excel Web Access Web Part

When a workbook has been uploaded to a library in SharePoint Online, you and others can easily view and interact with the workbook in a browser window. Watch the following video to see how it works.

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Use Power BI for Office 365 to access more BI capabilities in the cloud

Power BI for Office 365 gives you even more BI capabilities than what you get in Excel and SharePoint Online. Power BI for Office 365 provides you with a robust, self-service BI solution in the cloud.

Power BI mobile app home page

Key features include:

  • Support for larger workbooks. Power BI for Office 365 can support workbooks up to 250 MB, provided the workbooks are configured a certain way.
  • Power BI Q&A, which enables you to ask questions and get answers using natural language queries.
  • Power BI sites on Power BI for Office 365, which enables you to transform a basic SharePoint site into a visual, dynamic way to view and share Excel workbooks with others. Workbooks are displayed in thumbnail images so it’s easy for people to see and select the workbooks they want to use.
  • Power BI Windows Store app, which is an application that is available in the Windows Store. You can use Power BI app to view and interact with Excel workbooks on a Windows tablet.

These are just some of the powerful new BI capabilities that are available in Power BI for Office 365. For more information, see Power BI for Office 365.

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Learn more about BI in Office and SharePoint

BI in Office and SharePoint

Get the poster

Download this poster to learn more about BI tools in Office and SharePoint.

The poster summarizes all the BI tools that are available—on premises and in the cloud—with links to additional information about each tool.

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Applies to:
Excel 2013, Excel Online, SharePoint admin center, SharePoint Online Enterprise (E1), SharePoint Online Enterprise (E3 & E4), SharePoint Online Midsized Business