Mar 10, 2023

Power Bi Vs Excel

Microsoft Excel has been around since 1985 and has become commonplace in the business and academic environment. Power BI, on the other hand, is less than 10 years old, and while it is much less well known, it offers far more powerful features and is a better option in many scenarios.

In this article, we'll go over the key similarities and differences between Power BI and Excel as well as give some guidance on how to choose between these tools for your use case.

What is Power Bi?

Power BI is a cloud-based business intelligence and data visualization service offered by Microsoft. It allows users to connect to multiple data sources, transform and clean data, create interactive data visualizations, and share reports and dashboards with others.

Power BI includes a variety of features such as data modeling, data analysis, and data visualization. Users can create customized dashboards, reports, and visualizations by using various data visualization tools such as charts, graphs, maps, and tables. Power BI also has a natural language query feature that allows users to ask questions in plain language and get answers in the form of visualizations.

Power BI can be used by businesses of all sizes and industries to gain insights into their data, track performance, and make data-driven decisions. It is available as a desktop application, a web-based service, and mobile apps for iOS and Android devices.

Power BI is a powerful data analysis and visualization tool that comes with a wide range of features. Some of the key features of Power BI include:

  • Data Connectivity: Power BI allows users to connect to a wide range of data sources, both on-premises and in the cloud. This includes databases, files, web services, and more.
  • Data Modeling: Power BI allows users to transform and shape data to suit their needs. This includes features such as data cleaning, merging, grouping, and filtering.
  • Data Visualization: Power BI provides a wide range of visualizations that users can use to present their data in a meaningful way. This includes charts, graphs, tables, maps, and more.
  • Dashboard Creation: Power BI allows users to create customized dashboards that bring together data from different sources into a single view. Dashboards can be shared with others, and can be accessed on a range of devices.
  • Natural Language Processing: Power BI includes a natural language query feature that allows users to ask questions in plain language and get answers in the form of visualizations.
  • Collaboration: Power BI allows users to collaborate on reports and dashboards with others, and provides features such as commenting and sharing.

What is Microsoft Excel?

Microsoft Excel is a popular spreadsheet software application that allows users to create, edit, and analyze data in a tabular format. Excel is widely used in business, finance, accounting, and many other industries for a variety of tasks such as creating budgets, analyzing data, and generating reports.

Excel provides users with a grid-like workspace called a worksheet, where data is entered and manipulated. Users can create formulas and functions to perform calculations on the data, and use formatting tools to customize the appearance of the data. Excel also provides a wide range of chart and graph options to help users visualize their data.

Excel has many features, including conditional formatting, data validation, pivot tables, and more. These features make it possible for users to work with large amounts of data efficiently and accurately.

Excel is available as part of the Microsoft Office suite of applications and is also available as a standalone product. It is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems. Additionally, Excel files can be saved in various formats such as .xlsx, .xls, .csv, and more, making it easy to share and collaborate on data with others.

Power BI Vs Microsoft Excel

Microsoft offers two powerful data visualization and analysis tools - Power BI and Excel. While they share some similarities, there are some distinct differences that set them apart. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between Power BI and Excel and highlight some key points.

Data Volume and Complexity

Excel is great for small to medium-sized datasets with limited complexity. However, when it comes to large datasets with multiple data sources and complex relationships, Power BI is the better option. Power BI can handle millions of rows of data, and it can connect to various data sources, including cloud-based services, databases, and spreadsheets.

Data Modeling and Analysis

Excel has robust data modeling and analysis capabilities, but Power BI takes this to the next level. Power BI provides advanced data modeling and analysis features, such as data transformations, advanced data modeling, and data cleansing. These features enable users to create complex data models that allow for more in-depth analysis and insights.


Excel has some basic visualization capabilities, but Power BI is designed explicitly for data visualization and storytelling. Power BI provides a wide range of visualization options, including charts, maps, gauges, and tables. Moreover, Power BI has built-in AI-powered analytics, such as key influencers, that enable users to extract insights quickly and easily.


Excel is a standalone tool, which means it is challenging to collaborate with other users. Power BI, on the other hand, is designed for collaboration. It has built-in sharing and collaboration features that allow users to share reports and dashboards with other users. Moreover, Power BI supports collaboration with various other Microsoft tools such as Teams and SharePoint.

Customization and Integration

Excel provides a lot of customization options, including the ability to create custom formulas and macros. However, Power BI offers even more customization options, including the ability to create custom visuals and extensions. Additionally, Power BI can integrate with various other Microsoft tools, including Excel, SharePoint, and Teams.

Data Refresh

Excel requires manual data refresh, meaning that users must update the data themselves every time they want to view the latest information. Power BI, on the other hand, has an automated data refresh feature that updates the data on a schedule, ensuring that users always have access to the latest information.


Excel is included in Microsoft Office, meaning that most users already have access to the tool. Power BI, however, is a separate product with a licensing fee, making it more expensive than Excel. That being said, there is a free version of Power BI that provides basic functionality.

Data Security

Excel does not provide robust data security features, and users must rely on file-level security to protect their data. Power BI, on the other hand, has built-in data security features that enable users to control who can access their reports and dashboards.

Mobile Access

Excel does not provide a mobile app, meaning that users must access their spreadsheets from a desktop or laptop computer. Power BI, on the other hand, has a mobile app that allows users to access their reports and dashboards from a smartphone or tablet.

Learning Curve

While Excel is a relatively straightforward tool to learn, Power BI has a steeper learning curve due to its advanced features and capabilities. Users who are familiar with Excel may find it easier to transition to Power BI, but there will still be a learning curve involved. Microsoft offers plenty of resources to help users learn Power BI, including tutorials, webinars, and a community forum.

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