Do you spend time each month cleaning and transforming data into the right format before you can even begin to analyse it or incorporate it into your reports?
Do you perform repetitive data cleansing tasks like:
- Deleting rows, columns, or blanks
- Filtering out data you don’t need
- Fixing the layout so it will work in a PivotTable
- Splitting or joining columns or text
- Removing spaces and special characters from your data
- Merging worksheets, text/CSV files together
- Extracting data from an external database
- Incorporating the next month’s data to an existing report
- ….and all the other laborious repetitive tasks that put you to sleep and give you RSI
Tasks you imagine macros could do in seconds, if only you knew how. Or maybe you have some macros that handle it all but keeping the VBA code up to date is constant task and no one else knows how to update it.
The Good News
If you have Excel 2010, or later, you can use Power Query to automate the tasks of:
- Getting your data – from almost anywhere
- Cleaning and reformatting your data – so it works in PivotTables etc.
- Updating your reports – Power Query will update new or existing Tables, PivotTables or Power Pivot models
You see once you show Power Query where to find your data and how you want it cleaned and reformatted (which is dead easy), it will remember the steps so next time you can simply hit the Refresh button and it’ll do it automatically.
And this means you can get on with the fun part of analysing the data and impressing your boss so you can go home early.
And the best part is there’s NO VBA or programming required.
In fact you’ll be up and running faster than it would take you to learn the equivalent formulas required to perform the same tasks.
What is Power Query?
Power Query is a free add-in built by Microsoft for Excel users like you and I. It’s available in all Desktop versions of Excel 2010 and 2013.
Power Query Ribbon
And in Excel 2016, 2019, 2021 and Office 365 it’s built right into the Data tab in the Get and Transform group:
Power Query Ribbon Excel 2016
It’s also available in Power BI Desktop.
You can download Power Query here. Note: the system requirements on this link are out of date as Power Query now works in all Excel 2010 Desktop SKU’s.
Mac users: Power Query won’t run on a Mac, sorry 🙁 You can install Windows on Mac using Parallels, Boot Camp or VMWare Fusion and then install Excel 2013 or later running under a VM.
What does Power Query do?
1. Power Query gets your data from almost anywhere – the web, databases, Excel files, Facebook, OData, SharePoint, Salesforce etc. and the list keeps on growing with new data sources being added all the time. The image below shows the Get External Data menus:
Power Query Get Data Menus
Note: Microsoft Office 2010 and 2013 Professional Plus, Office 365 ProPlus or Excel 2013/2016/2019 Standalone have the full Power Query feature set.
All other desktop SKUs have the full Power Query feature set, except the following data connectors: Corporate Power BI Data Catalog, Azure-based data sources, Active Directory, HDFS, SharePoint Lists, Oracle, DB2, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Sybase, Teradata, Exchange, Dynamics CRM, SAP BusinessObjects and Salesforce.
2. Power Query enables you to clean, transform, merge and append data with a point and click style GUI that’s easier to learn than formulas or VBA.
Power Query GUI – easy peasy:
Power Query Editor Ribbon
The cool thing is Power Query records your steps so you can automatically use them again and again.
3. Load the data into Excel and or Power Pivot and consume it in your analysis, reports or export elsewhere.
And next month simply press the Refresh All button on the Data tab to update your reports. Power Query will get the new data, clean it just like last time and add it to the table or Power Pivot model for you.
Excel Dashboard made with Power Query and Power Pivot
Power Query is the best Excel tool since PivotTables
A bold claim, I know.
When PivotTables were introduced it was ground breaking for the Excel user. All of a sudden we could summarise huge amounts of data in seconds into reports that gave us insights we didn’t know existed.
Power Query now gives the Excel user a tool that can get data from almost anywhere and enables you to quickly and easily transform the data into a format you can consume in your PivotTables or other reports.
And like VBA or macros (but without the learning curve), once you create a query you can use it again and again to perform the same tasks at the click of the Refresh button so you can get your work done faster.
Power Query is going to empower (no pun intended :-)) the average Excel user in ways not seen since PivotTables were unleashed and your boss will love the speed at which you work.
It will transform the average Excel worker into a self-sufficient data guru because you don’t need advanced formula or macro/VBA skills to use it, nor are you dependent on IT to give the data to you.
All of a sudden (yes, the learning curve is fast) you’ll be able to get, clean and consume your data faster than ever before.
Watch a Sample Tutorial on Splitting Text
Power Query Course
What you get in the Power Query course:
- Hands on Learning – Each Power Query topic I teach you comes with the practice file used in the video, so at every stage you can practice what you learn which helps retain knowledge and build confidence.
- Download the completed Excel Power Query files created during filming and use them as a reference tool that you can go back to later on to refresh your memory.
- With just 6.5 hours of video tutorials you’ll be up and running with Power Query. I cover everything from installing Power Query, getting your data from a range of different sources, cleaning and transforming data, merging, unpivoting, and even writing and editing basic queries using the new Power Query language informally known as M.
- Compatible with Excel 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and Office 365 – the videos are filmed in Excel 2013 and where there is a difference in Excel 2010 I cover that too. So whichever version you have you’ll know what to do. Note: in Excel 2016 onward Power Query has been integrated into the Data tab under the ‘Get and Transform’ group.
- As with all of my courses the pace is pretty fast because I hate courses that waffle on and waste your time. I like to get straight to the point so you’re up to speed fast, and I’ve designed it so that if you need to re-watch anything you can rewind and replay the videos as many times as you like.
- The average video length is under 5 minutes! So you can fit it in on a coffee break, on the train or bus to work, at the airport, or anywhere you have a spare 5 minutes and an internet connection.
- When you’ve finished I’ll send you a ‘Certificate of Completion’ saying you’ve completed the course, which you can add to your resume/CV arsenal.
- BONUS e-Book: M is for (Data) Monkey by Ken Puls and Miguel Escobar. This book is not only a great reference point for Power Query, but will also extend your M programming abilities by teaching you various approaches to common data cleansing scenarios that can be easily solved with Power Query. The e-book is delivered via email 31 days after joining the course.