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Today, Microsoft launched their latest Excel add-in, Data Explorer. This tool provides an intuitive user interface and a seamless experience for data discovery, data transformation and enrichment. For those who find the name sounds familiar, it is probably because you used the tool when it was SQL Azure Lab project in 2011. This release however is a preview of a new set of features that are coming soon to Excel!
Microsoft “Data Explorer” Preview for Excel allows you to import data from a wide variety of traditional and non-traditional data sources such as CSV, Windows Azure SQL Database, Oracle, MySQL, Sharepoint list, OData Feed, Facebook, etc. This imported data can then be merged and shaped to match your data analysis requirements or prepare it for further analysis and modeling by tools such as PowerPivot and PowerView.
Data Explorer - Other Sources options
Data Explorer introduces a query editor which provides users with a simple way to define and shape their data. The editor allows you to perform tasks like filter, hide columns, transform data, split a column of text, to name a few. There is also a Steps pane that allows you to add, edit, reorder or delete query steps to ensure your data is transformed in the way you need.
Data Explorer - Query Editor
Microsoft “Data Explorer” Preview for Excel is another step towards improving self-service Business Intelligence by giving business users more capabilities to import, explore and analyze data with familiar tools!