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Power BI is NOT Excel

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

Today's competitive environment has tools that allow us to evaluate data and translate databases into understandable information quickly and intuitively. More and more businesses are discovering the value of data analysis and how it can help them improve their performance and revenues. That is why it is critical to use the appropriate tool so that specialists can get the most out of their labour. Excel and Power BI are two of the most widely used data analysis applications on the market, but which is preferable?

Both Excel and Power BI are Microsoft products used for data processing and analysis, albeit their capabilities differ.

Excel, part of Office 365 and first released in 1985 is a programme that almost everyone is familiar with. You have almost definitely used Microsoft Excel at some point, whether you are an expert in data analysis or work with data. The program includes a spreadsheet format, dividing data into rows and columns and allowing users to execute computations and mathematical procedures rapidly. It is also used to transform data sets into visual information, similar to Power BI.

On the other hand, Power BI is a set of business-oriented tools, software services, and business intelligence applications. In other words, Power BI is a platform with a narrower focus than Excel — data processing in business environments — albeit it can be applied to various industries. Power BI can connect to a wide variety of data sources of multiple sizes, including Excel spreadsheets, relational and non-relational databases, cloud services, files in various formats, Big Data tools, web apps, and so on. It also features strong graphic and data transformation capabilities in reports, dashboards, and customized, appealing, interactive, and simple-to-understand visualizations.

As a result, Excel and Power BI have a lot in common: both can retrieve data in many formats and convert it to visual information. Excel and Power BI are also updated regularly, with each new version bringing new features and improvements.

So, what are the differences between them?

Before we begin, it's important to note that the capabilities and features outlined below apply to end-user use of the programmes. Furthermore, when we talk about Excel, we refer to the standard version of the application, not the Power modules, which provide Excel with some of the sophisticated features found in Power BI.

Power BI vs Excel

  • Excel is a spreadsheet programme that may be used to organize, transform, and calculate data. On the other hand, Power BI was designed as a business intelligence and data visualization tool.

  • Excel has limitations when it comes to the amount of data it can handle. On the other hand, Power BI can manage significantly larger amounts of data.

  • Excel's connectivity capacity is restricted, whereas Power BI can connect to many data sources. Power BI, unlike Excel, can also be accessed from a mobile device.

  • Power BI is faster than Excel at processing data.

  • Dashboards created with Power BI are more aesthetically appealing, dynamic, and configurable than those created with Excel.

  • Power BI is a more capable tool than Excel in terms of comparing tables, reports, or data files.

  • Excel is more user-friendly and simple to use than Power BI.


After thoroughly examining both programs, we can conclude that Excel and Power BI are both quite comprehensive systems for working with, analyzing, and processing data. They do, however, have distinct properties and functions.

To say that one tool is better than the other takes a considerable risk because their capabilities will vary depending on what you want to do with your data. Excel is a superior choice if you wish to modify and convert data, perform searches, perform computations, apply mathematical formulas, or produce complex tabular reports. Working with Big Data, creating visuals, working in teams, integrating data from different sources, analyzing data to obtain indicators, conclude, and making data-driven decisions are all better suited to Power BI.

Excel, in general, provides for greater data manipulation than Power BI. In other words, it provides a wider range of features and is a good choice for seasoned data analysts.

On the other hand, Power BI is a more comprehensive program in other aspects, making it suitable for enterprises and companies who need to analyze big volumes of data quickly, collaborate, translate data into insights, update data regularly and visually present information. In addition to that, Power BI certified professionals are in high demand.

If you enjoy analyzing data and using Power BI to discover and unlock data insights, then the our Microsoft Power BI training (PL-300T00 Microsoft Certified: Power BI Data Analyst) certification could be the ideal credential for you—especially if you use those insights to provide easy-to-understand data visualizations that can help drive the success of your team and organization.


How does Power BI vary from Microsoft Excel?

What is the use of Excel in Power BI?


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