Post by Rob Collie


Another Excellent Step:  Power BI Desktop Now Converts Excel Power Pivot Workbooks

Download the Latest Version of Desktop and Try It

I know, I know.  I’ve been talking about Power BI Desktop a lot lately. But to be fair, I had written NOTHING about it until very recently, so there was a backlog of sorts to be cleared.  I feel like that “behind-ness” has now been adequately addressed by posts here and here, with additional posts here and here by Avi and Andrew, respectively.

But now, they’ve added something significant that you likely find quite interesting:  you can take your existing Power Pivot workbooks and convert them to Power BI Desktop (PBIX) files.

Download the Latest Power BI Desktop

Brings in Data Sources, DAX, Relationships, Queries, Power View…

power bi desktop version diagram

All of These Tables, Relationships, Calc Columns, and Measures
Were Created in Power Pivot for Excel 2013

I don’t have time at the moment to test everything out, but on the surface it appears to all be working.

I’ve tried briefly importing Power Queries and Power View sheets, and both worked.

It does NOT do anything with your “regular” Excel sheets, so no pivots, cube formulas, etc. get converted.  But this is to be expected.  PBI Desktop would have to BE Excel in order to do that.

What Doesn’t Work:  2010 Workbooks (Yet?)

I tried loading a 2010 Power Pivot workbook and got an unfriendly error:

Annotations are allowed on Script Command objects only for Tabular databases with CompatibilityLevel equal to 1103 or higher.

Probably Should Just Say “2010 Workbooks Aren’t Supported Yet”

I have to think that support for 2010 workbooks is in their plans, though.  Power Pivot 2010 is still VERY popular, and one of the primary reasons that Power BI Desktop exists is in order to circumvent the “we aren’t running the latest Excel version” problem.

Step in the Right Direction.  Additional Steps Remain.

1) We need to be able to go the OTHER way as well.  Yeah, PBIX models need to be convertible into Excel files.  Yeah, I know that’s super difficult for the engineering teams.  Here’s an idea:  just give us a converter utility, don’t try to retro-port such capability back into Excel itself.  If it can grab the Power Pivot and Power Query stuff and create a workbook with no visuals, that’s great.  And if it only works for Excel 2013+, OK.

2) We need the ability to connect Excel directly to models.  Avi has been banging this drum loudly.  He will continue, and for good reason.

3) And oh yeah, 2010 import support as mentioned above.

Then the circuit will be complete.