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John Paul Cook

BI Beginner: Data Explorer is a must have

Data Explorer will speed up and simplify your data analysis by at least an order of magnitude. It makes data just work for me. No fighting or struggling, it just works.

Step 1. Go here and download the Data Explorer Preview for Excel 2013 or Excel 2010.

Step 2. Install Data Explorer.

Step 3. Start Excel. Don’t hold back, go all out and Enable Advanced Query Editing.


Figure 1. Check Enable Advanced Query Editing.

Step 4. Open a workbook.

Step 5. Click DATA EXPLORER.


Figure 2. New DATA EXPLORER tab in Excel 2013. Click Online Search to quickly find data.

Step 6. Click Online Search. Search for something that interests you. I picked one of my research interests, infant mortality.


Figure 3. Search results showing online data sources.

Until you do this, you will not appreciate how ultra cool this really is. When you do a mouseover on any of your search results, the Preview tab shows you what the data will look like when pulled into Excel. True WYSIWYG.

Notice that the search result that has mouse focus has a USE hyperlink. Click USE to actually bring the data into Excel. Again, until you do this, it’s difficult to appreciate how well this feature works. Go take a look here at the data I selected. The text on the Wikipedia page was consumed and loaded into Excel. That is extremely powerful and useful.

Here’s how to use Data Explorer to navigate data on the web.



Figure 4. Click From Web and enter the a URL of a web page containing data.

The Query Navigator appears. Notice that it provides navigation to all of the consumable data sources on the page.


Figure 5. Query Navigator.

Easy. Powerful. Quick. Once Data Explorer was added to Excel, it took me much less than 2 minutes to search for my data, preview it, select it, import it, and then examine it further with the Navigator.

Published Monday, March 25, 2013 11:50 PM by John Paul Cook

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Jack Centjesverdienen said:

Thx, that was what I was looking for ..I had sometimes difficult to bring it into excel..

March 26, 2013 6:58 PM

Sean C said:

Hey John,

Great article, Data Explorer is turning out to be a really interesting tool. Our DaaS platform, has a lot of potential to work with it, as we have over 4 million datasets that can be pulled in through DE, or other tools and packages. We're currently trying to figure out how it can integrate best, but for any readers looking to try it out, any of our datasets can be used with it right now. As well, if anyone has any feedback, would love to hear it.



March 28, 2013 4:53 PM

Sunil said:

Nice and useful feature...thanks John for sharing this

April 4, 2013 2:29 PM

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About John Paul Cook

John Paul Cook is a database and Azure specialist in Houston. He previously worked as a Data Platform Solution Architect in Microsoft's Houston office. Prior to joining Microsoft, he was a SQL Server MVP. He is experienced in SQL Server and Oracle database application design, development, and implementation. He has spoken at many conferences including Microsoft TechEd and the SQL PASS Summit. He has worked in oil and gas, financial, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. John is also a Registered Nurse currently studying to be a psychiatric nurse practitioner. Contributing author to SQL Server MVP Deep Dives and SQL Server MVP Deep Dives Volume 2. Connect on LinkedIn

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