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SQLBI - Marco Russo

SQLBI is a blog dedicated to building Business Intelligence solutions with SQL Server.
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The Right Version of Excel 2013 for using PowerPivot #powerpivot #excel

UPDATE Aug 16, 2013: Excel 2013 stand-alone now includes Power Pivot (now the name has a space and it is no longer a single word!). This post was originally published on Feb 18, 2013 and is now outdated. If you already have Excel 2013 stand-alone, you should see PowerPivot enabled in an upcoming update.

Many people started using PowerPivot with Excel 2010. In order to start using PowerPivot for Excel 2010, you just have to download the add-in and install it for free. In Excel 2013, PowerPivot is already installed and you just have to enable it. However, you have to be careful about the Excel 2013 version you use, because not all the versions have all the features available.

  • Data Model features available in all Excel 2013 versions
    • Internal xVelocity engine
    • Load multiple tables in a data model
    • Create relationships
    • Navigate a data model with multiple tables using a single PivotTable
    • Use only implicit measures
  • PowerPivot features available in selected versions of Office 2013 (*)
    • Create calculated columns
    • Create calculated fields
    • Use PowerPivot window and all the other features available there
    • Also Power View is available only in these versions of Excel

So what are the version of Office 2013 that enable the usage of PowerPivot features?

Here is the list:

  • Office Professional Plus 2013 via Open, Select or EA (Volume Licensing)
  • Excel 2013 stand-alone UPDATE Aug 16, 2013 - any stand-alone version of Excel 2013 has PowerPivot
  • Office 365 ProPlus via Office 365 ( Subscription when it becomes available (February 27, 2013)

The only way to get these full BI features is through a Microsoft Volume License Agreement or Office 365 service. If you are not included in a Microsoft Volume License Agreement, the only way to get a copy of Excel 2013 that has all PowerPivot and Power View features available is getting an Office 365 ProPlus subscription.

UPDATE Feb 27, 2013: read about a workaround to get a Volume License Agreement for just 30$.

UPDATE Aug 16, 2013: you can get PowerPivot with Excel stand-alone, without the need of any subscription.

This might disappoint those of you that are used to buying a single license that never expires, but there is a good reason to move to Office 365 for using BI features: in the upcoming months and years, you will automatically receive updates of Office before perpetual (non-subscription) customers, and Excel will increase the number of BI features available at a faster cadence than ever before (yes, they promised it!). If you attended MS conferences and/or watched some of the last keynotes of BI speeches, you might have already seen some interesting previews (i.e. 3D mapping with GeoFlow for Excel), and probably more is coming.

Again, it’s important to know that Office Standard 2013 does not include Business Intelligence features, so all the options available when you need fewer than five licences does not include PowerPivot and Power View. You have to get a subscription of Office 365 ProPlus in this case, and the only action you can to today is using the free preview of Office 365 ProPlus until the end of February, when such a subscription will be commercially available.

I have seen some confusion in these first days of Office 2013 availability and for this reason I think it is important to clarify what is the right version of Excel you have to buy in order to use PowerPivot. I will update this blog post as soon as the Office 365 ProPlus will be commercially available.

UPDATE Aug 16, 2013: please remember that now Excel 2013 stand-alone now includes Power Pivot! You no longer need a subscription!

Published Monday, February 18, 2013 1:25 PM by Marco Russo (SQLBI)
Filed under: ,

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Tommy said:

Hi Marco,

I was once contemplate to sign-up the office 365, but before i actually signed up, i came to aware from some web's blogs that there are issue with the office 365. The webofficeapp would not be able to load excel file exceeded 10mb...

all my existing excel files are above 100mb due to huge powerpivot data...

It is real that the office 365 have this limitation?

February 25, 2013 3:43 AM

Marco Russo (SQLBI) said:

Yes the current version has this limitation. You can work locally with any size, but you can upload up to 10 Mb in this version. I expect this limit to raise up over time (I hope a few months).

February 25, 2013 4:32 AM

SQLBI - Marco Russo said:

Rob Collie wrote a very interesting post about the PowerPivot for Excel 2013 licensing . Short recap:

February 27, 2013 9:21 AM

Shane Devensire said:

Suppose I only want use Excel 2013, how do I get access to PowerPivot and other similar features without having to buy the entire Office?  I have no need of Word, PowerPoint, Outlook,......

July 14, 2013 2:48 PM

Marco Russo (SQLBI) said:

Shane, unfortunately I think MS is not selling Excel + PowerPivot stand-alone.

July 15, 2013 1:16 AM

dianne Zinky said:

Thanks Marco - here is the website where you can purchase the office version that has PowerPivot for the subscription version

February 7, 2014 6:25 PM

Excel standalone said:

Marco, on one hand you say Powerpivot is accessible on Excel standalone, and on the other hand you say you cannot buy Excel 2013 on its own (which is not true as each part of Office 2013 can be bought as a standalone software )

August 14, 2014 10:26 AM

Marco Russo (SQLBI) said:

I edited this blog post several times / please consider every UPDATE is something that changed since original post.

August 14, 2014 11:33 AM

Kong said:

How do I do whether my Excel version has built-in power pivot?

I follow the instruction  on starting power pivot and do not have the add-in.

October 24, 2014 12:00 AM

Kong said:

Start Power Pivot in Microsoft Excel 2013 add-in

Important    This feature isn’t available in Office on a Windows RT PC. Power View and Power Pivot are available in the Office Professional Plus and Office 365 Professional Plus editions, and in the standalone edition of Excel 2013. Read Excel 2010 workbooks with Power Pivot don't work in some versions of Excel 2013. Want to see what version of Office you’re using?

Power Pivot in Microsoft Excel 2013 is an add-in you can use to perform powerful data analysis in Excel 2013. The add-in is built into Excel 2013 but is not enabled. Here’s how you enable Power Pivot before you use it for the first time.

   Go to File > Options > Add-Ins.

   In the Manage box, click COM Add-ins> Go.

   Check the Microsoft Office Power Pivot in Microsoft Excel 2013 box, and then click OK. If you have other versions of the Power Pivot add-in installed, those versions are also listed in the COM Add-ins list. Be sure to select the Power Pivot add-in for Excel 2013.

October 24, 2014 12:01 AM

Marco Russo (SQLBI) said:

Kong, thanks for the note! :)

October 24, 2014 12:28 AM

Cristian said:

Hello I just wanted to know  if with office 365 Standar Edition is feasible to open excel files with power pivot?  just to read?


April 22, 2015 11:41 AM

Marco Russo (SQLBI) said:

May 9, 2015 7:02 AM

Ghada Qandah said:

we normally increase the data range in pivot tables by amending the ( change data source ) .

Can you please advise how to update/ increase the data range when dashboard is already created within the powerpivot and need to be updated ?

Many thanks

May 21, 2015 7:41 AM

Kelly said:

Installed Excel stand alone on Windows Server 2012R2 and unfortunately I do not see the PowerPivot Add-in when clicking on ... File --> Option --> Add-Ins --> Manage drop down COM Add-ins --> Go

I've read articles on updating reg, however PowerPivot keys are not present.

I've tried using the PowerPivot trouble shooter:

However error occurs and says "trouble shooter does not apply to this computer" I assume because its Server 2012.

I'm beside My Self and still no answers. Any help you can provide would be extremely grateful.

May 24, 2015 11:40 PM

Marco Russo (SQLBI) said:

@Ghada: you can use stored procedure and/or views, but you don't have an automatic way to do that. You can do something more in Power Query, tying part of the Query to the data source with some parameter that you put in Excel table that you use as another data source for your Query...

@Kelly: Power Pivot requires Excel 2013 Standard Edition or higher version (and make sure you have a current Build - original Build didn't have Power Pivot in Standard Edition but only in Pro Plus edition) - if you have Excel 2010, you need to download the Power Pivot addin for Excel 2010.

June 10, 2015 6:16 AM

Eunice said:

Hi Russo,

I have Excel 2013 Standard Edition version. Could you please let me know how to install Power pivot add-in?

Thank you.

June 30, 2015 6:42 PM

Marco Russo (SQLBI) said:

You should just emable it in COM Addins. If you don't have it, contact Microsoft (you might have an older version of the standard edition that didn't include Power Pivot).

July 3, 2015 7:46 PM

chung said:


I know I can filter data in BISM – Tabular Security Model.  However, we are using Excel 2013 standalone without SSAS.  When we send the excel to the client A, we need to hide client B information.  Which means I need to maintain two separate excels which contains two different information but they are actually from the same DIM and Fact tables but with different ID.  I want to know if there is a easy way to do this without recreating the data model?



July 24, 2015 11:40 PM

Marco Russo (SQLBI) said:

If you read data from SQL Server, you can do this:

- create the model based on views, not on tables

- change the views before refreshing the power pivot model, changing the filters so that only client A or B are read in the data model

I hope it helps.


August 21, 2015 7:07 PM

Elisabete Miranda said:


about this "Yes the current version has this limitation. You can work locally with any size, but you can upload up to 10 Mb in this version. I expect this limit to raise up over time (I hope a few months)."

Now still have this limitation?


October 27, 2015 11:43 AM

Chung Wong said:

Thanks Marco.  Yes, that is what I am thinking but the only issue is if I use views, the powerpivot cannot create the relationship between the DIM and FACT views automatically for me when I start from scratch.  I have over 60 DIM and FACTS.  This is a pain!!!!!

November 4, 2015 9:34 AM

Marco Russo (SQLBI) said:

Elisabete: upload is still limited to 10MB, more details are available here:

Chung: if you have such a complex model, losing time later when some tables will change could be much worse - but are you really sure you need 60 dimensions? It seems not usable to me (I just think to the long list for the user...)

December 27, 2015 3:02 PM

Les Nicholson said:

Hi Marco,

Just bought your book about SS2012 AS. I am working through it to learn the tabular mode.

I have bought SS2014 Developer but I don't have Excel.

Does this way of buying 5 client licenses still apply in 2016 for Excel 2013? I live in Ireland. If not what is the cheapest y to get Power Pivot?



January 29, 2016 11:23 AM

Marco Russo (SQLBI) said:

Sorry I don't know which licensing is applied in Ireland - I suggest you to contact Microsoft sales for that!

January 29, 2016 6:01 PM

Excel Course said:

Over the years, Excel is one of those software's I have used entirely differently for each project. This refresher is very helpful after having a lull in using the Excel for a few years. Thank you!!

July 17, 2017 7:59 AM

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About Marco Russo (SQLBI)

Marco Russo is a consultant, writer and trainer specialized in Business Intelligence with Microsoft technologies. He runs the SQLBI.COM website, which is dedicated to distribute resources useful for BI developers, like Integration Services components, Analysis Services models, tools, technical information and so on. Marco is certified as MCT, MCDBA, MCSD.NET, MCSA, MCSE+I.

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