Jun 25, 2010 at 7:46 PM
Edited Jun 25, 2010 at 8:10 PM
Want to check out PowerPivot. It seems to be a generalization on Pivot Tables where instead of one underlying table there are multiple tables with relationships between them. In some sense, instead of creating a Pivot Table from a single underlying table, you can create the PowerPivot from an underlying JOIN where the JOIN more accurately reflects the business object - or rather the collection of its instances.

Downloaded the data – so where’s a tutorial? The best I found was:

Technet tutorial

I didn’t find it very well organized. I imported from ContoSales (access db) and filtered as indicated by the instructions. And got a large window where each table name is a tab at the bottom.

Ok that’s great. Finally figured out to simply click on PivotTable (Reports) which puts the resulting PivotTable (PowerPivot) in an Excel spreadsheet. Pulled things around while arranging them and formatted numbers as I’ve done before so that I have a reasonably interesting result.


The tutorial might be amended to add this final step. One likes to see a result.

It would also be nice to have Product Categories such as, say, Digital Cameras – all I find are integer ids.
Jun 30, 2010 at 4:21 PM
Hi Pat, I didn't consider that people would be starting their PowerPivot learning from CodePlex -- I'll be adding links from CodePlex to the PowerPivot portal page as well as directly to the tutorial so future downloaders won't have to search as you did. This is great feedback -- thanks! From your comments about how you used the tutorial, it sounds as if you didn't follow the Tutorial in order? Or perhaps only completed the first topic in the Tutorial? Importing the Access DB is only the first topic in the tutorial. There are 10+ topics in the Tutorial which take you from importing data from multiple sources, creating relationships, building analyses with PivotCharts/PIvotTables/Slicers, analyzing results. Links from topic to topic are included at the bottom of each topic as well as in the TOC. -Michele
Jul 1, 2010 at 2:05 PM

Michele, can you also share your powerpoint slides ?

Jul 2, 2010 at 7:38 PM

Hi - what was confusing about the first part of the Tutorial is that it has you Add Data four different ways and the instructions never mention a 'final result' (an actual pivot table).  Which is but one step and once I figured that out, it was easy enough.  I'd like to enter sample data; get a Pivot Table; and then explore that data some before going on to further steps.

I'm doing this in a limited amount of spare time.  At the moment, I spend most of the day booted into Linux (Kubuntu) which limits how much I can even look at Excel 2010 and PowerPivot.

I'll go on next to Relationships - I expect the topic to be interesting.  But I was also hoping that someone might address the issue of Product Category Labels.  I found only integer ids for the product categories.  Not very illuminating.  Maybe labels are there and I didn't find them?  But if they're not there I'd like to see them because this is, at least for me, one of the first ways I'd slice and dice so as to explore the data itself.  There's a sort of dialectic between software mechanisms and business meanings.  One of the best things about how I've used pivot tables targeted to olap cubes in the past is my ability to construct interesting or even new business meanings.  I'm a programmer but as I've put past cubes into the hands of even CEOs, when a lightbulb goes on in their heads .. that's fascinating.