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August 2016 updates for Get & Transform in Excel 2016 and the Power Query add-in

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Excel 2016 includes a powerful new set of features based on Power Query technology, which provides fast, easy data gathering and shaping capabilities and can be accessed through the Get & Transform section on the Data ribbon.

Today, we are pleased to announce eight new data transformation and connectivity features that have been requested by many customers.

These updates are available as part of an Office 365 subscription. If you are an Office 365 subscriber, find out how to get these latest updates. If you have Excel 2010 or Excel 2013, you can also take advantage of these updates by downloading the latest Power Query for Excel add-in.

These updates include the following new or improved data connectivity and transformation features:

  • Enhanced SAP HANA connector—allow multi-select of values for variables and parameters.
  • Enhanced OData connector—option to import Open Type columns from OData feeds.
  • Enhanced Access DB connector—new Select Related Tables button to “” in the Navigator dialog.
  • Option to generate Step Names in English within the Query Editor.
  • Description for Query Steps within the Query Editor.
  • Extract Week, Day or Month name from a Date/Time column from the Query Editor.
  • Merge Dates and Times into a Date/Time column from the Query Editor.
  • Extract Start/End of Hour from a Date/Time or Time column from the Query Editor.

Enhanced SAP HANA connector—allow multi-select of values for variables and parameters

With this update, users can now select more than one value for a given variable or parameter when leveraging the SAP HANA connector. This can be achieved via the Navigator dialog.

Enhanced OData connector—option to import Open Type columns from OData feeds

The OData connector now supports importing Open Type columns from OData feeds. Prior to this update, such columns were not supported in Power Query. This option is exposed under the Advanced Options section in the OData connector dialog.

August 2016 updates for Get Transform 1

Enhanced Access DB connector—new Select Related Tables button to “” in the Navigator dialog

We improved the Access Database connector to enable users to easily select related tables by adding the Select Related Tables button into the Navigator dialog. The behavior when clicking this button is the same as for all other databases that already support this capability—it selects all tables that have a direct relationship to any of the already selected tables.

August 2016 updates for Get Transform 2

Option to generate Step names in English within the Query Editor

When creating new Steps in the Query Editor based on transformations from the ribbon, the default Step Names will be based on the transformation name (i.e., SplitColumns, FilteredRows, etc.). These step names will be localized to the current installation language for Excel.

With this update, we introduced a new option to allow users to change this default behavior so that auto-generated step names use the English name for that transformation. This allows users to contribute to a single Excel report using multiple localized desktop versions, but keep the Step names recognizable by all parties (i.e., all in English by default). The new configuration setting is available under Data > New Query > Global > Regional Settings for non-English installations.

August 2016 updates for Get and Transform in Excel 2016 and the Power Query add-in 3

Description for Query Steps within the Query Editor

We also introduced a new Description field for Query Steps within the Query Editor, which gives the users an option to document and provide comments for their query transformations. The new Description field can be accessed from the right-click menu on any Query Step > Properties… command.

August 2016 updates for Get Transform 4

Extract Week, Day or Month name from a Date/Time column from the Query Editor

With this update, the users can now extract the Week, Day or Month names from a given Date/Time column. We’ve made this available from the Query Editor ribbon—either via the Transform tab, to modify an existing column, or via the Add Column tab, to insert a new one.

These two options can be found under Date > Day > Name of Day and Date > Month > Name of Month respectively. Note that the Day and Month names are localized according to the local setting for your current file (available under Data tab of the ribbon > New Query > Query Options > Current Workbook > Regional Settings for your Excel workbook).

August 2016 updates for Get Transform 5

Merge Dates and Times into a Date/Time column from the Query Editor

Another new transformation this month allows users to combine a Date column and a Time column into a single Date/Time column. This can be achieved by selecting those two columns and clicking Combine Date and Time under Date or Time menus in the Transform or Add Columns tabs respectively.

August 2016 updates for Get Transform 6

Extract Start/End of Hour from a Date/Time or Time column from the Query Editor

The last new data transformation this month allows users to easily extract the Start or End of an Hour based on a Date/Time or Time column. These two options can be found under the Time > Hour menu in the Transform and Add Column tabs.

August 2016 updates for Get Transform 7

How do I get started?

Excel 2016 provides a powerful set of capabilities for fast, easy data gathering and shaping, which is available under the Get & Transform section on the Data ribbon. Updates outlined in this blog are available as part of an Office 365 subscription. If you are an Office 365 subscriber, find out how to get these latest updates. If you have Excel 2010 or Excel 2013, you can also take advantage of these updates by downloading the latest Power Query for Excel add-in.

—The Excel team

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12 comments
  1. I *really* would like to see the ability to loop a Power Query, for use with sites where the data comes in batches and you have to issue subsequent requests for each batch. This kind of data is far more common than you seem to think.

    • Hi Steven,

      Can you elaborate a little bit on your scenario? An example will help.

      Guy
      – Excel Team

    • You can often use a table when you need to loop, e.g. 1. Create your import query as a function with parameters for the batch details; 2. Create a table containing the details of each batch; 3. Create a query that first imports your table, then, in a new column, calculates your function for each row.

    • Turn your PQ code into a function. Then, a list input can be used to sequentially populate the function parameter.

      • Hi David,

        Thanks for the clarifications. I am familiar with this pattern, of course. In any case, the best way to influence and promote your feature will be to submit it and vote for it here:
        https://ideas.powerbi.com/forums/265200-power-bi

        This helps us to prioritise our future investments.

        Guy
        – Excel Team

    • Hi Daniel,

      If you are running a perpetual version of Office 2016 then you will still get all the core Get & Transform updates. However, you will not get the new connectors nor the new Excel integration features.

      Guy
      – Excel Team

  2. I downloaded this august update for Excel 2013 and the performance is terrible! I have a lot of queries in one file. With July version, I refreshed data in 4 minutes. With this version, Excel does not respond and I have to finish it w task manager! How can I get back the july version?

    • Do not consider this! I’ve resolved it

      • Thanks for letting us know, Paula!

        Guy
        – Excel Team

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