PowerPivot V2 CTP3!

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“Tell ya what Mom…  just lock me in here tonight.  I will be fine.”

A lot of you are already on the scent, but just in case…

WAHOOOO!

CTP3 = “Public Beta”

What the heck is a CTP, you ask?  Well it’s a “Community Technology Preview.”  You know…  what we used to call a Beta.  Calling it a CTP is a much more grown-up approach.  But it’s silly IMO.  A Beta release of PowerPivot V2 is EXCITING!  “Beta” was, and always will be, a more exciting word.  Do you think the next release of Halo will have a Beta or a Community Entertainment Preview?

But I digress.  These are the important things you need to know:

  1. The public beta of PowerPivot V2 (aka “Denali”) is available!
  2. It contains MANY exciting features (preview below)
  3. Everyone can download it, but I don’t recommend putting it on your “production” computer
  4. Workbooks created in V2 cannot be edited by PowerPivot V1 (V2 “upgrades” V1 workbooks when you open them, but it’s a one-way trip)
  5. This version is buggy enough that you won’t want to use it for everyday work (technically you aren’t really allowed to either), but it does tantalize in a BIG way and already can help you out with V1 (see below)
  6. The final version won’t be available for several months, exact date unknown
  7. Download it :  http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=28150 (UPDATED link to point to the newer RC0, not CTP3.)

Take the Pepsi Challenge

I’m gonna show you two pictures and you tell me which one you prefer.  Ready?

OK – would you rather “eyeball” a PowerPivot model, trying to see which tables relate to which, using this:

PowerPivot Manage Relationships Dialog

imageContinuing the candy theme, that feature is kinda like candy corn – dull and not very inviting.  What’s that you say?  You prefer something more lively?

I agree.

So… maybe, just maybe…  you would prefer something like this little number below…

 

PowerPivot V2 "Denali" - Diagram View

Diagram View – Click for Bigger Version

 

image That’s more like it.  Let’s call this feature a Reese’s.

I debated, say, Sour Skittles.  Or Spree.  Or Fun Dip.

Yeah, Fun Dip.  There’s some nostalgia.  And the color scheme in this picture fits, too.

 

Make Your Own Posters for Free!

This feature is:  Fan.  Freaking.  Tastic.  In fact, this is useful ALREADY.  Why not make a copy of an existing model, load it in V2, and then use V2 to generate this picture?  Print it out, put it on your wall, reference it as you work on the model in V1!

In fact I just sent this to a HostedPowerPivot client today to help them visualize what we’ve cooperatively built in a recent engagement:

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Some PowerPivot Models are More In-Depth Than Others (Again Click for Larger)

In the “looking a gift horse in the mouth” department, there are some warts with this one for sure.  It took me 15 minutes to get the tables to all fit on a single page.  The fonts are small.  And I wish there was a way to toggle between “show details for each table” and “just show a big fat table name that I can read, let me expand for details.”  Because that would fit on a screen much better.

Oh well.  I still love it, even as I immediately crave the next round of must-have improvements.  Such is life.

Another Killer Feature:  Sort-By Column!

See if you can spot the moment of awesome in this picture:

PowerPivot Sorted Labels in a Slicer!

Yeah…  that’s right.  The days of the week in the slicer are sorted CORRECTLY.  There was NO way to control sort order of labels/values in a slicer in V1 without prepending a number and doing something like “1 – Sunday” as your labels.  Blech.

In V2, no problem, here’s the feature you use:

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That one doesn’t require much explanation, I think.

More to come…

There are a few other goodies that I want to share but I have a bunch of real work to do today for Pivotstream – we are developing a new suite of reports and models for our retail suite after an excellent few days of strategizing and planning.  I’m excited to share that as well – I’ve reached the point where I need about three of me to do everything I want to do. That’s a good sign of course, but boy is it tantalizing to leave so much on the table every day.

Stay tuned.  And in the meantime, if you have an extra computer, don’t wait on me.  Go download it!  In fact…

Send me your observations!

If you are messing around with the Beta (yes, BETA damnit), send me your observations.  Things you like.  Things you don’t.  Things that surprised you.  Whatever.

I am Rob.  At a place called PowerPivotPro.  Dot com.  If you get what I’m sayin.

13 Responses to PowerPivot V2 CTP3!

  1. David Hager says:

    I am downloading it now!

  2. Ken Puls says:

    Very cool stuff. Can’t wait to try some of these things out… guess I’m going to have to do it it in a VM though, as I can’t risk breaking the stuff we currently use. :)

  3. Excellent. I saw saw the announcement on Twitter a couple of hours ago. .. A big winner for me would be incremental updates for adding new data to old history. And composite keys… :)

  4. johncon says:

    Downloaded, updated and … omg.. time to uninstall and try again. Wow this thing was buggy. I’ll try again tomorrow. Note to self. Uninstall Powerpivot first, reboot then install Denali. That may help. I hope.

  5. David Hager says:

    Have not seen any buggy issues. Using .net 4.0.

  6. Michiel Rozema says:

    Just downloaded and installed the whole thing, and man, this is exciting!
    Nice first surprise, well second, after diagram view: it looks like linked tables in PowerPivot are updated immediately after changing data in the Excel table. (This is probably what the ‘update mode’ button is for ;-)). This is a great option for Excel users that want to play around with parameters.

    • m-b says:

      That’s good news; you could use VBA to update the Excel data and then you don’t have to manually update the PowerPivot data. That might come in handy in non SharePoint situations…

  7. sam says:

    Most of the above seem to be bug fixes rather than improvements

    Ability to sort on months and days in a non alpha order is something that should have been possible in the first release itself…Like wise grouping dates in Months/years etc

    Any decent query editor (even MS Query) has diagram view

    Finally there is Drill down capabilities like in a normal pivot, you can also set number of records to retrieve..

    MS seems to have got in to this habit of first releasing a half baked product (like say Excel 2007) and the fixing up the bugs and releasing a “brand new nearly baked product” (like 2010)

    However some of the additional DAX functions like…..

    ROW() – Hoping this returns the row number ! like in Excel
    SUMMARIZE() – Hopefully something like Sumproduct and much better than SUMX
    TOPN() – Must be like Large() of Excel
    HASONEVALUE() – Insted if IF(CountRows([Something]) = 1 ……)

    …….Look to be real improvements

    Some of the things like Adding values to rows and columns seem dangerous – Is writing values local or does it write back to the database….both could create problems

  8. Luke Pargiter says:

    Rob, thanks for the quick summary of these exciting new features…

  9. Erik Olsson Dibbern says:

    Hi Rob,

    I have been testing out the new KPI feature in v.2. It seems that you have to create a new measure to be the base in the KPI. Why can´t I use the “Sum of Sales” that is created when I drag and drop in the Pivot Table? Seems like an extra step to create a new measure that most often will be the same as the “Sum of sales”.

    Hopefully, I have misunderstood this and there is a way to use the “Sum of Sales” as it is without having to create a new measure,

    Thanks for all the great posts on this site.

    /Erik

  10. Matti says:

    Hi Rob,

    I think it’s good progress from previous versions but not yet there. Things that I noticed as missing:
    Ability to define parameters by the end user such as date. In other words allowing the end user to define date ranges or other filters without having to go to the data sets.

    Easily group pivot by week, month quarter. I realise you can use DAX but I thing it’s better to group in a similar way to how pivot table for excel work.

    No drill through

    Please let me know if you think any of the above is possible after all.
    Ta

  11. Avijunk says:

    Uh…I am looking for the CTP3 Download of Powerpivot Excel.
    Can someone provide me the link to the CTp3 download?
    The link in the post above has been updated to point to RC0 :-(
    Reason why I need CTp3 is that I upgraded to RC0 which has an additional check on ‘Circular Dependency’ which trips on one of the formula/sort by I had setup using CTP3. RC0 stops me from doing virtually any Powerpivot action, thus I need to go back to CTP3, remove the dependency and then upgrade to RC0.

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