I have a unique perspective on this phenomenon, thanks to a real-world example that is relevant to this book. A woman takes her seat for a cross-country business flight and is pleased to see that her seatmate appears to be a reasonably normal fellow. However, this guy is the exception, and asks the dreaded follow-up question: "Oh, neat! What does that mean? Worse than that actually: it often makes the single-serving friend recoil a bit, and express a sentiment bordering on pity. Do you occasionally find yourself in the same position?

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Share on linkedin LinkedIn Howdy again, folks. Jeff Weir here, borrowing the keys to the blog off Chandoo again. In less words, I promise. Does my data look flat in this? Well, PivotTables are such finicky eaters that they only like digital Pizza.

That is, if you want a PivotTable to fully digest your data directly from the worksheet, then you need to lay that data out in a hierarchical structure that obfuscating geeks like to call a flat file.

You or I call a flat file a table. Answer: Anything that fits under the door. So your picky PivotTable will only eat flat, boring old Tables.

In fact, it will only eat ONE table, and that table better have good labeling of all the ingredients i. The BOSS wants you to mix a little bit of this table with a tiny bit of that table, then add a sprinkling of some other table over the top as garnish.

So what did you do? And then you repeated this VLOOKUP frenzy for each and every other column that you ended up bringing into your steam-rolled mega-flat pivot-ready data-set. All of which resulted in one very bloated filesize, compared to the original footprint of the underlying tables.

And while you managed to serve up the order just in time, boy did you make a mess back in the kitchen. Formulas everywhere, and the whole joint is slowing down as a result. Or are you? No fast data joint should be without it! If PowerPivot was marketed on the Shopping Channel, then some obnoxiously loud voice would say something like this about it: It slices. It dices. It joins. It cooks. It cleans. It washes up. It takes up practically no bench-space.

Chandoo, that title is way too descriptive. Indeed, no modern fast data joint should be without it. But back to how it helps with bloat, the subject of this post. PowerPivot cuts through potential bloat, because it is a lot less fussy than Old-School-Pivots about what it eats: It allows you to create pivots on the fly from any mix of multiple data sources — Access, SQL, Excel Tables, Web Data, etc — and then effortlessly slice, dice, and navigate to your hearts content.

You can create very powerful calculated fields within PivotTables that simply are not possible to replicate with in traditional pivots.

Rob Collie puts in a guest appearance in one of the modules, too. And I think that you get a copy of his great book as part of the course fee. But before I return you to your regular schedule, be warned: Chandoo has the following public service message on his PowerPivot landing page that you might want to consider, if your boss is attractive as mine is: Warning: Learning Excel and Powerpivot might suddenly make you boss fall in love with you.

Indeed, that is a good warning that I will heed, Chandoo. About the Author.


DAX Formulas for PowerPivot: The Excel Pro's Guide to Mastering DAX

Share on linkedin LinkedIn Howdy again, folks. Jeff Weir here, borrowing the keys to the blog off Chandoo again. In less words, I promise. Does my data look flat in this?


DAX Formulas for PowerPivot

He was famous for being a tough interviewer. He was tough in ways that went above and beyond the call of duty. In fact, on at least one occasion he made a candidate cry. Not a good thing.


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PowerPivot – the ULTIMATE anti-bloat feature


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