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 This post was originally published on Feb 18, 2013 and is now outdated.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 (www.office365.com) 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!