Power Pivot and Power BI - Similarities and Differences

Power Pivot And Power BI – Perfect Guide To Differences And Similarities

Whenever it comes to getting business insights by processing large chunks of data, Excel is not enough. Two popular tools can help you do so, Power Pivot and Power BI. Although both the tools are offered by Microsoft and can be used for data analysis, they share differences.

We compare the Power BI vs. Power Pivot to help you understand what they have in common and yet what makes them different from each other.

Comparison of Power Pivot and Power BI

Power Pivot is the Excel add-in that helps users perform complex calculations and import large amounts of data from different sources. In contrast, Power BI is a data visualization tool that helps users tell the story by representing the analyzed data in a visual form.

You can get business insights using both these tools, but the way they represent the insights is quite different. Let’s check the comparison of Power Pivot and Power BI.

Features Power Pivot Power BI
Software Type Add-in for Excel SaaS (Software as a Service)
Uses Used as data analysis and calculation tool Used as a data visualization tool
Can work on raw data Yes Yes
Connectivity with SaaS services No Yes
Collect data from various sources for processing Yes Yes
Visualization Can create charts, pivot charts, and other basic analytical models Can create complex models that are difficult or impossible to create in Excel
Sharing of Reports The person needs to have Excel to view the reports. You can still view them in a browser if they are shared through SharePoint. Anyone can view the reports without having to install any specific app or software. The sender and recipient need to have a Power BI Pro license if they are not on the Premium List. You can embed reports into websites and blogs for public viewing, but here there is no control over who is viewing your report.
Learning curve and training If you know Excel, you can get started with Power Pivot without any special training. You need to learn and understand the tool thoroughly before using it.
Formula Language DAX DAX and M
User Interface It is not visually appealing and intuitive. It is intuitive and can be understood easily.
Automatic Reports Refresh No Yes, you can schedule the reports to get them generated automatically in specific durations.
Components Power Pivot is a unified tool, and there are no differentiable components. There are three main parts of Power BI, where each part does different tasks:

Power BI Desktop, Service, and Mobile apps

Dashboard customization option No Yes
Reports in tabular form Yes No
Pricing Comes with Excel and Office products; no need to purchase separately. Power BI Pro starts at USD 9.99 per month.

Caption: Comparison table for Power Pivot and Power BI

Now you know the differences and similarities between both of these tools. If you are already in the Microsoft ecosystem, you can choose which one to adopt from these two tools for your use case.

However, if you are not already in the Microsoft ecosystem and are looking for the best data visualization service to pick, you might also want to consider Google Data Studio. Our comparison of Power BI vs Google Data Studio may help with that.


It is easy to get confused between various tools available for processing and analyzing data because they all perform similar tasks. Both Power Pivot and Power BI can collect data from multiple sources, process it, and generate reports. However, there is a significant difference in the way they do these tasks.

Power BI is primarily a data visualization tool, and therefore it can represent data in a form that can impress your investors and clients. On the other hand, if you only want to perform complex calculations and don’t care about the presentation technique, you can opt for Power Pivot, which comes in free with Excel.

The final decision of which tool to opt for, be it Power Pivot and Power BI, depends on your business needs, types of clients, and data to be processed.



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