This is a further article in my series where I share with you what I have learnt about the InfoRiver custom visual. As good as Power BI is, it will take Microsoft many more years to make it fully featured. Microsoft Excel is 37 years old, and I can assure you it wasn’t fully featured when it was first released (I remember 😊). Custom visuals are one way for third parties to deliver additional capabilities on top of the base that Microsoft has built, meaning that end users can immediately access additional capabilities over what is in the standard product.
InfoRiver Export to Excel
Today my video and article will cover the InfoRiver Export to Excel capabilities. The video starts off by showing what the standard Power BI export to Excel feature is like, then I set about highlighting the great additional features that InfoRiver provides. Finally, I demonstrate an advanced use case where you can use InfoRiver to create a budget using a previous year’s sales data, and then reimport that budget back into Power BI for analysis.
Here is a quick summary of the features covered in the video. I encourage you to download the free 15-day InfoRiver Trial and follow along with the video if you like. Here is a copy of the AdventureWorks workbook I used to make that easier.
Most conditional formatting will be retained on export
- Text colour and number formatting, including summarized data like $2.4 million
- Colour background conditional formatting
- Data bars conditional formatting.
Manually Add Notes
Any notes that are added at cell level, row level or column level, or at the column header level will be retained.
- Tool Tip notes in InfoRiver will be hover over comments in Excel.
- The notes column will come across as a new column in Excel.
- Here is a more detailed video showing the notes capability.
The standard way to deliver paginated reports in Power BI is to use the new PBI Report Builder tools. These tools are essentially migrated versions of SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS). This product has been around for about 18 years. There’s nothing wrong with it, but you should understand that building SSRS reports is an entirely different skill on top of Power BI. I am not saying that you can’t learn it – you can – but it will take time, effort and commitment to get it working for you.
InfoRiver has some inbuilt pagination capability that I also demo in this video. This pagination can be leveraged when Exporting to Excel so that you end up with a multi tab Excel workbook.
Expandable hierarchies on rows in an InfoRiver matrix will be exported to the native Excel Group, Show/Hide detail feature.
Advanced Use Case: Budgeting
In this more advanced demo, I do the following:
- Use InfoRiver to visualise sales for a full year (2018 in my demo).
- I then use the manual input feature to automatically generate a budget for 2019 using the sales in 2018 to distribute the budget.
- I make some tweaks to the budget based on my product plans for 2019
- Export the budget to Excel
- Import the budget back into the model for analysis using InfoRiver
You can repeat these process steps multiple times to generate different budget scenarios, and then use Power BI and InfoRiver to compare and analyse the scenarios before making the final decision on which scenario to use.
Video Deep Dive
Ok, enough with the words, here is the video. The first 15 mins shows the features of Export to Excel, and the second half of the video shows the advanced budgeting use case.
What do you think?
I would love to hear what you think about these Export to Excel capabilities. Do you like them? Do they add value to you? Do you think this could be a substitute for paginated reports?