Excel vs PowerBI: Best Top 15 Differences You Must Know..!!

Excel Vs Powerbi

Excel vs PowerBI has many differences in their functionalities and how the data is presented and connected with other sources where Excel is much easier to use than PowerBI. PowerBI has a certain upper hand like better visualization and we should also remember that excel is very limited to sharing reports which PowerBI overcomes.

PowerBI is a business analytics tool from Microsoft that helps build various dashboards and reports and deal with millions of rows of data at high speed. In contrast, Excel is a tool from Microsoft with various built-in tools and functions that can be used for mathematical functions, forecasting and charts or graphs, etc. PowerBI is more favorable with mobile devices because of IOS, Android, and Windows apps, while Microsoft Excel is not eco-friendly. Here we learn about the main differences between Excel vs PowerBI. Let’s begin,

What are Excel and PowerBI?


Microsoft Excel is an electronic spreadsheet application. Excel allows users to store, organize, calculate and operate the data with formulas using a spreadsheet system dispersed by rows and columns. It also provides the flexibility to use an external database to analyze, make reports, and save lots of time.

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Features of Excel

  • Inserting a pivot table
  • Sorting of tabulated data
  • Adding formulas to the sheet
  • Calculating large data


PowerBI is a collection of software services, apps, and connectors that work together to turn your separate data sources into reasonable, visually immersive, and interactive visualization. Your data may be an Excel spreadsheet or a collection of cloud-based and on-premises mixture data warehouses.

Features of Power BI

  • PowerBI desktop
  • Visibility 
  • Import excel data
  • Custom visualization

Popularity among Excel vs PowerBI

Excel vs PowerBI

As you see in the graph, most people prefer Excel over PowerBI because Excel handles limited data sets, and PowerBI handles large datasets. Excel does not have advanced cross-filtering between charts, and on the other hand, PowerBI allows advanced features in cross-filtering between charts. Excel has limited visualization, and PowerBI has plenty of visualization to design the dashboards.

Excel vs PowerBI: Comparison Table

BasisExcelPower BI
ApplicationsExcel does have some new charts, and they can’t connect to the data model.Power BI is ideal for control panels, alerts, KPIs, and visualization, analyzing your data visually.
Tabular styleExcel is better at controlling tabular style reports.Power BI is not so useful for tabular-style reports.
ReportsExcel reports are normal and typical comparing Power BI.Power BI offers beautifully branded reports comparing excel. 
ToolExcel is your conventional spreadsheet program with a very long history, leading to a vast array of features.Power BI is an advanced version of analytics tool with a large number of features to play with data.
Data modelExcel is focused on structured and simple data models with a wide range of features.Power BI is really focused on data ingest and building potentially complex data models easily.
Data setsCapable of handling limited datasets.Capable of handling large datasets.
FlexibleDataset and reports are not so flexibleSharing data and reports is very flexible.
Cost to acquireWe need to spend any added amount to procure and build dashboards.Power BI is free to download and use for personal use, but it takes $10 per month per customer to share reports with others.
DashboardUsers have limited features to build up reports.Users can build up customized dashboards. 
Processing speedThe processing speed with tables, graphs, and filtering is slow.Faster processing with table, graph, and filtering.
RequirementsExcel is mostly used for huge driver analysis.Power BI is mostly used for visualization and dashboard sharing.
Language dependencyMDX language for querying data modelDAX language for querying data model.
PurposeExcel is a historical analysis tool for analysts.Powerquery is a good idea to simplify the cleaning and crunching of many sources of data.
PopularExcel applications are difficult to use compared to Power BI.Powerful tool and easy to compare excel.
Excel vs PowerBI

Why use Power bI over Excel?

Cloud service

Power BI offers is able to utilize cloud service. This allows you to safely backup your data to a remote location. It also makes sharing of data seamless. You can use cloud services to gather reports from other web-based services, such as salesforce.

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Mobile accessibility

Mobile accessibility and functionality are integrated into Microsoft excel. However, it is not for being the most user-friendly feature. Microsoft Power BI offers additional functionality by allowing customers to customize how they view the reports on this type of platform. Navigating through your spreadsheet in formation is far more fluid and intuitive.

Visualization options

Power BI allows the user to choose from a wide range of data visualization solutions. These include detailed charts, graphs, etc., that you can easily implement depending on your situation and needs. For those who require other visualization options, you can download alternatives in the place section of the Microsoft PowerBI software.

Data alerts

Power BI aims to be in-built as possible to ensure accessibility and convenience. Its data notify feature is one of the unique ways it accomplishes this. Users can create rule sets on their reports that can be used to alert them automatically once certain criteria are met.  

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Workspace station

Every small company often finds itself having to create and receive reports from different sources. As your company grows, the number of reports is also growing. It allows you to create a workspace that you can use to integrate all of the data. Once together, you can inspect and analyze the data sets.

Management speed

One of the most significant drawbacks of having a project in Microsoft Excel is the famous slowdown that occurs when editing cells. It is not workable to break this information up into smaller projects. Microsoft Power BI comes provided with an algorithm that facilitates data model compression. 

Excel Vs PowerBI: How is Power BI better than Excel?

With data playing a vital role to modify businesses from scratch, new tools and technologies are introduced day by day to reap the benefits of big data. Microsoft Excel has been the preferred data management and visualization tool. It is one of the widely used and popular spreadsheets applications globally. 

Power BI is a popular spreadsheet data visualization tool from Microsoft, has made it easy for a business to essence intelligence from various data sources with ease. It offers business analytics and intelligence services that are interactive, easy to use, and secure.

Microsoft provides a wide range of PowerBI features and functionalities to turn into meaningful information. This includes external data sources such as SQL tables, cubes, data, and more. When it comes to PowerBI, you can select any data type you want, including data from any app or services, reports, workbooks, databases, or excel.

What are the Similarities between Excel vs PowerBI?

  1. They both use Power query and Power pivot.
  1. Integration between Excel and PowerBI.
  1. Additional Office integration with a team, power apps, etc.


We discuss similarities and differences between Excel vs PowerBI. Excel and PowerBI both are Microsoft products. Excel is an older product of Microsoft, and PowerBI was launched a few years ago. Excel is a better option if you want to handle and transform data, do searches calculations, apply mathematical formulas, or create complex tabular reports. 

PowerBI is more suitable for working with big data, creating a visualization, integrating data from multiple sources, and making data-driven decisions. PowerBI mobile apps for android and iPhone users make viewing and analyzing reporting incredibly easy. Excel can be tricky due to the small screen size and simplified functionality.

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FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can PowerBI replace Excel?

Microsoft PowerBI will not replace Excel as a go-to data analytics software presently. Both tools fulfill different roles in data analysis; Excel is used in small ad-hoc analyses, But PowerBI is used for large-scale business intelligence.

Is Excel the best software ever?

Since Excel has been continually updated, overtaken all competitors, sold more than a billion copies, and is arguably the most important business software globally.