How to get and transform data in Microsoft Excel

How to get and transform data in Microsoft Excel

Many Excel files are not set up properly. Data that should be in a flat file is laid out in a crosstab file format, or in this example, the data is missing information and has totals manually applied. The issue with data being set up incorrectly is the following can’t be done:

  • Sorting data
  • Filtering data
  • Creating a PivotTable
  • Subtotals

To get data in a flat file, Excel has a great feature on the Data tab. It is called Power Query Editor.

Excel Power Query Editor

Below is a screenshot of an Excel file set up incorrectly. The numbers are correct but notice the missing cells in column A. Notice the blank row in row 2, and totals and the grand total have been calculated but this is not the correct place to do these calculations.

Bad Excel Setup

YouTube Video of “Get and Transform” with Power Query Editor

The end result of using the Power Query Editor is the screenshot below.

Corrected Data Power Query Editor

Chris Menard

Chris is a Microsoft Office Master Instructor. He trains corporate clients in Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and Outlook. Menard is a speaker for the Georgia Society of CPAs and the University of Georgia Terry College of Business. Menard's YouTube channel has over 400 technology videos.