Support of Power BI across various versions of Microsoft Office

In this post I wanted to address several general confusions about Power BI and Microsoft Office. Sometimes I wonder if these confusions have been engineered by design or whether they occurred serendipitously…

The most important point to understand is that Power BI is intended to be bundled with the Office 365 Pro version of the product (installed via Click-to-Run). This is the only supported version of Microsoft Office for all of the components of Power BI. Fortunately, many of Power BI components can be installed in different versions of Microsoft Office; unfortunately, their behavior differs across different versions and this lack of consistency in behavior can be very frustrating.

The only component of Power BI that seems to be consistent across all versions is Power View, it is not available in 2010 version of Office but if you can get in in your version of 2013 it will work the same way across them all.

Power Pivot is pretty consistent as well, with a small exception of Synonyms. Synonyms are only supported in the Office 365 Pro version.

Power Query is mostly consistent, although in Excel 2010 it lacks the ability to load queries into a Data Model.

Power Map is actually a little bit different. There seems to be two distinct versions of it. The official one lives only in the Office 365 Pro, however, one can still download the Power Map Preview version that will not work in Office 2010 but will work across different flavors of Office 2013. The look and feel as well as the overall functionality between the two are not intended to be the same.

Many organizations are licensed for both Office 2013 Pro and Office 365 ProPlus and many chose to continue to deploy the Pro version, however, the only way to avoid the confusion and potential support issues related to inconsistent behavior of Power BI features is by deploying the Click-to-Run Office 365 Pro which will make sure that all the users get timely updates of all the features and everybody in the organization can enjoy a consistent end user experience.

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