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Introduction to MSSQL Server Analysis Services: Reporting Options for Analysis Services Cubes: MS Excel 2003 and More ... - Page 6

September 12, 2005

Excel Microsoft Office Excel Add-in for SQL Server Analysis Services

The Microsoft Office Excel Add-in for SQL Server Analysis Services, available for free download from Microsoft at this writing, has proven itself to be a clever reporting and analysis tool within itself. I also recommend it to clients and readers who wish to learn Analysis Services, and particularly MDX, concepts from a practical, user-friendly perspective. The Add-in provides flexible reporting and analytical capabilities for data imported into Excel from Analysis Services cubes, where Analysis Services acts as a middle-tier server for OLAP and data mining.

The Analysis Server still manages the cubes and provides rapid client access to cube information, so the Add-in effectively provides another reporting option with Excel as the client. The Add-in for SQL Server Analysis Services provides integration between Microsoft Office XP and Office 2003 editions and Analysis Services (Service Pack 2).

The Add-in for SQL Server Analysis Services is particularly useful in that it allows us to put our existing Excel skills to work to quickly and easily create reports that meet the business needs of our respective environments. This tool provides an excellent means of equipping one's organization with a refined capability to identify opportunities, and to respond to business conditions, as well as to perform in-depth analysis and reporting within the realms of planning, forecasting and budgeting, as well as sales and marketing and a host of other arenas that impact our businesses. It allows us to easily access the potentially large volumes of data that our cubes contain by providing a means to import data from one or more Analysis Services cubes, and to then use a combination of Analysis Services and Excel techniques and functionality for a wide range of analysis, manipulation and presentation capabilities to support corporate decision making.

The capabilities we can leverage with the Add-in for SQL Server Analysis Services are many. They include:

  • Importing data from multiple Analysis Services cubes;
  • Combining data from multiple dimensions to obtain a multidimensional perspective;
  • Performing drillthrough to see underlying source data (the transactions that make up balances, etc.);
  • Specification of filter conditions;
  • Performing ranking;
  • Performing writeback to cubes (excellent client input application for budgets, forecasts and the like);
  • Performing what-if analysis (in conjunction with writeback and otherwise);
  • Leveraging actions resident in targeted cubes;
  • Using page filters (in addition to the more pedestrian row and column filters) to display subsets of data;
  • Leveraging server-side formatting;
  • Using enhanced navigation capabilities;
  • Creating free-form and structured reports (the two primary types within the Add-in);
  • Using Excel formatting and calculation features.

The Microsoft Office Excel Add-in for SQL Server Analysis Services is available at the following link:

http://www.microsoft.com/office/solutions/accelerators/exceladdin/default.mspx

Documentation and white papers that are also available on this page provide a great introduction to this powerful add-in. I have used the Excel Add-in for SQL Server Analysis Services recently in providing client writeback capability within an engagement where no other client existed that was adequate for this purpose. In addition, I have found the reporting capabilities worthwhile for scenarios where a full-blown OLAP reporting solution, such as SQL Server Reporting Services, was either not required, or where an interim need existed for which an integrated, industrial strength solution was being developed for later implementation. Moreover, the Microsoft Office Excel Add-in for SQL Server Analysis Services has often served me as a convenient means of independent verification of results obtained in Reporting Services or other reporting applications, and as an overall tool to support such peripheral needs.The add-in provides two reporting modes, free-form and structured, each with its own features. For more information, see Free-form and structured reports.

Conclusion

In this article, we explored the integration of Analysis Services and MS Office Excel 2003, to present updated options for client reporting and other business intelligence capabilities. The central focus of the article was a basic, hands-on review of the Excel 2003 PivotTable Report. Within the context of the article, we examined the role of Excel 2003 as the "client representative" of the Analysis Server, and examined ways to leverage the multidimensional reporting and analysis capabilities supported by Analysis Services cubes.

Our examination of the PivotTable Report features available in Excel 2003 included PivotTable Report options that provide for creating robust and flexible reports. As part of our exploration, we performed hands-on practice that included setting up a connection to an OLAP cube, as well as navigating member information and cube data. We drilled down to details of reporting summaries, and ventured beyond the " X-Y " presentation of dimensions, creating a page "slice" and working with dimension combinations to make our PivotTable report even more multidimensional. We also examined formatting options within the report.

In addition to our examination of the once-solitary Excel option for OLAP reporting and analysis, the Excel 2003 PivotTable Report, we provided a brief summary of another Excel 2003 OLAP Reporting option, the Microsoft Office Excel Add-in for SQL Server Analysis Services, as well as direction as to where the Add-in might be obtained.

» See All Articles by Columnist William E. Pearson, III

Discuss this article in the MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services and MDX Topics Forum.

Introduction to MSSQL Server Analysis Services Series
Introduction to Security in Analysis Services
Cube Storage: Planning Partitions from a SQL Server Management Studio Perspective
Cube Storage: Planning Partitions (Business Intelligence Development Studio Perspective)
Cube Storage: Introduction to Partitions
Introduction to Cube Storage
Attribute Discretization: Customize Grouping Names
Attribute Discretization: Using the "Clusters" Method
Attribute Discretization: Using the "Equal Areas" Method
Attribute Discretization: Using the Automatic Method
Introduction to Attribute Discretization
More Exposure to Settings and Properties in Analysis Services Attribute Relationships
Attribute Relationships: Settings and Properties
Introduction to Attribute Relationships in MSSQL Server Analysis Services
Attribute Member Values in Analysis Services
MSSQL Analysis Services - Attribute Member Names
Attribute Member Keys - Pt II: Composite Keys
Attribute Member Keys - Pt 1: Introduction and Simple Keys
Dimension Attributes: Introduction and Overview, Part V
Dimension Attributes: Introduction and Overview, Part IV
Dimension Attributes: Introduction and Overview, Part III
Dimension Attributes: Introduction and Overview, Part II
Dimension Attributes: Introduction and Overview, Part I
Dimensional Model Components: Dimensions Part II
Dimensional Model Components: Dimensions Part I
Manage Unknown Members in Analysis Services 2005, Part II
Manage Unknown Members in Analysis Services 2005, Part I
Alternatively Sorting Attribute Members in Analysis Services 2005
Introduction to Linked Objects in Analysis Services 2005
Distinct Counts in Analysis Services 2005
Positing the Intelligence: Conditional Formatting in the Analysis Services Layer
Administration and Optimization: SQL Server Profiler for Analysis Services Queries
Mastering Enterprise BI: Time Intelligence Pt. II
Mastering Enterprise BI: Time Intelligence Pt. I
Design and Documentation: Introducing the Visio 2007 PivotDiagram
Actions in Analysis Services 2005: The URL Action
Actions in Analysis Services 2005: The Drillthrough Action
Mastering Enterprise BI: Introducing Actions in Analysis Services 2005
Mastering Enterprise BI: Introduction to Translations
Mastering Enterprise BI: Introduction to Perspectives
Introduction to the Analysis Services 2005 Query Log
Mastering Enterprise BI: Working with Measure Groups
Mastering Enterprise BI: Introduction to Key Performance Indicators
Mastering Enterprise BI: Extend the Data Source with Named Calculations, Pt. II
Mastering Enterprise BI: Extend the Data Source with Named Calculations, Pt. I
Process Analysis Services Objects with Integration Services
Usage-Based Optimization in Analysis Services 2005
Introduction to MSSQL Server Analysis Services: Named Sets Revisited
Introduction to MSSQL Server Analysis Services: Migrating an Analysis Services 2000 Database to Analysis Services 2005
Introduction to MSSQL Server Analysis Services: Introducing Data Source Views
Introduction to MSSQL Server Analysis Services: Reporting Options for Analysis Services Cubes: MS Excel 2003 and More ...
Introduction to MSSQL Server Analysis Services: Mastering Enterprise BI: Create Aging "Buckets" in a Cube
Introduction to MSSQL Server Analysis Services: Mastering Enterprise BI: Relative Time Periods in an Analysis Services Cube, Part II
Introduction to MSSQL Server Analysis Services: Mastering Enterprise BI: Relative Time Periods in an Analysis Services Cube
Introduction to MSSQL Server Analysis Services: Process Analysis Services Cubes with DTS
Introduction to MSSQL Server Analysis Services: Presentation Nuances: CrossTab View - Same Dimension
Introduction to MSSQL Server Analysis Services: Point-and-Click Cube Schema Simplification
Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Manage Distinct Count with a Virtual Cube
Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Distinct Count Basics: Two Perspectives
Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Semi-Additive Measures and Periodic Balances
Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Performing Incremental Cube Updates - An Introduction
Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Partitioning a Cube in Analysis Services - An Introduction
Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Basic Storage Design
Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Derived Measures vs. Calculated Measures
Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Creating a Dynamic Default Member
Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Another Approach to Local Cube Design and Creation
Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Introduction to Local Cubes
Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Actions in Virtual Cubes
Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Putting Actions to Work in Regular Cubes
Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Reporting Options for Analysis Services Cubes: ProClarity Part II
Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Reporting Options for Analysis Services Cubes: ProClarity Professional, Part I
Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Using Calculated Cells in Analysis Services , Part II
Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Using Calculated Cells in Analysis Services, Part I
Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: MSAS Administration and Optimization: Toward More Sophisticated Analysis
Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: MSAS Administration and Optimization: Simple Cube Usage Analysis
Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Build a Web Site Traffic Analysis Cube: Part II
Build a Web Site Traffic Analysis Cube: Part I
Reporting Options for Analysis Services Cubes: Cognos PowerPlay
Reporting Options for Analysis Services Cubes: MS FrontPage 2002
Reporting Options for Analysis Services Cubes: MS Excel 2002
Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Drilling Through to Details: From Two Perspectives
Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Custom Cubes: Financial Reporting - Part II
Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services Custom Cubes: Financial Reporting (Part I)
Introduction to SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Exploring Virtual Cubes
Introduction to SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Working with the Cube Editor
Introduction to SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Parent-Child Dimensions
Introduction to SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Handling Time Dimensions
Introduction to SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Working with Dimensions
Introduction to SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Creating Our First Cube








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