Announcing New Excel 2013 BI Stability and Usability Improvements

Recently we have announced a new public update to Excel 2013 that includes major stability and usability improvements in Self Service BI scenarios, especially when Power Query, Power Pivot & Power View are involved. For this release we eliminated over 120 bugs, crashes and hangs, and introduced two new important usability improvements that aim to make the analysts’ work smoother.

If you are ready to get the update straight away, skip to the How to Download and Install the Update section below.

Deferred Data Model Update

In Excel 2013, any change to the Data Model caused Excel to immediately update every PivotTable, PivotChart, and Query Table in the workbook. 

The users were forced to wait every time that they make a change to the Data Model, such as creation of a new measure or a calculated column. Sometimes, depending on the workbook and Data Model complexity, the waiting period could be pretty long. 

To address this problem we have introduced the following changes:   

  1. When the user is within the Power Pivot add-in, we accumulate the changes performed by the user in the Data Model  without the Excel workbook being updated. 
  2. When the user moves the focus away from the Power Pivot window and in case the Data Model was changed, then the Excel workbook will be updated automatically.

This change significantly enhanced the experience of the user doing modelling in Excel, so don’t miss on installing this update and experience it for yourself.

Out-of-Memory Improvements

Running out of memory in Excel 2013, in scenarios when the Data Model was involved, caused a computer freeze or Excel crash. In this release we targeted these scenarios and introduced a better and friendlier customer experience.

Specifically, in the scenario when 64-bit version of Excel 2013 is running low on physical memory, or if the user is running a 32-bit version of Excel 2013 and getting close to the 2GB virtual memory limit, Excel will detect this, will stop all allocations and will show the “Out of Memory” error message to the user.

Bug Fixes

For this release we fixed over 120 bugs, crashes and hangs in different scenarios. We improved the stability of slice and dice operations, refresh, Data Model upgrade, connection editing and many more.

We really encourage you to download the latest Excel update and try it yourself.

How to Download and Install the Update

If you have automatic updates enabled for your Office 365 subscription, you should receive the latest Excel update soon. If you don’t have automatic updates enabled in Excel, go to File > Account > Update Options > Update Now.

If you are running a perpetual Office edition then you will need to install the following updates through Windows Update or Microsoft Download Center – KB2910929, KB2899498, KB2899505 and KB2920734.

This is great news.  I tried to download and install KB2899498, KB2899505, KB2899929 and I got messages from all 3 saying “there are no products affected by this package installed on this system”.  I am running o365.

Are these 3 packages for non-o365 users only?

I note that KB2920734 is already installed, but I don’t seem to have the improvements.  Also the notes here support2.microsoft.com/…/2920734 clearly state I need all 4.

please advise

Matt,

The KBs are only for perpetual Office edition.

If you are running an Office 365 subscription and you have your automatic updates enabled, you should receive the latest Excel update soon. If you don’t have automatic updates enabled in Excel, go to File > Account > Update Options > Update Now.

Hope this helps.

Really glad to see this update, although after playing it looks like we can still break the Power Query refresh ability by the steps that Chris Webb detailed here:  cwebbbi.wordpress.com/…/power-pivot-power-query-read-only-connection-problems-in-excel-2013-and-what-to-do-about-them   How long before we see a fix for this issue?  It’s fairly major being easy to cause by accident with some pretty catastrophic results…

I too am curious when the bug that Ken Puls mentioned above, will be resolved.  It is a real adoption show stopper!  

+1 to Ken’s and Scott’s request. I’m waiting for it for a long time now.

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