Power Query is a powerful tool in Microsoft Excel that simplifies the process of importing data from different source files and sorting them into an Excel sheet in the most convenient and usable format. It is compatible with Excel for Microsoft 365, Excel 2021, Excel 2019, Excel 2016, Excel 2013, Excel 2010. So, if you have any of these Excel versions, then you can have access to Power Query. Power Query is also known as “Get & Transfer Data” in previous Excel versions.

With Power Query, you can import or connect to external data, and then shape that data. For example, you can remove a column, change a data type, or merge tables, in ways that meet your needs. Then, you can load your query into Excel to create charts and reports. Periodically, you can also refresh the data to make it up to date.

Power Query uses a dedicated window called the “Power Query Editor” to facilitate and display data transformations. You can open the Power Query Editor by selecting Launch Query Editor from the Get Data command in the Get & Transform Data group, but it also opens when you connect to a data source, create a new query, or load a query. The Power Query Editor keeps track of everything you do with the data by recording and labelling each transformation, or step, that you apply to the data. Whether the transformation is a data connection, a column removal, a merge, or a data type change, you can view and modify each transformation in the APPLIED STEPS section of the Query Settings pane.

Any transformations you apply to your data connections collectively constitute a query, which is a new representation of the original (and unchanged) data source. When you refresh a query, each step runs automatically. Queries replace the need to manually connect and shape data in Excel.