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How can we improve Excel for Windows (Desktop Application)?

Allow interaction with Excel while in Power Query

Please make the Power Query editor window (Get Data) non-model. When building complex queries, we often need to go back to Excel to change a worksheet and look at data. Right now, the Power Query editor window takes control over the application, preventing interaction with Excel.

The current behaviour makes it very difficult to do things like the following:
-Mid query, go back and check a worksheet to see exactly what a cell value may be that you want to refer to
-When we have a static table in Excel and are trying to build a query that lands an output in that shape, we can't hop back and forth and check how close we are

In the current implementation, we must close & load the query, check what we need, then re-open the query. Alternately we need to take a screen shot of the needed, or open a second Excel process in order to allow interaction. None of these are good solutions.

219 votes
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Ken Puls shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

Hi Ken,

Thanks for logging this suggestion. Yes, this could be quite useful. Others that’re interested in this, please do log your votes so we’ll prioritize this work appropriately.


Ashvini Sharma
Lead Program Manager


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  • blue mountain commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Completely agree.

    Add to this that being able to save the worksheet whenever we want would be a big relief since PQ has a tendency to crash when on complex query.

  • Andrey Minakov commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Roman Emelyanov, thanks for your comment, and yes, this may help in many cases, but this method won't help if you 1. already opened some workbooks in an Excel copy and launched PQ, and 2. in case you have to change data in the same workbook. So the non-modal PQ window would be very useful.

  • Roman Emelyanov commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Just open another instance of Excel. When clicking on Excel shortcut hold ALT on keyboard and you will see a question about opening another instance of Excel. Click YES and now you have two(or more) different Excels, not another workbook. In one you can work in PQ, in another work with tables.
    Good Luck!

  • Andrey Minakov commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    While working with PQ, you just cannot interact with Excel itself. Working with PQ may be a long process, and user may need to do just some things with other files in parallel. And quite often you may have some data / dictionaries for your PQueries in the same workbook, and while make the queries, you may need to change the data in Excel Workbook. Scenario when you have configuration parameters for your PQueries in Excel Sheet is not useful at all because PQ window in modal.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Makes no sense at all. After all, with Power Pivot, you can easily switch between Excel and the Power Pivot window. You can't even use another workbook while in the Power Query editor.

  • Ivan commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Please make the window non-modal. It makes referring to the worksheet very tedious.

  • Malcolm commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I agree: it slows down work considerably having to keep quitting the query to check the underlying data.

  • Marc Labrie commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Great idea Ken...May I also suggest to provide navigation using keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+PgUp, Ctrl+PgDown) while doing do. Thanks!

  • Josephine commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Agree with the above - so frustrating to not be able to access my worksheet and Power Query at the same time.

  • Sean M commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This is a must...the current behavior is driving me a little crazy. That and I have issues scrolling in workbooks that have PQ connections, but I'd love this

  • Ed Hansberry commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    You also need to be able to save a file (in case of crash) to ensure that you aren't working in Excel for hours on M-Code and lose it all. Having to close the PQ window, then save all changes, then save the file, then reopen the query editor, is absurd.

  • Oz du Soleil commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    YES! I would love to be able to at least go back and look at the workbook. Just scroll around and select different sheets. That would be a major win.

  • Varghese O commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This is really a valid suggestion worth implementing, which would greatly ease moving switching between the windows.

  • Adam Stobbe commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    1000% Agree - so frustrating!!

    Small note that I looked for the uservoice with the most votes on this subject looking for "non-modal" and didn't find this (typo in Ken's post - non-mod*e*l). I hope others are still finding this without mod*a*l in the title.

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