A Simple Pivot Viewer Example

With all the current fuss about PowerPivot it is easy to overlook one of the other hot technologies coming our way, Pivot Viewer.  The Pivot Viewer is a Silverlight data visualization tool for rendering large amounts of data in a more meaningful way.  Today’s post is about showing the relative ease of putting together a quick demo of Pivot Viewer.

For this demo you will need a few items – Excel 2010, the Pivot Viewer browser, and the Pivot Collection Tool for Excel.  The Excel add-in can be downloaded here.  Additionally, to view the collections you will want to download the Pivot Viewer browser here.  Windows Vista or Windows 7 are required to install the browser.

Once you have installed the add-in, open Excel and go to the “Pivot Collections” tab in the ribbon.

Choose “New Collection” from the ribbon and a new workbook will be created with two tabs, Collection Items and Collection Properties.  Collection Properties sets the basic title and imaging of the collection, for use in the Collection Gallery later.

The real meat of the demo is in the Collection Items tab.  Here we will choose our images and add descriptive data.  You can import photos via the “Import Images” or “Choose Image” button of the ribbon.  Obviously, for larger collections the import will be the better path.


For demo sake today I simply imported a couple images from my Photos library.  This adds  rows to my worksheet where I can add a name and description.  Additionally, new columns can be added which will be included in the collection.  I created the following rows in my workbook:


At this point I have a basic collection with two pieces of metadata that can be seen by the user (Date Taken and Description).  If I select “Preview Collection” I can get a sense of how the collection will look for the user, very similar to the preview available in Visual Studio with SSRS reports.

Let’s have a look at this collection by choosing “Publish Collection”.  I will be prompted to save the collection somewhere and then the Pivot Viewer browser opens.  I can then navigate around in my collection.  You will notice the slicers on the left are populated with the “Date Taken” column details.


A very simple example I realize, I mainly wanted to show how quickly this can be created with the the tooling provided.  It would be quite simple to build a compelling demo for various groups within your organization, giving them a taste of the power of this tool.

I will be building out a much stronger example for my own use and posting bits of the creation process that I find interesting.  Until then, happy Pivoting.

Posted by: whitneyw
Posted on: 6/28/2010 at 11:02 AM
Categories: SQL Server | Silverlight
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Monday, June 28, 2010 1:53 PM


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Troy Hunt Australia

Monday, June 28, 2010 6:56 PM

Troy Hunt

Thanks for sharing Whitney, this is a pretty exciting little tool. The Excel plugin is great but I think the real value for most will be generation of the collection from an existing data source.

I’d love to see a blog post on automating this programmatically. I’ve previously done this for the CXML (pretty straight forward given the simple XML markup), but I’m yet to tackle the Deep Zoom side. It would be great to see someone tie these together in a post.


Sunday, July 25, 2010 12:29 AM


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Silverlight PivotViewer Control released

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