Data Mashup Explorer

screenshot of Data Mashup Explorer's user interface

Data Mashup Explorer allows you to explore the Power Query mashups and supporting details contained in a Microsoft Excel (xlsx, xlsm, xlsb) or older Microsoft Power BI file (pbix, pbit). Primarily, this tool is useful for learning about the little known but non-secret file format used by these Microsoft applications to save mashups.

Download: (0.4 MB – 2023-01-02)
Prerequisite: .NET Desktop Runtime 6.0.x (for Windows)


The user interface is simple. On the left, an Explorer-like tree lists the various components in the data mashup’s binary stream. Select one, and its contents are displayed on the right. For details on these various components, see (post coming soon about the underlying file format).

Special handling is given to Metadata, whose native format (a combination of XML, JSON and several binary formats) is complex and verbose. Metadata’s tab JSON presents a unified and simplified view with almost all binary formats translated and with repetition and extra syntax minimized.

Related: To import and export Power Query using PowerShell, check out Data Mashup Cmdlets.

Note: For Power BI files only (both PBIX and PBIT files; does not apply to Excel files)—This tool does not understand the newer file formats used by Power BI. You’re welcome to try to open newer Power BI files with this tool, but in many cases it won’t be able to read these files.

Support/Feature Requests/Ideas

If the tool misbehaves on you, please drop me an email. If you have an idea for a feature or improvement, you’re welcome to add your suggestion below as a comment or email.

Change Log

  • 0.1.1-beta (2020-03-30)—Initial Release
  • 0.1.2-beta (2020-04-14)—Added JSON translation rules for the following metadata elements: IsLastAnalysisServicesFormulaTextCollection, LoadedToAnalysisServices, LoadToReportDisabled & RefreshOnRefreshAll
  • 0.2.0-beta (2020-05-01)—Expands embedded contents (i.e. content used by Embedded.Value), allowing individual component items to be viewed.
  • 0.3.0-beta (2020-06-08)—Added basic refresh (File > Refresh or Ctrl+R) functionality which reloads the currently open file.
  • 0.3.1-beta (2020-08-12)—Added support for reading Excel macro-enabled (xlsm) workbooks.
  • 0.3.2-beta (2020-09-17)—Added support for reading Excel binary (xlsb) workbooks.
  • 0.3.3-beta (2023-01-02)—Revised to reflect recent M grammar changes.

For notification of new versions, follow @bgribaudo on Twitter.