In normal Excel and Pivots you have some options if Excel recognized that a column contained dates. So for example you can group a date column in a Pivot Table in months, weeks, quarters, years etc.
A bit more about the Microsoft Azure market and what it can do with regards your PowerPivot use.
You can also link directly to common forms of databases. There are multiple ways of doing this but one way is to click on HOME and FROM DATABASE as shown below. In this case we are linking to an Access database
PowerPivot can import data from multiple type of text files. Click on the HOME tab, then FROM OTHER SOURCES and go to the bottom to choose Text Files and click NEXT
You can import data from an Excel file that is NOT the Excel file through which you opened the PowerPivot window.
It is possible to link an Excel file to the PowerPivot tables. This only works with the Excel workbook ATTACHED to the PowerPivot window, i.e. the Excel workbook you were in when you clicked on the PowerPivot Manage button.
You can copy/ paste into PowerPivot any data that looks like a table.
The many ways of importing data into PowerPivot for further analysis
How to activate PowerPivot for first time use
As a regular Excel user you have a distinct advantage when it comes to learning PowerPivot as it has been built with you in mind. However, there are some differences which you need to understand in order to get started.
How to check whether you already have PowerPivot and how to switch it on if it is not available to you.
How to create and use DAX measures in your PowerPivot pivot tables
How to activate your PowerPivot and what the new screen and ribbons do.
There are certain Excel formula that you may be used to using that are not available within PowerPivot.
The Excel knowledge that you should be familar with to make it easier to transition to PowerPivot
PowerPivot is a new tool available in Excel 2010 and Excel 2013. International experts believe this is a quantum leap in Excel and people like Mr Excel’s Bill Jelen has stated that it is the best thing to happen to Excel in years. On the surface it looks like a traditional Pivot Table with some new screens but there is much much more.