API integration into Excel has countless benefits, such as streamlining your data management processes. However, some organizations have a hard time seamlessly integrating the APIs. This article, therefore, goes through how you can get started with a step-by-step demonstration of API data integration.
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What Is API Integration?
API integration refers to the process of integrating and connecting several software applications. An API (Application Programming Interface) serves as a middleman to facilitate data sharing and communication between various systems.
Why Is API integration useful for data analysis?
There are several reasons why API integrations are highly useful for data analysis. The following goes through some of them.
- Provides access to a variety of data sources, such as external systems, databases, cloud services, and web APIs, for data analysts.
- Data updates can be obtained by analysts in real-time or nearly real-time. This, therefore, guarantees that the analysis is founded on the most recent data available.
- Automating the data retrieval process eliminates the need for manual data entry and import/export processes.
- API integration tools allow analysts to access in a structured format, making it simpler to combine and alter the data.
- API integration platforms enable the integration of external services like machine learning application programming interfaces or data enrichment tools.
- Offers flexibility and scalability for data analysis. As their analytical needs change, analysts can quickly add additional APIs or connect to new data sources using an API integration platform.
What Are the Different Ways to Integrate APIs Into Excel?
Many approaches and levels of flexibility are available for integrating APIs into Excel. The following goes through 3 common approaches.
- Importing data into Excel using Power Query.
Power Query is a built-in function of Excel. It lets users import data from various sources, such as APIs. This article will go through only this method. This method offers a simple and intuitive way of connecting to APIs without the requirement for programming knowledge. Users may access and import single API integration into Excel with only a few clicks, making it available to a broader range of consumers.
- Using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA).
The programming language VBA is built into Excel and enables users to make macros and unique features.
With VBA, users may create programs that communicate with APIs, make HTTP requests, and get data into Excel. In order to develop the VBA code, users can enable the Developer tab in Excel, enter the Visual Basic Editor, and build a new module.
VBA is appropriate for complex or unique API installations since it gives users more freedom and control over the API integration process.
- Making use of Add-ins.
Add-ins are third-party programs or add-ons that extend Excel’s capabilities and provide pre-made middleware integration tools.
Examples such as Apipheny enables importing JSON or CSV data using straightforward formulas, Blockspring offers a menu of pre-built API connections, and DataNitro enables users to access APIs using Python code within Excel cells.
Users can create the API connection, install the required add-in, and follow the API documentation in order to import data directly into Excel.
What You Need to Integrate Web API to Excel
A few prerequisites must be met to integrate a Web API with Excel. The following is a list of each requirement, along with instructions on acquiring or producing them using the Fixer API as an example. Fixer API is a web API that provides currency exchange rates.
- Have a stable internet connection to establish communication between Excel and the API server.
- Obtain a valid API key. You can sign up for a free or paid plan on APILayer or directly from Fixer API’s website and get your API key once you sign up. However, it’s important to know that Fixer paid plans support SSL encryption and the free plan does not support SSL encryption. In this article, I am using the API key from a pain plan. However, the steps are very same even if you use a free plan except that you need to use http in the free plan while paid plan users can use https.
- You should have an API endpoint that identifies the data source and the query parameters. For example, if you wanted to use the Fixer API to get the most recent exchange rates for USD, EUR, and GBP, your URL or endpoint would look like this: https://data.fixer.io/api/latest?access_key=YOUR_API_KEY&symbols=USD,EUR,GBP,AUD,CAD
Again, note that you need to use HTTP if you are using the Fixer free plan. Learn more about Fixer API in our comprehensive documentation.
- Make sure you have a JSON or XML parser. Fixer API mostly offers data in the JSON format for data interchange, so you don’t have to get a parser separately. Excel also has built-in features that can parse JSON and XML data.
How to Integrate Web API Into Excel?
As we mentioned earlier, we will be going through importing data into Excel using Power Query in the following section.
The Step-By-Step Process of Integrating Web API Into Excel
- Go to the Data tab in Excel and click on Get Data. Then select From Other Sources > From Web or simply Data > From Web.
- Paste the URL or endpoint of the Web API you want to use and click OK. In our case, we will be pasting this: https://data.fixer.io/api/latest?access_key=YOUR_API_KEY&symbols=USD,EUR,GBP,AUD,CAD
- Excel will load your data into a query editor window.
- Select Into Table on the Convert tab. This will convert the data into a table format that Excel can work with.
- Select the Value column and right-click on it. Then select Drill Down. This will expand the data into separate columns for each currency.
- Click on Into Table option again.
- Click Close & Load on the Home tab. This will load the data into a worksheet in Excel.
Data Manipulation and Filtering With Web API Integration
So, we just integrated the API; now what? One of the powerful capabilities of integrating Web API into Excel is the ability to perform advanced data manipulations and filtering.
Data cleansing is a common process where you can eliminate duplicates, fix formatting errors, and handle missing values. The API data can be integrated with Excel’s functions and formulae to complete complex data-cleaning processes.
You can also use filtering methods to concentrate on particular data subsets. You can extract particular records using Excel’s filtering features based on criteria like date ranges, numerical conditions, or text matching. This makes it possible to study particular API data segments without manual sorting or filtering.
On top of that, you may do calculations, aggregations, and data transformations on the API data using Excel’s sophisticated functions and formulae. This involves, among other things, tricky mathematical operations, conditional calculations, and string manipulations. Thanks to these features, you can gain fresh insights and produce personalized estimates that are catered to your particular requirements.
It’s important to remember that the precise data processing and filtering methods will rely on the structure and presentation of the data that the Web API returns. You’ll be able to maximize the potential of your integrated data if you comprehend the data format of the API and use Excel’s features.
Why Should You Use APIs From APILayer for Your API Integration?
It’s evident enough that API integrations are very useful. However, to carry out API integrations, finding a good API should also be easy. This is why you should consider an API marketplace like APILayer.
With APILayer, you can access a dependable and feature-rich platform that makes integration easier and guarantees seamless data transfer between your systems and outside APIs. Their APIs provide thorough documentation, support, and various functionalities, allowing you to improve data analysis, automate operations, and increase productivity. You can streamline your API integration processes and concentrate on using the data to support the growth of your organization by using APILayer’s APIs.
What Is API Integration?
Connecting software systems through APIs for data and functionality exchange.
What Is a Popular API Integration Solution?
Excel is a popular solution that allows us to integrate APIs easily.
What Are Common Challenges in API Integration?
Common API integration challenges include authentication and security issues, data mapping and transformation complexities, and much more.
What Are the Benefits of API Integration?
Several benefits include improved efficiency, real-time data sync, scalability, third-party integration, and access to external services. Moreover, these advantages offer valuable opportunities for businesses to enhance their operations.