Excel Privacy Level Dialogue Box on data refresh - Making the right selection

Copper Contributor

(Directed to post here from @MSExcel on X / Twitter.  Original Post Here


I am looking for guidance around this "Privacy Levels" popup when refreshing data in Excel. The "here" link is a dead link. I need information to make the right choice for myself and guide others and "convince" them of the right choice.

The diligent people are rightly concerned about "Ignore Privacy Levels" as the right choice.

Thank you for your assistance / Please also fix the link to "Here" that goes no where

6 Replies

Hi @TheFreeman 


VERY Complex topic, even (master) Chris Webb "thought I knew everything there was to know...but of course I didn’t" (here)


See Video: Power BI Data Privacy Settings Deep Dive (Chris Webb) and the bullet points below



Addressing your concerns:

  • I understand you're seeking guidance on the Excel Privacy Level dialogue box that appears during data refresh.
  • The provided image helps visualize the dialogue box options.
  • I'm aware the "here" link is broken and cannot be fixed directly.


This dialogue box aims to enhance data security and privacy by controlling how Excel interacts with external data sources like SharePoint, OneDrive, or Azure.

Privacy Level Options:

  • Private: Offers the highest security but restricts data access and functionality. Isolates the data source and requires explicit user consent for each refresh.
  • Public: Allows unrestricted access and functionality but provides minimal security. Assumes the source is publicly available and trustworthy.
  • Ignore Privacy Levels: Bypasses security settings, potentially exposing data to risks if the source is not fully trusted.

Choosing the Right Option:

The best choice depends on several factors:

  • Trust level of the data source: Choose "Private" for untrusted sources or sensitive data, "Public" for trusted sources if collaboration allows.
  • Data sensitivity: "Private" is generally recommended for highly sensitive data.
  • Collaboration needs: "Public" or "Private" might be suitable depending on shared access requirements and security concerns.


  • For most cases, "Private" is the safest option, especially for sensitive data or untrusted sources. It balances security and functionality.
  • Use "Public" with caution, only if the source is completely trusted and you understand the security implications.
  • Avoid "Ignore Privacy Levels" unless you fully comprehend the risks and have a compelling reason to bypass security measures.

Additional Considerations:

  • Consult your organization's security policies regarding data access and external sources.
  • Seek guidance from your IT department or a security professional if unsure about the appropriate choice.

Addressing Concerns about "Ignore Privacy Levels":

Choosing "Ignore Privacy Levels" can be risky, potentially exposing your data to unauthorized access or manipulation. It's crucial to:

  • Only choose this option if you fully trust the external data source and understand the security implications.
  • Be aware that this choice might violate your organization's security policies.


  • Security is paramount, especially for sensitive data.
  • When in doubt, err on the side of caution and choose "Private" or consult with IT professionals.

I hope this comprehensive explanation empowers you to make informed choices and effectively guide others in understanding the Privacy Levels dialogue box.

Thank your for the fulsome reply. Are there any links back to MS that you have to support the information. Reason: Want to ensure the ideas behind my choices are well supported.


I guess Microsoft "dead" link shall be on this support page Set privacy levels (Power Query) - Microsoft Support

In addition to @L z.  link on Chriss post, here is the link on Part 5 of his series on that subject, Chris Webb's BI Blog: Data Privacy Settings In Power BI/Power Query, Part 5: The Inheritance Of Data... , you may find the rest

One of the first blogs on that from Ken Puls Power Query Errors: Please Rebuild This Data Combination (excelguru.ca) but the discussion in comment is still continued.

In my practice I usually keep privacy levels by default (usually organizational). Even if that could decrease performance. Don't expect any security breach on practice, that's more as alert that design could be improved.

@TheFreeman IMHO this is the kind of thing that could help other users. When you have a minute feel free to click the Mark as answer link (at the bottom of each reply you get here) on the post that best answers your requirement - Thanks