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Bloomberg Help Guide

What can the API do?

Quickly download historical pricing, financial ratios, and more directly into an Excel spreadsheet.

  • You must be logged into Bloomberg at the time
  • Real-time pricing not available

Enabling the Bloomberg Add-In for Excel

To enable the Bloomberg Excel add-in:

  1. From the PC's start menu, find the Bloomberg application, right-click it, and select Open file location
  2. Run Install Office Add-Ins
  3. Click Install on the pop-up window
  4. A new pop-up window will appear listing which Microsoft programs have successfully installed the Bloomberg add-in. Typically, some will have errors. You will likely need to close the installation window and try again, repeating steps 3 & 4 above. Keep trying until it lists Excel, Word, and PowerPoint as successful.
  5. Log in to Bloomberg
  6. Open Excel

You will need to perform the above steps on each machine you use before Bloomberg will appear in Excel's menu.

Working in Excel

Click Spreadsheet Builder to walk through steps to build a custom table in the current worksheet.

Excel Bloomberg ribbon menu with Spreadsheet Builder identified

  • Functions populate dynamically based on the options you select in the wizard.
  • After completing the wizard, you can adjust functions and variables generated by the wizard by editing them directly in the worksheet.

The Bloomberg Desktop (Excel) API enables a suite of special functions (examples below), for retrieving Bloomberg data.

  • BDH - Bloomberg Data History retrieves historical values (end-of-day or intra-day).
    • Syntax: BDH(Security, Field, Start Date, End Date, [option])
  • BDP - Bloomberg Data Point retrieves current or real-time values.
    • Syntax: BDP(Security, Field, [option])
  • BDS - Bloomberg Data Set populates multiple cells with descriptive data for a security.
    • Syntax: BDS(Security, Field, [option])

Within a function's syntax,

  • Security consists of a Ticker and Market Sector (e.g.: PFE US EQUITY).
  • Field refers to a mnemonic (e.g.: PCT_GEO_OWNERSHIP) as listed in FLDS <GO>.

Combined, a function could appear as follows: BDS("PFE US EQUITY", "PCT_GEO_OWNERSHIP", "cols=2;rows=50").

Access step-by-step help building a Bloomberg function by selecting Bloomberg > Function Builder from Excel's ribbon menu.

Bloomberg Query Language is a separate approach that enables more-robust, SQL-like queries.

  • BQL syntax: BQL(Instrument, Function, Range)

Access examples and step-by-step help building a BQL function by selecting Bloomberg > BQL Builder from Excel's ribbon menu.

This method copies static data without calling the Bloomberg Desktop API:

  1. In the Bloomberg software, load a table.
  2. With the cursor at a corner of the table, click and drag, selecting the headers, labels, and values you want to copy. A dashed line may appear to identify the selected area. Selected content copies to the clipboard automatically.
  3. In Excel, select a cell and press Ctrl+V to paste the copied content. This ideally pastes each copied Bloomberg row into a separate Excel cell. If paste fills multiple Excel columns, you will need to perform additional column/content adjustments before continuing.
  4. Select the first column of pasted values.
  5. Select Data > Text to Columns.
  6. Select Fixed width.
  7. Continue the wizard as desired, or click Finish.

Not all tables can be copied. Consider emailing a screenshot using GRAB <GO>.


Access help and resources through the Bloomberg Terminal:

  • DAPI <GO> - Getting Started, tools, and more for the Desktop (Excel) API
    • Help <GO> - Help and further documentation for the DAPI
  • XLTP <GO> - Bloomberg's Excel spreadsheet templates
  • FLDS <GO> - Search for fields and corresponding mnemonics to use in queries

Data Portability

Data obtained through the Bloomberg Desktop (Excel) API may not leave the local machine you used to access the Bloomberg service. Enter DAPI <GO> and see the Desktop API Guidelines section to learn more about this policy and its limited exceptions.

Lippincott Library Research Team

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