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«November 2015»

DirectQuery in Power BI Desktop

In the latest Power BI Desktop a new Preview features was released that now allows you to connect using DirectQuery to either SQL Server or Azure SQL Databases.  DirectQuery is a really neat feature that allows you to point to the live version of the data source rather than importing the data into a data model in Power BI Desktop. 

Normally when you want to get an updated dataset in the Power BI Desktop you would have to manually click the refresh button (this can be automated in the Power BI Service), which would initiate a full reimport of your data.  This refresh could take a variable amount of time depending on how much data your have.  For instance, if you’re refreshing a very large table you may be waiting quite a while to see the newly added data. 

With DirectQuery data imports are not required because you’re always looking at a live version of the data.  Let me show you how it works!

Turning on the DirectQuery Preview

Now, because DirectQuery is still in Preview you must first activate the feature by navigating to File->Options and settings->Options->Preview Features then check DirectQuery for SQL Server and Azure SQL Database


Once you click OK you may be prompted to restart the Power BI Desktop to utilize the feature.

Using DirectQuery in Power BI Desktop

Next make a connection either to an On-Premises SQL Server or Azure SQL database.

Go to the Home ribbon and select Get Data then SQL Server.


Provide your Server and Database names then click OK. ***Do not use a SQL statement.  It is not currently supported with DirectQuery***


From the Navigator pane choose the table(s) you would like to use.  I’m just going to pick the DimProduct table for this example and then click Load.  You could select Edit and that would launch the Query Editor where you could manipulate the extract.  This would allow you to add any business rules needed to the data before visualizing it.


Next you will be prompted to select what you want to connect to the data. Again, Import means the data

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The Big Data Blog Series

Over the last few years I’ve been speaking a lot on the subject of Big Data. I started by giving an intermediate session called “Show Me Whatcha’ Workin’ With”. This session was designed for people who had attended a one hour introductory session that showed you how to load data, to look at possible applications … Continue reading The Big Data Blog Series
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SQL Server 2012 PowerPivot for Excel Prerequisites Error

  • 5 April 2012
  • Author: BradSchacht
  • Number of views: 337

PowerPivot was a great new tool when it released several years ago.  Now the newest version is out along side SQL Server 2012.You can still install the 2008 R2 version of PowerPivot or you can try out the new 2012 RTM version.  There are some nifty improvements that Devin Knight has chronicled (Blog | Twitter). There are several requirements that are not part of the 2008 R2 requirements.  The install instructions are the following with the first step being the new requirements:

There are plenty of blogs out there discussing the error message that says you need to install the proper version (32 bit or 64 bit) because you downloaded the incorrect one for the version of office installed. However, I installed both the prerequisites (.Net 4 and Visual Studio Tools) and still had the following error:

"Microsoft SQL Server 2012 PowerPivot for Excel Setup Setup is missing prerequisites:

This add-in requires the Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 Tools for Office Runtime and the .NET Framework 4.0. For more information, go to "

Come to find out if you have both of these already installed and then try to install PowerPivot and get this error message the fix is pretty simple and one that is not listed on the Microsoft page about the install.

You have to install the components in a certain order:

  1. .Net Framework 4.0
  2. Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Tools of Office Runtime
  3. PowerPivot 2012 for Excel

The problem I had was installing the Visual Studio 2010 Tools, then .Net Framework 4.0 then PowerPivot. Luckily you don't need to roll everything back. Simply uninstall the Visual Studio 2010 Tools and reinstall them, this way they are put on the system AFTER .Net 4. I tried running a repair on the Visual Studio Tools about 4 times at different point after the .Net 4.0 install was finished with no luck. I did a simple uninstall and immediate reinstall and everything worked PERFECT!

So when setting up PowerPivot 2012 be sure to install in the order listed above.  If you do switch number 1 and 2 just uninstall the Visual Studio Tools and run the install again. Worked like a charm.  

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