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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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SSRS Switch Function Examples

  • 25 January 2011
  • Author: ChrisAlbrektson
  • Number of views: 96667

Hello Bidn,

Below I’m going to show you a few quick examples of how to use the Switch function within SSRS expressions.


In the first example we will change the font color based on the quantity of units sold.

Green will be a quantity of 20,000 +, Black will be a quantity of 10,000 +, and everything less than 10,000 will be displayed as Red.

To do something like this go to the properties of the selected cell in the table and then go to Font/Color. On the drop down list for color, choose expression and enter the following expression.

=Switch(Fields!TotalQuantity.Value <= 10000, "Red" ,

        Fields!TotalQuantity.Value >= 20000, "Green",

        Fields!TotalQuantity.Value >  10000, "Black")

After the above expression has been entered run the report and you should see something like the image below.



For the next example let’s suppose you have three columns in your report LastMonth, ThisMonth, and NextMonth. That’s pretty easy but what if you had a business rule that said if it’s less than the 3rd day of the month then show last month. You can handle this situation as well by using the Switch expression. For my example today I will be using day 26 so you can see how it works.

First create an expression as we did before and use the following code.

=Switch(Day(Now()) <  26,format(dateadd("m",-1,dateadd("d",1-datepart("d",today()),today())),"MMM yyyy"),

        Day(Now()) >= 26,format(dateadd("m", 0,dateadd("d",1-datepart("d",today()),today())),"MMM yyyy"))

From the image below in yellow you can see that the day was set to day 27 or higher because it’s showing the correct Month, January 2011. If you look at the blue area below you can see that the months are now 1 month behind beucase I set the day to 26 and the date of writing this blog is January 25th, 2011.


As with most things in SSRS you can do something in more than 1 way but today I wanted to introduce you to the Switch Function.


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