Business Intelligence Blogs

View blogs by industry experts on topics such as SSAS, SSIS, SSRS, Power BI, Performance Tuning, Azure, Big Data and much more! You can also sign up to post your own business intelligence blog.

«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

Read more

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
Read more

PowerPivot - Measure Grid

  • 20 July 2011
  • Author: DevinKnight
  • Number of views: 118065

There are a lot of fantastic new features in the latest CTP 3 release of PowerPivot, which you can download here.  This is a huge change for PowerPivot and really shows how the product is maturing into become a tool that can solve a variety of problems that it could not handle in its initial release last year.  You can read up on all the change that in the latest release of PowerPivot here, but I thought I would write a series of blogs detailing each individually.

In this post I’d like to introduce you to the new Measure Grid object.  The Measure Grid provides you a new way for creating Calculated Measures for your PowerPivot reports.  Previously, anytime you wanted to create a Calculated Measure you had to be in the PivotTable Field List inside of Excel.  You would right-click on the table that you wanted the measure and write the DAX formula to create the calculation.  While this method is still available (and even has a few improvements of its own) today I want to focus on the new method for creating Calculated Measures. 

The Measure Grid is different in that you will find it back in the PowerPivot window instead of your Excel PivotTable Field List.  To access it you simply click the Measure Grid icon in the Home ribbon.

This will open the grid where you can begin to write your measure formula.  The DAX statement written here is exactly the same as it was done previously but you provide the measure name in front of the formula like so:


This will add the unformatted results of your formula into the Measure Grid within a single cell.  To fix things like formatting you simply right click in the Measure Grid and apply the appropriate formatting after clicking Format.  You can also delete the measure or provide a description of the measures intent for other users.

As you can see the Measure Grid can also create KPIs but I’ll save that for another blog because it will require a much lengthier description.  While this new PowerPivot may seem like a minimal change I think it’s a great change because it allows the developer of the PowerPivot model to segment out his/her thinking.  The PowerPivot window can now be used for all modeling and calculations and Excel can be just for building reports.  Like I said this does not prevent you from still creating measures in Excel as well like you would have done previously in PowerPivot.


Rate this article:


Other posts by DevinKnight

Please login or register to post comments.