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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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PowerPivot – Creating KPIs

  • 7 August 2011
  • Author: DevinKnight
  • Number of views: 29670

Probably one of the most anticipated additions to the latest version of PowerPivot is the ability to create KPIs. PowerPivot has made what was once a task that was done purely done by developers now something that anyone can do now.

KPIs (Key Performance Indicator) are an executive favorite that help provide a quick at a glance look at how one area of business is doing. Typically they output some kind of indicator like a red, yellow, green light of some kind that can tell the report viewer quickly if a goal is being reached.

To create a KPI you must first create at least two calculated measures. The first one being the actual values and the second being the target or goal values the KPI is attempting to reach. In my example I?ve already created two DAX calculations to show profit and last year?s profit.





Now the simple part is creating the KPI. Select the measure that the KPI will be based on, in my case that is Profit, then in the PowerPivot tab click Create KPI. 


This will open the Key Performance Indicator dialog box. The KPI base measure (value) should already be filled in for you with the measure you had selected when selecting Create KPI. Under Measure select the field the KPI should compare against. Optionally, you could provide an absolute value that could always be used in comparing. I want to try to beat last years sales so I select ProfitLastYear. The ranges on what determines if a value is in the red, yellow, or green is adjustable by either dragging or typing the percent you want. Notice the number of ranges and indicator types can easily be changed here as well.



After you hit OK the KPI is done! It?s automatically added to your report and your results would look something like this:



You can always adjust the KPI by hitting the Edit KPI Settings button in the ribbon. You can also create KPIs from the PowerPivot window in the Measure Grid.

Read my previous PowerPivot blog posts: 

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