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«October 2015»

Data Warehouse from the Ground Up at SQL Saturday Orlando, FL on Oct. 10th

SQL Saturday #442SQL Saturday #442 is upon us and yours truly will be presenting in Orlando, Florida on October 10th alongside Mitchell Pearson (b|t). The session is scheduled at 10:35 AM and will last until 11:35 AM. I’m very excited to be presenting at SQL Saturday Orlando this year as it’ll be my first presenting this session in person and my first time speaking at SQL Saturday Orlando! If you haven’t registered yet for this event, you need to do that. This event will be top notch!

My session is called Designing a Data Warehouse from the Ground Up. What if you could approach any business process in your organization and quickly design an effective and optimal dimensional model using a standardized step-by-step method? In this session I’ll discuss the steps required to design a unified dimensional model that is optimized for reporting and follows widely accepted best practices. We’ll also discuss how the design of our dimensional model affects a SQL Server Analysis Services solution and how the choices we make during the data warehouse design phase can make or break our SSAS cubes. You may remember that I did this session a while back for Pragmatic Works via webinar. I’ll be doing the same session at SQL Saturday Orlando but on-prem! ;)

So get signed up for this event now! It’s only 11 days away!

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Create Date Dimension with Fiscal and Time

Here are three scripts that create and Date and Time Dimension and can add the fiscal columns too. First run the Dim Date script first to create the DimDate table. Make sure you change the start date and end date on the script to your preference. Then run the add Fiscal Dates scripts to add the fiscal columns. Make sure you alter the Fiscal script to set the date offset amount. The comments in the script will help you with this.

This zip file contains three SQL scripts.

Create Dim Date

Create Dim Time

Add Fiscal Dates

These will create a Date Dimension table and allow you to run the add fiscal script to add the fiscal columns if you desire. The Create Dim Time will create a time dimension with every second of the day for those that need actual time analysis of your data.

Make sure you set the start date and end date in the create dim date script. Set the dateoffset in the fiscal script.

Download the script here:


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Excel Tip #29: Forcing Slicers to Filter Each Other when Using CUBE Functions

As I mentioned in my original post, Exploring Excel 2013 as Microsoft’s BI Client, I will be posting tips regularly about using Excel 2013 and later.  Much of the content will be a result of my daily interactions with business users and other BI devs.  In order to not forget what I learn or discover, I write it down … here.  I hope you too will discover something new you can use.  Enjoy!


You have went to all the trouble to build out a good set of slicers which allow you to “drill” down to details based on selections. In my example, I have created a revenue distribution table using cube formulas such as:

=CUBEVALUE(“ThisWorkbookDataModel”,$B6, Slicer_Date, Slicer_RestaurantName, Slicer_Seat_Number, Slicer_TableNumber)


Each cell with data references all the slicers. When working with pivot tables or pivot charts, the slicers will hide values that have no matching reference. However, since we are using cube formulas the slicers have no ability to cross reference. For example, when I select a date and a table, I expect to see my seat list reduce in size, but it does not. All of my slicers are set up to hide options when data is available. There are two examples below. In the first, you can see that the seats are not filtered. However, this may be expected. In the second example, we filter a seat which should cause the tables to hide values and it does not work as expected either.



As you can see in the second example, we are able to select a seat that is either not related to the selected table or has no data on that date. Neither of these scenarios is user friendly and does not direct our users to see where the data matches.

Solving the Problem with a “Hidden” Pivot Table

To solve this issue, we are going to use a hidden pivot table. In most cases we would add this to a separate worksheet and then hide the sheet from the users. For sake of our example, I am going to put the pivot table in plain sight for the examples.

Step 1: Add a Pivot Table with the Same Connection as the Slicers

In order for this to work, you need to add a pivot table using the same connection you used with the slicers. The value you use in the pivot table, should only be “empty” or have no matches when that is the expected result. You want to make sure that you do not unintentionally filter out slicers when data exists. In my example, I will use the Total Ticket Amount as the value. That will cover my scenario. In most cases, I recommend looking for a count type valu

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SSRS - Embedded Custom Code

  • 4 January 2012
  • Author: DevinKnight
  • Number of views: 32794

When developing reports in Reporting Services you will often use the built-in
expression language to make report data and formatting dynamic.  The expression
language can do a lot to within Reporting Services but any gaps in functionality
that it has can be filled with custom code. 

There are two ways to implement custom code in Reporting Services.  The first
way, which I will show in the post, is with embedded code.  The other method is
to create an external assembly that can be imported into a report.  I will
discuss this method in a future post.

Embedded code requires that you use VB but you do not have to go through the
process of creating an assembly in Visual Studio like you would with the
external assembly method.  Let’s go through the process of creating a report
using embedded custom code and discuss some of the other benefits and
disadvantages of this approach.

Here’s a basic report that I’ve developed with a list of employees and phone

What I’d like to do is format all the phone numbers to look like this
(###)###-####.  This could easily be accomplished with some custom code.  To add
custom code in Reporting Services select the Report->Report Properties

Go to the Code page and use the following code to apply the phone number

Function PhoneFormat(PhoneNumber As String) As
    Select Case PhoneNumber.Length
    Case 7
PhoneNumber.Substring(0,3) & "-" & PhoneNumber.Substring(3,4)
Case 10
    Return "(" & PhoneNumber.Substring(0,3) &")" &
PhoneNumber.Substring(3,3)&"-" & PhoneNumber.Substring(6,4)
    Return "(" & PhoneNumber.Substring(0,3) &")" &
PhoneNumber.Substring(4,3)&"-" & PhoneNumber.Substring(8,4)
    Return PhoneNumber
    End Select
End Function

Click OK once this code has been entered.  This code reads in different
variations of phone numbers that could be provided and converts it to the
appropriate format.  We can now use this code in our report.  I can replace the
current column that stores the phone number data with an expression that calls
this custom code to correct that data presented in the report.  That expression
would look like this:


When you preview this report now the data will look like this (I’ve kept the
original column so you can tell the difference):

This is a basic example but shows how powerful custom code can be.  Now there
are a few things I should point out about this embedded code example that are
not ideal.  Some embedded code disadvantages are:

  • You must use Visual Basic (no C#)
  • No Intellisense in the code window like you experience in Visual Studio
  • Code errors are not visible until you actually preview the report

While embedded code is powerful you will find external assemblies have even
more benefits.  My next post will walk you through the process of creating a
custom assembly and using it in Reporting Services. 

A real quick plug for a new class I will be teaching this month.  Pragmatic
Works will start offering in January a new Reporting Services Masters class for
those of you that feel experienced with the basics of SSRS.  The Masters class
will assume you know all the basics of building reports and will focus on
advanced topics only.  Check out the class outline and register for the class
now here:

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