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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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Using Excel Macro (.xlsm) Enabled Files in SSIS

  • 28 June 2012
  • Author: DevinKnight
  • Number of views: 13995

Recently while working for a client that was running SQL Server 2008 R2 I was tasked with loading an Excel Macro (.xlsm) enabled workbook. If you have ever tried this yourself you may have tried using the default Excel provider, which does not work. In fact, this is the error message you get after trying to close the Excel connection manager.


I thought I’d go ahead and document the solution in both 2008 and 2012 for you. Both solutions require you have the Microsoft Access Database Engine 2010 Redistributable driver installed so make that your first step before reading on. Don’t worry it doesn’t require a server restart.

SSIS 2008

Create an OLE DB Connection Manager and use the Native OLE DB\Microsoft Office 12.0 Access Database Engine OLE DB Provider (Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB.12.0). Then provide the path for your macro enable workbook in the “Server or file name property”.


Next click on All to modify the Extended Properties by adding Excel 12.0 Macro;HDR=YES. Most of this text is self explanatory except the HDR which stands for header. If you don’t want the first row of data to be the column header than change this to NO.


Click OK and use an OLE DB Source in your data flow to either select a sheet or query the workbook.

SSIS 2012

Guess what? With SSIS 2012 you don’t have to do anything extra! The default Excel Connection that didn’t work in 2008 does work now. As long as you have the before mentioned Access driver you’re ready to go. Shown below is the 2012 Source Assistant that you’ll noticed took care of the Extended Properties setting you had to manually do in 2008. In 2012 you will use the normal Excel Source instead of the OLE DB Source.


Hope this helps!

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