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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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Ad-hoc Reporting with SharePoint Recording and Q&A

  • 22 May 2013
  • Author: DevinKnight
  • Number of views: 3285

I hope you were able to attend my free webinar on Ad-hoc Reporting with SharePoint on May 21, 2013.  If you weren’t you can now watch the recording here.

As usual there were many great questions that I wasn’t able to answer and I thought I’d follow up on those now.

Q: In the organization that I work in, SharePoint 2013 is stood up but is somewhat barren, just some team pages. Where would I be able to locate the ReportBuilder environment in a 2013 implementation? Is it apparent on a default 2013 installation? If not is it something I have to :activate” or have the architect activate?

First do the Reporting Services install detailed here.

Then add the SSRS content types to your library, which is detailed here.

Q: Can we create linked reports in a SharePoint integrated Report Server?

No, unfortunately this is one of the few features that you can do with the Native Report Server but doesn’t carry over to SharePoint integrated servers.  Follow this path to find other features not supported

Q: Can you schedule PowerPivot refreshed in SP 2010?  If so, can you recommend links to the information?

Yes, and sure thing!

Q: Once you have consumed that report part and updated it, can you undo the change and go back to the previous (old) report part?

Once you accept a Report Part change you cannot go back to the old version of that report part other than the ol’ Ctrl + Z.

Q: Is this a way to edit the Power View template that opens when you click on the Create New Power View report.  Can you change fonts or add a company logo that would always be available for users starting a new Power View report on your SharePoint site?

Interesting question.  There’s not really a way to create templates like you can with traditional SSRS in Visual Studio.  What you could do is create a Power View report and making it read only.  Then the user could do a ‘save as’ of the read only copy and create their own reports on top of the template.

Also, you can change font as well on the Style tab that I didn’t have time to show.


Q: What tool is he using for drawing?

Its a presenter’s best friend called ZoomIt.  You can download it free at

Q: Can SharePoint not be set to refresh Excel workbooks that are not PowerPivot? You mentioned that was a PowerPivot feature, but what if the Excel points to SSAS directly and you want the data refreshed in the workbook that would be stored in SharePoint? We are just getting started with SharePoint and trying to understand how that works.

It can’t be scheduled like PowerPivot but you could auto refresh an Excel Services report by modifying the connection file used for the report to automatically refresh the data upon opening the file.  Unfortunately that would mean every time it’s opened it would have to rerun the query for the entire report.

Q: How do we get the SharePoint site and/or PowerPivot gallery to show up in the Excel Save As screen?

If you tell it to Save As to a location on your local machine and instead type in a SharePoint URL you can save to your PowerPivot Gallery.  After you do this once anytime you go to the Save As menu you will save a SharePoint listing available.

Q: Is it possible to adjust the PowerPivot refreshing rate within SharePoint to be more than once a day

Yes you can.  In the Data Refresh section you can create a schedule that’s similar to a SQL Agent job schedule which give you lots of flexibility on frequency.

Q: Does the end user need Excel 2013 to use Excel Services when it is loaded to SharePoint?

Love this question because this is a big selling point for latest changes to Excel Services.  The answer is No, as long as they can connect to SharePoint they can use the web interface for Excel Services without needing the client tools installed locally.

Q: Could you and would you use a Cube as a data source for PowerPivot or does that defeat the purpose of using Power Pivot?

Yes it is possible but if you’re considering this the right solution would probably be go back to the data warehouse as a data source rather than the cube.

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