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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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SQL Saturday #453–Minnesota 2015 Session Recap–A Window into Your Data

SQL Saturday Minnesota

TSQL WIndow Functions

Thanks for attending my session on T-SQL Window Functions. I hope you learned something you can take back and use in your projects or at your work. You will find an link to the session and code I used below. If you have any questions about the session post them in comments and I will try to get you the answers.

The presentation can be found here:

The code was put into a Word document that you can get here:

This session is also backed by an existing blog series I have written.

T-SQL Window Functions – Part 1- The OVER() Clause

T-SQL Window Functions – Part 2- Ranking Functions

T-SQL Window Functions – Part 3: Aggregate Functions

T-SQL Window Functions – Part 4- Analytic Functions


MSDN Resources:

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Thank You for Attending my #SQLSatOrlando Session! Slides, Resources, Recording

SQL Saturday #477 in Orlando, FL has come and gone but what a turn out! The event was excellent, we had a great turnout for our session and had a blast! And as a bonus, the BBQ lunch, baked beans, coleslaw, mac n cheese and dessert were amazing. Seriously one of the best lunches I’ve had a SQL Saturday event! Plus, the Lego name tags were epic! 100% without a doubt the coolest name tag ever.

Thank you to everyone that attending my session this past weekend! I apologize for the lack of space but we had quite a turnout for our session. People were sitting in every aisle, piled up in the front, standing along the back walls and windows. You all had some really great questions and some very valid points. Because of you, our session ended up being a great discussion! Thank you so much!

Standing room only!

Download the Session Materials

If you’d like to download my PowerPoint slide deck that I used during the session, you can find the link to that down below. Also, if you’d like to download the notes Mitch and I used to prep and during the session, you’ll also find that link below.

Download Dustin’s and Mitch’s PowerPoint Slide Deck for Data Warehouse from the Ground Up

Download Dustin’s and Mitch’s Notes

Also, in the past I presented this material during an online webinar for Pragmatic Works so if you missed my session or the event entirely, you can watch the session recording for free!

Watch Dustin’s and Mitch’s Webinar Recording for Data Warehouse from the Ground Up

Data Warehouse Design Resources

There’s two books that I highly recommend if you’re looking to learn the tenants of designing a perfect star schema data warehouse database. These books are excellent and should be in every data warehouse professional’s library, in my opinion!

image The Data Warehouse Toolkit: The Complete Guide to Dimensional Modeling
image Star Schema: The Complete Reference


Thank you for all the great feedback we received during and after our session. As speakers and

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Introduction to Power Query Q&A

  • 28 August 2013
  • Author: DevinKnight
  • Number of views: 5992

Thanks everyone for attending my free webinar on Introduction to Power Query on August, 27, 2013.  If you were not able join for the live event you can now watch the recording here. This was part of an ongoing webinar series by Pragmatic Works offers every Tuesday and Thursday at 11:00 AM EST.

In this webinar we showed several examples of how Power Query can be used as an effective Self-Service ETL tool.  I discussed that enterprise level ETL tools like SSIS are not going anywhere, but that Power Query can be used in conjunction with enterprise Data Warehouse solutions or for quick Ad-hoc extraction problems.

I’ve started to write follow up posts to these webinars because we always get great questions but there’s no way I could answer them all during the time allotted.  Here’s some of the questions I wasn’t able to get to and answers for them.

Q: What type of language is this Power Query and where can we learn from ?

It’s informally referred to as ‘M’.  There are several great resources here that you can start with.

Q: What happens if the EXCEL file link that was available for download is removed from the site ( Would our queries and functions fail or does it just not get updated info?

After the data is imported into Excel it then lives in Excel as static values, unless you manually refresh it.  So you can continue to use the data that you previously imported.  If you then hit refresh after the website is down then the queries would fail.

Q: Can you export a list of the steps created during an ETL process?

No, unfortunately I’m not aware of a way of doing this yet.

Q: How can you change the join type when merging tables?  for example to a full outer join?

Right now it’s basically doing a LEFT OUTER JOIN.  At this point the tool does not allow you to change this but I would anticipate improvements on this over time.

Q: How to add power query to ms office 2010

Power Query is available for Excel 2010 if you download it from the following link.

Other than the Add to Data Model button it should work basically the same that I showed today in Excel 2013.

Q: How to load excel files data into datamart without using SSIS?

So what I showed today does not to the more enterprise level features that SSIS does like loading a data warehouse.  Power Query takes data out of a source and brings it into Excel/Power Pivot only.  This is where it makes sense that tools like SSIS are not going away.  SSIS can handle things like dimension and fact table loads and then schedule these to refresh on a regular basis.

Q: Is there a way to have Power Query auto refresh the data like PowerPivot can be setup to autorefresh in Sharepoint?

Variations of this question appeared multiple times.  As of right now there is not a native way to auto refresh Power Query.  There are some methods of doing this now through things like macros or Matt Masson shows an example here.

My guess (take that for what it is worth) is that SharePoint will be part of the puzzle for scheduling Power Query data refreshes.

Q: Can you import data from power query into a different BI tool to do analysis?

Yes you can do this.  You can very easily get this into Power Pivot through methods shown during the webinar.  If that’s not what you’re looking for then keep in mind that the data lives in Excel so if the other data sources accept Excel as a data source then yes it would work.

There were lots of questions about the examples I showed.  If you would like to reconstruct my examples here are the websites I used..

Again, thanks for joining me for the webinar and hope to see you in a future one!

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