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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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Understanding Microsoft Self-Service BI Recording and Q&A

  • 26 September 2013
  • Author: DevinKnight
  • Number of views: 3950

I hope you were able to attend my free webinar on Understanding Microsoft Self-Service BI on September 26, 2013.  If you weren’t you can now download the recording here.

Because I covered new material all the way to the end of the webinar i thought I’d also answer some of the top questions I didn’t have time to answer here.

Q: Can an Excel Power Pivot 2013 model be read by Excel 2010 or Excel 2007? What about Excel versions and their compatibility with SharePoint Versions?  I ask because we are upgrading our SharePoint environment to 2013 but most of our users have Excel 2010 (a few have 2007).

You can open an Excel 2013 workbook that has a Power Pivot model in older versions but you cannot modify them.  You can however deploy Excel 2010 and Excel 2013 workbooks to you SharePoint 2013 environment and it they interact the same.

Q: Is there a way for me in us my own map?  ex. wards/districts in my county

I assume this one is referring to Power Map and the ability to map geopolitical regions.  It doesn’t currently have the ability to your own regions yet.

Q: Where do we download power map?

Q: Can you change to use google maps instead of bing maps?

No, Microsoft tool = Microsoft maps! :)

Q: Could I use relationships using more than one field?

No, Power Pivot only has the ability to create relationships on one field at a time.  If you need to join on more than one field, which in the real world is often, then you have to get creative.  In the quick example I showed we merged two columns together to make a single join column that could be used for our relationship.

Q: Is Power Query available for Excel 2010?

It sure is!  This is one of the great things about Power Query is that it is compatible with both Excel 2010 and 2013.

Q: How can you share Power View reports? Do you have to share the excel file or can you display in SharePoint?

You have a couple options.  You can share the excel file like you’ve suggested or you can deploy it to SharePoint.  If you develop the Power View reports in SharePoint you can also export via PowerPoint.

Q: Will these slides be available

Sure thing!  Download them here.

Q: The maps features is very interesting.  Can it do counties within a state .. and neighboring states?

Yes, Power Map has the ability to regionally map counties and zip codes as well.

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