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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 2008 R2: Show Column Meta-Data in ToolTip

First, I want to apologize to the three people that read my blog. Sorry for going dark for such a long period of time. I am not going to commit to writing on a regular basis just yet, but I will be back consistently soon. Enough about me, let’s talk about the problem at hand. Recently, someone asked if it was possible to show column information (description, data type, etc…) in a tooltip. I never really gave that scenario much thought until I was posed with the question. So, is it possible in SSRS 2008 R2? The answer is, not natively. However, it can be done with a little effort.

Report Code

Assuming you have already created your report, the first step is to add some custom code to your report. To do this click Report on the menu bar and select Report Properties. The Report Properties dialogue window will open.

Select the item labeled Code in the left section of the window. In the textbox labeled Custom Code, type your code. In the above image I included a VB code snippet that accepts two parameters, ColumnName and TableName. The code executes a query that returns the data type for the column/table combination. The statement could be modified to query a Meta data repository that contains more descriptive information about your column. For the sake of brevity I am querying the information_schema.columns table. Once you have written your custom code, the next step is to add a reference to the System.Data assembly. To do this, select References in the left section of the Report Properties window.

Next click the button labeled Add under Add or remove assemblies. Click the Ellipses button located to the newly added textbox and the Add Reference dialogue window will open.

Ensure that the .NET tab is selected, scroll down the list until you see System.Data. Select it and click OK.

The ToolTip

With all of the plumbing in place, now it’s time write the expression that will execute the code and render the tooltip. Since the requirement is to surface information about columns in the data set I will be adding an expression to the tooltip for each column header in the table on my report. To quickly apply the expression to each column, select every applicable column header in your table and press the F4 key, which opens the Properties window. Locate the ToolTip option, click in the field, select the drop down arrow and choose Expression. In the expression window type the following:

=Code.GetMetaData(Replace(ReportItems!Textbox5.Value,” “,“”), “Product”)

As mentioned above, the function accepts two parameters. The first is the value of that is displayed in the column header. Since SSRS automatically adds a space to column names that contain upper case letters, I used the Replace function to remove the spaces. One caveat about this approach is that if you customize the column header names you will need to explicitly include the column name in the expression instead of the code that I have include for the first parameter. The second value is the table name. You could further extend this to include the schema name also.


After all that I really really really thought I was done. So, I ran the report and when I hovered over my column headers nothing happened. To be honest, I had no idea what to do. After a few minutes of thinking I remember that there was an Output window available when you ran reports. I clicked View on the menu bar and selected Output, and there was my error:

‘Textbox5′ contains an error: Request for the permission of type ‘System.Data.SqlClient.SqlClientPermission, System.Data, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089′ failed.

Since I am not much of a .Net developer, I was still pretty lost. I decided to start searching the Internet. I found a few articles that evenutally led me a config file that needed to be modified. While I was pointed to the correct file, neither of documents provided me with the specific solution. After making a few changes and a few undo’s my report ran successful.

In this directory, C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\Common7\IDE\PrivateAssemblies, open the RSPreviewPolicy file. Locate the first CodeGroup section, which will be directly below the closing NamedPermissionSets tag, change the PermissionSetName attribute to FullTrust and save the file. You may want to make a copy of the file prior to changing and saving it.

After this change has been made, save the file and preview your report, which should run now.

If you have a better solution for this, please send me an email at Also, if something does not work send me an email. Thanks for reading.

Talk to you soon,

Patrick LeBlanc

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