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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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PowerView: Coordinating Chart Colors

During a recent customer engagement I was asked if it was possible to ensure that the colors in a Line Graph for a particular value would be the same color for the same value on a Bar Chart.  I thought, GOOD QUESTION.  I launched PowerView and started creating a report.  First I created the following chart:


Notice the color of each line, blue for maximum, red for average and orange for minimum.  I created a bar chart using the same values, but using a different axis value.  Notice that the colors don’t match. 


Instead I have blue for average, red for minimum and orange for maximum.  What to do?  Well it’s pretty simple.  to the left of the report, locate the Values box.  Initially this is what it looked liked for the bar chart:


To correct the problem, change the order of the values to match the order used for the line graph.  Once that is done your colors should be the same for each value across the two charts.


I think this is a great feature.  The final chart resembled the following screenshot:


Talk to you soon,

Patrick LeBlanc

P.S.  Stay tuned for SQL Lunch updates.

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