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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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Adding Existing Reports to Reporting Services Solution

  • 13 December 2010
  • Author: briankmcdonald
  • Number of views: 17097


If you’re anything like me, you create a ton of objects and have them in various projects. And sometimes, you may want to include one of those objects in another project. This is often the case when you download an example from the web somewhere, but it doesn’t include the entire project. Some of my blogs include the sample that I created for the blog. I don’t include the whole project, because I have assumed that one would know how to create a reporting services project and then add my report definition file into the existing solution. I have recently been asked to show someone how to add a report to an existing solution and as such...I am writing this blog. So without further ado… let’s get cracking…


Create a new Reporting Services Project by loading up Business Intelligence Development Studio. Mine is under All Programs > Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 as shown below.

Start up BIDS - Brian K McDonald


Then click the CREATE: Project… button in the Recent Projects window.

Create Report Server Project 1 - Brian K McDonald


Select the Report Server Project under the Project types: Business Intelligence Projects. Name the project whatever you want, I would recommend something along the lines of SSRS_TestProject or something like that. Save the project in whatever location that you want and should you choose to have BIDS create a folder for the project, set that name accordingly.

Create Report Server Project 2 - Brian K McDonald


Now that you have a project created for test reports. Download one of my examples here. Extract it and then add it to the project that you just created. To add the rdl file right click on the Reports folder and then go to Add and then select Existing Item… as shown below.

Add Existing Item - Brian K McDonald


Navigate to where the rdl file is located and select it. Then click the Add button as shown below.

Add Report - Brian K McDonald


When you click the add button, a copy of the file is then copied to your solution folder and then included in your project. That’s all there is to it! Save this project and the file that I gave you because in a not-too-distant post (maybe a few hours), I will show you how to do something nice using this report. Stay tuned!


I hope that you have enjoyed this post. If you did, please take just a moment to rate it below! Also, if you don’t already, please be sure to follow me on twitter at @briankmcdonald. Also note that you can subscribe to an RSS feed of my blogs or find me at any of the below methods.



Brian K. McDonald, MCDBA, MCSD
Business Intelligence Consultant – Pragmatic Works


Blogs: SQLBIGeek | SQLServerCentral | BIDN | SQLServerPedia

Twitter: @briankmcdonald




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