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  • 6 New Updates in Power Query

    Try what's coming next for Power BI!

    We hope all of you are enjoying 2015 so far! The Power Query team has been busy working on the latest Power Query update, which includes a new connector (or many new connectors, in this case!) and a bunch of other usability improvements.

    You can download this update from the Power Query download page.

    In this update

    The following features have been added or improved in this update:

    1. ODBC Connector
    2. “From Azure” ribbon dropdown menu
    3. Workbook Settings dialog
    4. Option to enable or disable relationship detection
    5. Column & Row counts in Query Editor Preview
    6. Confirmation dialog to delete a query when deleting a worksheet

    You can watch the following video or read below for more details about each feature.   


    ODBC Connector

    This new connector can be found under “From Other Sources > From ODBC” and it allows users to connect to their generic ODBC providers. This makes it possible for users to bring in data via Power Query from several data sources that are not natively supported. Users can connect and import data from ODBC-based data sources by specifying the connection string parameters and a SQL statement to execute.


    Note that credentials should still be entered on the credential page, rather than in the Connection String field above, to ensure credentials are not inadvertently shared with the query. Similar to other SQL Statement connections, Power Query will not be able to optimize query steps after the SQL statement so it is suggested that you optimize the original statement as much as possible (i.e. include “group by”, “join” operations, etc.)

    “From Azure” ribbon dropdown menu

    With the addition of several new data sources in the past few months, we started to hit issues related to the amount of entries under the “From Other Sources” dropdown menu. We considered sending bigger, higher-resolution monitors to all Power Query users as a gift, so everyone could see all entries in this menu. However, given the large amount of Power Query customers, this was not a viable solution. As a fallback plan, we have decided to create a new top-level menu for Azure-based data sources to balance the number of entries in each dropdown menu. This does not add any new data sources, but improves navigation, discoverability and ease of access for our data sources lists in the ribbon.

    Workbook Settings dialog

    In this update, we’re modifying the way in which Workbook Settings are exposed in the Power Query ribbon. Instead of having Workbook Locale and Fast Combine directly in the ribbon, we’ve moved them into a new Workbook Settings dialog. This allows us to provide better descriptions about these two settings, as well as make room for a new setting that we are adding this month: Enable/Disable Relationship Detection.

    Option to enable or disable relationship detection

    When loading queries into the Data Model, Power Query will try to detect relationships between them. These relationships might exist in the data source (i.e. SQL Server) or might be implicitly created by the user as part of their query steps. For instance, merging two queries would make Power Query detect a relationship between these two queries, which would be automatically created in the Data Model when these queries are loaded.

    As much as this is a useful feature, it is also one that may cause an increase in the load time for your queries. In many cases, users either do not want these relationships or know that there aren’t any relationships beforehand, which make this additional wait time unnecessary. Based on feedback from many of you, we have decided to add an option to turn this relationship detection off. Note that this setting is workbook-specific, so you will need to modify the default behavior (default is to continue trying to detect relationships) for each workbook via the Workbook Settings dialog.

    Column & Row counts in Query Editor Preview

    We have added counts for number of columns and rows in the Query Editor Preview. This will help you get a better sense for the shape and size of your data while defining transformations in your queries. Note that these counts are based on the Query Editor Preview, not the full data set. In particular, the number of rows will be smaller than the actual table row count in most cases. You will see these numbers change as more or less rows are displayed in the preview (for instance, you will see the row count increase when scrolling down in the preview).

    Confirmation dialog to delete a query when deleting a worksheet

    Before this update, deleting an Excel worksheet would result in all queries that had been loaded to this worksheet being automatically deleted as well. This caused accidental data loss for some users, unaware of this default behavior. Based on feedback, we have decided to add an additional confirmation for what to do with queries when the Excel worksheet that they were loaded to is deleted. There are two choices for the user: delete queries or modify their load settings to disable load to worksheet.

    That’s all for this month. We hope that you enjoy this update and find the new features valuable for you and your customers. Please send us your feedback or suggestions via Smile/Frown in Power Query.


    Download Power Query from our official download page.


    #update#power query#Power BI#Excel#Query Editor#Microsoft BI#azure#ODBC Connector#relationships#columns#rows

    Tue, 13 Jan 2015 17:00:00 GMT byMiguel.Llopis3 Comments

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  • New Power BI features available for preview

    Today we are previewing new features for Power BI, our self-service business intelligence solution designed for everyone. Power BI reduces the barriers to deploying a business intelligence environment to share and collaborate on data and analytics from anywhere.

    Try what's coming next for Power BI

    We are introducing a number of new Power BI features available for preview including dashboards, new visualizations, support for popular software-as-a-service applications, a native iPad app and live “hybrid” connectivity to on-premise SQL Server Analysis Services tabular models.

    These preview features are available for customers with a United States address. We’ll incrementally add new country support as we extend the preview globally in the coming months. Existing customers will find a preview option in their current Power BI sites. For those not currently using Power BI, you can sign up for a Power BI preview which includes the new features here.

    Now in Preview:

    Power BI dashboards

    Users can create personalized dashboards to monitor their most important data. A dashboard combines on-premises and cloud-born data in a single pane of glass, providing a consolidated view across the organization regardless of where the data lives. 

    Users can easily explore all their data using intuitive, natural language capabilities and receive answers in the form of charts and graphs. They can also explore data through detailed reports that target specific aspects of their business. Visuals from these reports can also be pinned to their dashboards for continuous monitoring. As part of this experience new visualizations have been added including combo charts, filled maps, gauges, tree maps, and funnel charts.  

    Out-of-the-box connectors for popular SaaS applications

    Power BI now provides “out of the box” connectivity to a number of popular SaaS applications. In addition to the existing seamless connection with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, with today’s release customers can also connect to their data in Salesforce, Zendesk, Marketo, SendGrid, and GitHub with many more to come in the months ahead. With an existing subscription to one of these services, customers can login from Power BI. In addition to establishing a data connection, Power BI provides pre-built dashboards and reports for each of these applications.  

    Excel BI and the Power BI Designer

    Excel 2013, which comes standalone and with Office 365 ProPlus, is Microsoft’s premier business analyst tool – it includes rich business intelligence features (Power Query, Power Pivot, Power View, Power Map) fully integrated with the powerful ad hoc analysis capabilities and familiar features of Excel – like Pivot Tables and Excel Charting. With Excel 2013, analysts can publish Excel Workbooks to Power BI, and share data, analysis and reports with Power BI users.

    For Power BI customers who don’t have Excel 2013, the new Power BI Designer provides a solution expressly designed for Power BI report creation. It can be used to import and model data, then author and publish Power BI reports to the Power BI service. 


    Connect live to on-premises Analysis Services models

    With the new Power BI connector for SQL Server Analysis Services, customers can realize the benefits of a cloud-based BI solution without having to move their data to the cloud. Customers can now create a secure connection to an “on-premises” SQL Server Analysis Services server from Power BI in the cloud. When users view and explore dashboards and reports, Power BI will query the on-premise model using the user’s credentials.

    With this hybrid solution, organizations can continue to retain, manage and secure their data on-premises, while securely enabling users to benefit from that data via Power BI.

    Stay connected from any device

    We are working on a wave of native mobile apps for Power BI. These apps will allow users to access their Power BI dashboards and reports through immersive mobile experiences for iPad, iPhone, and Windows tablets. The first of these - the iPad app is available today and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store, with other platforms following in the coming months. All Power BI mobile apps enable users to share insights and collaborate with colleagues so that they can take immediate action, from anywhere, anytime.

    We welcome you to preview the new features for Power BI and look forward to your feedback.

    #Power BI#Excel#data visualization#dashboard#Salesforce#power BI Designer#Marketo#Zendesk#Preview#Analysis Services#SaaS#Dynamics CRM

    Thu, 18 Dec 2014 22:50:00 GMT byPower BI Team20 Comments

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  • Announcing New Excel 2013 BI Stability and Usability Improvements

    Recently we have announced a new public update to Excel 2013 that includes major stability and usability improvements in Self Service BI scenarios, especially when Power Query, Power Pivot & Power View are involved. For this release we eliminated over 120 bugs, crashes and hangs, and introduced two new important usability improvements that aim to make the analysts’ work smoother.

    If you are ready to get the update straight away, skip to the How to Download and Install the Update section below.

    Deferred Data Model Update

    In Excel 2013, any change to the Data Model caused Excel to immediately update every PivotTable, PivotChart, and Query Table in the workbook. 

    The users were forced to wait every time that they make a change to the Data Model, such as creation of a new measure or a calculated column. Sometimes, depending on the workbook and Data Model complexity, the waiting period could be pretty long. 

    To address this problem we have introduced the following changes:   

    1. When the user is within the Power Pivot add-in, we accumulate the changes performed by the user in the Data Model  without the Excel workbook being updated. 
    2. When the user moves the focus away from the Power Pivot window and in case the Data Model was changed, then the Excel workbook will be updated automatically.

    This change significantly enhanced the experience of the user doing modelling in Excel, so don’t miss on installing this update and experience it for yourself.

    Out-of-Memory Improvements

    Running out of memory in Excel 2013, in scenarios when the Data Model was involved, caused a computer freeze or Excel crash. In this release we targeted these scenarios and introduced a better and friendlier customer experience.

    Specifically, in the scenario when 64-bit version of Excel 2013 is running low on physical memory, or if the user is running a 32-bit version of Excel 2013 and getting close to the 2GB virtual memory limit, Excel will detect this, will stop all allocations and will show the “Out of Memory” error message to the user.

    Bug Fixes

    For this release we fixed over 120 bugs, crashes and hangs in different scenarios. We improved the stability of slice and dice operations, refresh, Data Model upgrade, connection editing and many more.

    We really encourage you to download the latest Excel update and try it yourself.

    How to Download and Install the Update

    If you have automatic updates enabled for your Office 365 subscription, you should receive the latest Excel update soon. If you don’t have automatic updates enabled in Excel, go to File > Account > Update Options > Update Now.

    If you are running a perpetual Office edition then you will need to install the following updates through Windows Update or Microsoft Download Center – KB2910929, KB2899498, KB2899505 and KB2920734.

    #update#power query#Power Pivot#Power View#Excel#performance

    Tue, 16 Dec 2014 17:00:00 GMT byPower BI Team15 Comments

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