Tag Archives: DAX

Exporting Data from Power BI Desktop to Excel and CSV – Part 2: Importing Power BI Data to Excel Directly



In my previous post I explained how to copy and paste data from Power BI Desktop into Excel or CSV. I also explained how easy you can export Power BI Desktop data to CSV using DAX Studio. As I promised, in this post I show you how to import Power BI Desktop data to Excel directly. In this method you don’t need to use any third-party software and the performance is much better than the previous methods.

Note: The method I explain in this post is tested in Excel 2016 only. But, it should work for Excel 2013.

Importing Power BI Desktop Directly to Excel Directly

In one of my previous posts I explained how to connect to a Power BI Desktop from Excel. To import Power BI Desktop data to Excel we have to do the same thing. I explain the way to connect to a Power BI Desktop model directly from Excel again then I show you how to use this method to import Power BI Desktop data.

Finding Power BI Desktop local port number from Power BI Desktop temp directory

We can find Power BI Desktop local port number in number of ways explained here. So in this post I don’t go through all methods.

Whenever we run Power BI Desktop, it opens a random port number. The port number is independent of the model so it doesn’t really matter if  we haven’t connected to any data sources or even if we haven’t open any saved Power BI Desktop (*.PBIX) files. That port number is stored in a text file named “msmdsrv.port.txt”. So the only thing we need is to do is to browse the temp directory of Power BI Desktop and open the “msmdsrv.port.txt” text file. You can find Power BI Desktop temp folder here:

%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Power BI Desktop\AnalysisServicesWorkspaces

There should be an “AnalysisServicesWorkspaceXXX” folder which XXX is a random number. Open that folder then open “Data” and Find “msmdsrv.port.txt”. Open the file to see Power BI Desktop local port number.


Continue reading Exporting Data from Power BI Desktop to Excel and CSV – Part 2: Importing Power BI Data to Excel Directly

Creating Custom Table in SSAS Tabular using Table and Row Constructors in DAX


A while ago I was working on a Power BI project which the customer wanted to define a new table directly in the model. The easiest way to achieve this in Power BI Desktop is to “Enter Data” which creates a new table by typing or pasting in new contents. I was thinking of that project the other day and thought, hey, how we can do the same in SSAS Tabular when there is no Power Query (M) language available in SSAS Tabular 2016. The good news is that Power Query will be available in the next version of SSAS Tabular in SQL Server vNext. But, until then a workaround would be entering data to a CSV file then load it to the model. Another way is to implement custom tables in DAX in SQL Server 2016 Tabular models using Table and Row Constructors. In this post I show you a way of creating custom table in SSAS Tabular using table constructors in DAX. You can do the same in Power BI as the same principle applies. Therefore, in case you’d prefer not to use “Enter Data” feature which effectively uses Power Query to create a new table in Power BI Desktop, then you can use DAX to do the same.


If don’t already have SQL Server 2016 it’s probably time to download and install it. I use AdventureWorksDW as sample database in this article.


You are involved with an SSAS Tabular project and the customer asked for a report in Power BI with dynamic Card so that the values shown in the Card visual should dynamically change based on selected measure from a slicer. You have several different measures in the model and the customer wants to show some of them dynamically in only one Card visual. Consider you have the following measures to be shown in the Card:

  • Total Internet Sales
  • Internet Sales in 2014
  • Total Number of Internet Sales Transactions

You have to create a logic so that the users can selected any of the above measures to show in a single Card visual.

How it works

After you meet the requirements, you’re good to start implementing the above scenario in SQL Server Data Tool (SSDT). Creating a calculated table in SSAS Tabular 2016 is fairly easy. All we need to do is to create a custom table with two columns. One column stores friendly names for measures and the other one holds DAX expressions for the measures. As you might have noticed, I’m talking about creating a custom table in DAX and populating it with values. Continue reading to see how. What we are going to do is to create a calculated table using table constructors in DAX. Table and Row Constructors weren’t available in previous versions of DAX in SSAS Tabular. They are very similar to Lists or a list of Tuples just like what we have in MDX.

I’ll explain this later when we created our sample model in SSDT. Continue reading Creating Custom Table in SSAS Tabular using Table and Row Constructors in DAX

Using “IN” Operator in DAX

IN operator in DAX

If you are a SQL guy I bet you’ve used “IN” operator zillions of times. You might also looked for the same functionality in DAX and I’m sure you’ve found fantastic blog posts showing you how to mimic the same functionality in DAX. The October release of Power BI Desktop is full of new analytics features such as Grouping, Binning and TOPN filtering. On top of that, one new awesome feature that is not documented at time of writing this article, or at least I haven’t find anything over the internet, is “IN” operator in DAX. In this post I show you how to use it in your DAX expressions.


Note 1: You need to install SSMS2016 to be able to write DAX queries provided in this article. Alternatively, you can use DAX Studio . If for any reasons you cannot use SSMS 2016 or DAX Studio and you only have Power BI Desktop, don’t worry, I’ll provide some examples in Power BI Desktop as well.

Note 2: If you run previous versions of SQL Server it’s absolutely alright. There is nothing special in AdventureWorksDW2016CTP3 for this article that you don’t get in older versions of the sample database. But, keep in mind that SQL Server 2016 Developer Edition is now free and you can download it very easily. Check this out if you’re interested to see how.

Getting Started

After downloading the latest version of Power BI Desktop run it then

  • “Get Data” from SQL Server
  • From AdventureWorksDW2016CTP3 load “FactResellerSales”, “DimProduct”, “DimProductCategory”, “DimProductSubCategory” and “DimDate” to Power BI Desktop model
  • Find the local port of Power BI Desktop by opening “msmdsrv.port.txt” file from the following path:

“%UserProfile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Power BI Desktop\AnalysisServicesWorkspaces\AnalysisServicesWorkspaceXXXXXXXX\Data”

Note: The “XXXXXXXX” postfix is a random number. 

  • Open SSMS 2016 and connect to Power BI Desktop model as an Analysis Services local server. Do you want to learn more about how to connect your Power BI Desktop model from different software? Then check this out.

SSMS Connect to Power BI Desktop Model

  • Open an MDX new query
  • Run the following DAX query

Here is the results:

Writing DAX in SSMS

Now we want to filter “CalendarYear” so that the query shows sales values for 2011 and 2012 only. One common scenario we had to do in prior versions of Power BI Desktop, Power Pivot or SSAS Tabular model was to use a logical OR operator “||” like below:

From now on we can write the above query using “IN” operator in DAX like below:

Here is the results:

IN operator in DAX

Continue reading Using “IN” Operator in DAX

Webinar Materials: Power BI Under the Hood

Pass DW BI VC Power BI Under the Hood with Soheil BakhshiI’d like to thank you all for attending the webinar held on 30th September 2016. I talked about some amazing under cover aspects of Power BI Desktop model. In this session you learnt:

If you’ve missed the webinar you can watch it online here:

Download the Power Point presentation file here.:

Download (PPTX, Unknown)

Here is the PDF version of presentation:

Download (PDF, Unknown)

How to Overcome Map Related Issues in Power BI, Power View and Power Map

One of the most powerful features in Power BI and Excel is supporting geospatial visualisations. In Excel we can use Map visualisation in Power View, or use Power Map directly. In Power BI, as you know, there are two built-in visualisations supporting geographic coordinate data, Map and Filled map. They work beautifully if you have enough data supported by Bing Maps. But, there are some issues with Map visualisations in both Power BI and Excel. In this post I address some of the issues I faced myself and I’ll provide the solutions for the issues. As “Filled Map” and “Map” visualisations in Power BI are very similar my focus in this post would be on “Map” visualisation. My intention is not explaining Power View and Power Map that much so my focus in this article would be on Power BI more than the other two.


To experiment everything I explain in this post you need to have:

  • The new SQL Server sample, WideWorldImportersDW (WWI). You can download it here
  • The latest version on Power BI Desktop (current version is 2.35.4399.381 64-bit (May 2016))
  • Excel 2016 or Excel 2013

If you use Excel 2016, then you need to turn on Power View on.

Check this out if you want to learn more about BI features in Excel 2016.

Get Data in Power BI

  • Open Power BI Desktop
  • Get Data from SQL Server Database
  • Select Fact.Sales and Dimension.City then load data

Power BI Desktop

Map Issues In Power BI

Wrong Cities in Power BI

  • Expand the “Dimension City” table
  • Select “City” column then change its Data Category to City (Data Category is on “Modeling” tab from the ribbon)

Power BI Desktop Data Category

  • Put a Map visual into the page
  • Put “City” on Location
  • Put “Total Excluding Tax” on Size

Power BI Desktop Map

As you see sales distributed across different countries, but, this is not quiet right.

  • Put a slicer on the page then put “Country” on the slicer
  • Click “United States” to filter the Map

Power BI Desktop Slicer

Oops! This is not quiet right. What happened is that Bing Map Engine gets confused with the city names so that it shows a city with the same name outside of the US, just like New Plymouth which a city in New Zealand, but, the New Plymouth we have in our data source is the New Plymouth from Idaho in the US.

Continue reading How to Overcome Map Related Issues in Power BI, Power View and Power Map

Connect to Power BI Desktop Model from Excel and SSMS

Power BI Desktop Excel SSMSPower BI Desktop is a fantastic report authoring tool. I have lots of experience working with Tableau as well and I can say, man, Power BI is growing very quickly. Lots of awesome ideas have been added to Power BI and a lot more is coming. But, It might be a question for some of you that is that possible to connect to a Power BI Desktop model from Excel, SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) or SQL Server Profiler? The answer is yes, you can. But, how on earth someone should connect to a Power BI Desktop model from Excel, SSMS or SQL Server Profiler? Well, it could be useful for the following scenarios:

  • Connecting to the model using SQL Server Profiler for performance tuning, monitoring and so forth
  • Again, if you have some performance issues you might need to connect to the model from SSMS
  • You have a complex model and it’s hard for you understand it, but, you are a great Excel developer, so you can connect to Power BI Desktop model from Excel so you can use reach features available in Excel like named sets
  • Just for curiosity! You are curious about writing MDX codes over an existing model, you want to see how your model look like in Excel and so forth

In this article I show you how to connect to Power BI Desktop model regardless of any use case scenarios. So for whatever reason you’d like to connect to a Power BI Desktop model this post will help you achieve your goal.

How it works

Power BI Desktop uses xVelocity technology and loads data into memory. It uses a local instance of SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS). It does the job by running msmdsrv.exe file which can be found in “bin” folder under your Power BI Desktop installation folder which is normally under you Program Files. The msmdsrv.exe is indeed the SSAS service file. So even if you haven’t installed SSAS on your machine Power BI Desktop runs msmdsrv.exe. When Power BI Desktop runs msmdsrv.exe it creates a local instance of SSAS. This local SSAS instance uses a random port number so it would be valid until Power BI Desktop is not closed or the msmdsrv.exe is not killed from Task Manager.

Find msmdsrv.exe in Power BI Desktop Folder

So, we have a local instance of SSAS using a random port number. Therefore, we should be able to connect to the instance from Excel, SSMS or SQL Server Profiler only if we know the port number.

Note: If you have installed an instance of SSAS on your machine you can find msmdsrv.exe under “\OLAP\bin” folder from SQL Server installation path:

%ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\msasXX.INSTANCE_NAME\OLAP\bin

which XX is your version of SQL Server. So XX would be 10, for SQL Server 2008R2, could be 11 for SQL Server 2012 and so on. The difference between the local msmdsrv.exe file located in your Power BI Desktop\bin folder with the other one you can find under your SQL Server installation folder is that the one which Power BI Desktop runs is a console programme while the other one is a Windows service programme.

How to find Power BI Desktop local port?

There are various methods you can obtain the port number. In this post I explain three of them.

  • Finding Power BI Desktop local port using Windows Command Prompt (CMD)
  • Using DAX Studio
  • Finding local port number from Power BI Desktop temp directory

Continue reading Connect to Power BI Desktop Model from Excel and SSMS

Role Playing Dimensions in Power BI

In this post I want to explain how to handle role playing dimensions in Power BI. I wrote an article awhile ago regarding role playing dimensions in SSAS Tabular which is valid for Power BI Desktop. But, in this post I show you two new alternative ways to handle role playing dimensions without importing tables, for instance DimDate,  into the Power BI model several times. You also don’t have to create database views on your source database. I show you how to manage this in both DirectQuery and Import modes when connecting Power BI Desktop to a SQL Server database.

I used AdventureWorksDW2016CTP3, but, you can use any other versions of AdventureWorksDW database or you can mimic the process to your own model.

Note: If you are designing a star schema for your data warehouse you can easily create a Date dimension as explained here.

The idea is to manage role playing dimensions in Power BI Desktop itself in the easiest way possible.

Role Playing Dimensions in Import Mode

  • Open Power BI Desktop
  • Get data
  • Select “SQL Server”
  • Enter the server and database names then click OK

Power BI SQL Server Connection

  • Select DimDate and FactInternetSales from the list then click “Load”
  • “Import” mode is selected by default. Click OK

Power BI Connection Settings

Continue reading Role Playing Dimensions in Power BI