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James Serra's Blog

James is currently a Senior Business Intelligence Architect/Developer and has over 20 years of IT experience. James started his career as a software developer, then became a DBA 12 years ago, and for the last five years he has been working extensively with Business Intelligence using the SQL Server BI stack (SSAS, SSRS, and SSIS). James has been at times a permanent employee, consultant, contractor, and owner of his own business. All these experiences along with continuous learning has helped James to develop many successful data warehouse and BI projects. James has earned the MCITP Business Developer 2008, MCITP Database Administrator 2008, and MCITP Database Developer 2008, and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering. His blog is at .

Power Query Preview November Update

As I mentioned in my previous post (see Power BI first impressions), Power Query is a great new tool and Microsoft has been updating it frequently.  The latest update has many new features, among them:

  • Connectivity to Windows Azure Table Storage – You can now import from Windows Azure Table Storage
  • Specifying a SQL native query command – You can now specify a command text when connecting to a database using the Power Query UI – this will be handy for users who already have SQL queries that they would like to just use for imports via Power Query (more info)
  • Improved navigator and multi-table import experience – Greatly improved the Import and Navigation experience for hierarchical data sources (such as Databases, Web pages, OData feeds, etc.).  You can directly select a table and load it into your workbook.  Also added the ability to import multiple items from the same source in a single shot, and specify whether you want to land them in a new Excel sheet or in the Data Model (note that import of relationships when building a data model is not enabled yet)
  • New Transformations Ribbon – Added a ribbon to the query editor, to improve discoverability of many transformations that were previously “hidden” behind contextual menus (right-click menus on column headers, cells, etc.).  This ribbon will let you apply operations on tables and columns based on the selection in the preview
  • Ability to specify Load Settings for your query upfront - As part of the Query Editor changes they have added a Query Settings pane which lets you manage the Name and Description for your query, the applied transformation steps and the Load Settings, all controlled before you load the query.  So you can now disable load to worksheet upfront, and this will prevent new sheets from being added to your workbook if you don’t want them.  Up until now, if you disabled “Load to worksheet” for your query you would still get a placeholder on the worksheet for your query (with a message saying “Load to worksheet is disabled”).  This placeholder is no longer created
  • Workbook Queries pane - A single point to manage and access all the queries in the current workbook.  This pane gives you the list of all queries in the current workbook, including previews, and provides easy access to the operations that can be performed on each query: Edit Query, Share, Merge, Append, Refresh, Delete, etc (more info)
  • Inline Merge/Append - You can now keep adding Merge/Append steps to your query “inline” from the Query Editor ribbon. The result will be just a new step at the end of the current query
  • Certify queries that you have shared -  Enable authorized business users and Data Stewards to certify shared queries in the Power BI Data Catalog as being authorized or authoritative (more info)

Other changes to Power BI for Office 365:

  • Power BI sites has  been updated with a new section called Featured Reports.  Excel files that are listed under Documents can be added to the Featured Reports section by clicking on the “” area and choosing Feature option.

Changes to the Power BI Data Management Gateway:

  • Removed the 100MB gateway limit on the size of a data set
  • Oracle support
  • Option to save the encrypted data connection credentials in the cloud
  • In the admin center, you can view performance information via an OData feed

More info:

Power Query = the Shining Star of Power BI

November Update of Power Query Preview is Now Available

Changes to Data Loading in the November 2013 Power Query Update

Changes to the Power BI Data Management Gateway – Nov 2013

What’s new in Power BI

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