Create a new Power BI report and dataset (simply in the service, without Power BI Desktop)

In December, the Power BI team released a new feature to create reports in Power BI service.

Which does not sound new, right? Since the beginning of Power BI, you could create a new report in the service.. but now, the report can be created without the need of an existing dataset upfront.

Let’s see it in action

There are two options (at least I found two) how you can use the new feature: One is in the menu on the left side (+ Create), the other on is the marked yellow button in the screenshot.

With both options, you get to the following screen:

You can choose to either 1) use a published dataset for your report or 2) start from scratch with data from the clipboard.

Option 1 – Select a published dataset

Option 1 – select a published dataset

Option 2 – use data from the clipboard

For my demo, I use the output of a SQL query which I copied to the clipboard.

My source data is coming from SSMS

In Power BI (Power Query Online), I pasted the data into the dialog.

New data dialog – data is pasted into it

Before we can use the data, it needs some refinement. In this case, I use the first row as headers, change the column data types and select another name for the created table. What you could also do is to add additional column (and data to the data table) – but I will skip that step here.

The final data table

The Create button starts the creation of a dataset (in the current workspace) plus a new Power BI report is created. The Power BI teams calls it Quick Edit mode which means, you can add more columns that should be analyzed in the report, change the default summarization of the fields

The report generated contains blocks for every fields selected (KPI visual and break downs for the other dimensions) and an overview table in the bottom of the page.

Quick Edit or Full Edit Mode?

The menu bar

The menu itself allows us to save the report or save a copy of the report. Plus, we can start to analyze the dataset using Analyze in Excel.

QuickEdit: If you only use the Save option, the report stays in the QuickEdit mode which means, everytime you open it afterwards, you get directly into the QuickEdit mode (select new measures and/or dimensions that are automagically added onto the report page).

Attention: If you select the Edit action, you’ll get into the full edit mode and the Summarize pane is not available any more. This is a one-stop decision (and as of today, no return to the QuickEdit mode is possible).

To be honest, there is a way to get back to QuickEdit mode if you mistakenly switch to full edit mode. Do NOT save the report at this time and leave the edit mode. Next time you open the report, the Summarize pane is still there.

Power BI even asks for your permission to switch the edit mode.

Do you really want to switch to edit mode? (No QuickEdit anymore)

Afterwards, the report is available for full editing – you can change all the properties of the visuals and even remove or add parts to the report page.

Full edit mode

Behind the scenes

Every time you use this feature a new data set is created in the workspace you started the report creation. If you saved your report, the report itself also appears in the object list in your workspace.

Dataset details – Refresh not possible

If you want to have a closer look at the dataset, the settings page does not really reveal more details. We cannot schedule data refresh …. because this dataset seems to have no data model connections.. hmm!?

No refresh for the dataset

Download the pbix

Next, I downloaded the pbix file based on the dataset and had a look at the Power Query transformations. The Advanced Editor provides us with the “magic” how the table / datamodel is created. Power BI / Power Query Online transformed the data from the clipboard into a compressed string and this string is afterwards used for the data table.

Advanced Editor for the “clipboard based dataset”
  Source = Table.FromRows(Json.Document(Binary.Decompress(Binary.FromText("i45WMlTSAWNTAwM9AwMgw8jA0FLXwBCIgBynzOxUIOVcWlySn5tapOCfl6oUqxOtZATVZWiAqs0Yu7aQ8nywNmOgoDlItQmKLiOIruDcwzuKilKTig7vSEHRnVGUCrHWBGqtBRY7ceqG2m0KFDQ2ABPIuk3w6wZ7OBYA", BinaryEncoding.Base64), Compression.Deflate)), let _t = ((type nullable text) meta [Serialized.Text = true]) in type table [OrderID = _t, Quantity = _t, Amount = _t, OrderDate = _t, ArticleName = _t, CustomerName = _t]),
  #"Changed column type" = Table.TransformColumnTypes(Source, {{"OrderID", Int64.Type}, {"Quantity", Int64.Type}, {"Amount", type number}, {"OrderDate", type date}, {"ArticleName", type text}, {"CustomerName", type text}})
  #"Changed column type"

How can I change the data?

What if I want to change the data? I started with some google websearch and tried to modify the compressed string. But this was not the right thing I wanted to do on a saturday evening. And therefore I just hit the gear symbol in the Power Query Applied Steps section. šŸ™‚ – et voila…

How to modify the source object

If you need to, you can change the data in this dialog and also add or delete some columns. When done, save the pbix file and upload it to the Power BI service.

About wolfgang

Data Platform enthusiast
This entry was posted in Business Intelligence, Cloud, PowerBI. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Create a new Power BI report and dataset (simply in the service, without Power BI Desktop)

  1. Pingback: Im Power BI Service einen Report (und ein Dataset) erstellen – Ganz ohne Power BI Desktop – Power of Data

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