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This blog shows how to create your first tabular project in Visual Studio
Part four of a four-part series of blogs

Before you can get started with tabular SSAS, you need to check you have Analysis Services (tabular model) installed on your computer. This blog also shows you how to run and configure Visual Studio, and how to create your first tabular project.

  1. Getting started with tabular model Analysis Services
  2. Checking you have Analysis Services Tabular running
  3. Running and Customising Visual Studio
  4. Creating a tabular project in Visual Studio (this blog)

This blog is part of our online SSAS Tabular tutorial; we also offer lots of other Analysis Services training resources.

Posted by Andy Brown on 11 November 2015

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Creating a tabular project in Visual Studio

Once you've gone into Visual Studio (and customised it to show Solution Explorer and the Properties window), you can create a project as shown below.

 Creating a Tabular Project

You can choose to create a new project using this menu option:

New project

You can press SHIFT + CTRL + N to do this too.

You can now choose to create a new tabular model project, and also choose where to put it:

Creating a tabular project

Choose to create an Analysis Services BI project (and an Analysis Services Tabular Project to be specific).

Note that in the above dialog box, there's little point creating a directory for your solution:

Directory for solution

If you tick this box, you just get an additional unwelcome folder in your hierarchy.


A solution allows you to view more than one project simultaneously, but for most Visual Studio developers it will be sufficient to have a single project open at a time.

You may now be prompted to choose your workspace server:

Workspace server

The workspace server is the Analysis Services instance which will contain any models that you create.  It may be an idea to tick Do not show this message again, as you'll always want to use the SSAS instance running on your computer!

You can now see your project in Solution Explorer:

The files for the project

The files created for the project.


Every tabular project contains one (and only one) model, so there's not much left to do at this stage in Solution Explorer:

The model file

You can double-click on the Model.bim file to see your model (which to begin with will be completely blank).


Time now to go to the next part of this tutorial: a walk-through of creating a basic model.

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