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This month's big story is a huge range of improvements to the Q&A feature in Power BI, with more in the preview pipeline. There are also a built-in PowerApps visual, improvements to data profiling in Query Editor and a new template for connecting to datasets.
- Updates to Power BI for October 2019
- The new Q+A visual, and many other Q+A changes
- The PowerApps visual is now part of Power BI
- Data profiling enhancements in Query Editor
- PBIDS files to create data access templates (this blog)
- Features in Power BI preview as at October 2019
Posted by Andy Brown on 20 October 2019
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PBIDS files to create data access templates
Although it's implementation is a bit primitive, I love this feature! You can create a text file and save it with the extension .pbids. When you send this to someone and they double-click on it, they will be able to choose which data to connect to.
How .pbids files work
To show this, I'll take a fairly unrealistic example. Suppose that you want to give your users a chance to link to one of the tables on our Power BI training page:
When a user double-clicks on a file with the .pbids extension, Power BI will open a report and ask a user to choose from the connections within it.
Here's what we want a user to see when they double-click on the .pbids file above:
A user can choose any table from the data source given in the .pbids file (here Power BI lists web page tables, but these could be files in a folder, SQL Server tables, etc.).
One big restriction at the moment: all of the tables must come from the same data source.
Creating a .pbids file
To create a text file like the one shown above, a good place to start is to copy one of the templates from this page:
I copied this template, but there are 6 or 7 others listed.
Create a new text document (there is no template editor yet for this feature!):
One way to do this is to right-click in Windows Explorer and choose the option shown above.
Paste in the copied text, and change the file extension from .txt to .pbids. You're now ready to try double-clicking on the file to see what happens!
If you're linking to a database you can either hard-code the mode (Import or DirectQuery) or let the user choose it, and likewise either hard-code the database name or let the user choose this too.