Connections in Power BI
There are many ways to connect the data to Power BI. The variety available in Power BI for connecting the data is way more than any tool available in the market. Apart from regular connections which are Excel, Text and CSV files, we can use queries, databases, SQL Servers, Cloud, and Website to get the data. The mentioned platforms are those platforms that are commonly used apart from Excel and Text files. In Power BI, all the possible source of connection has been categorized as per their applications. We will see all these connections in this article in detail.
Types of Connections Available in Power BI
To access and see all the connection types available in Power, go to the Home menu ribbon. And under the External Data section, select Get Data option, which is highlighted in the below screenshot.
Once we click on Get Data, we will be able to see the most commonly used Connections in the drop-down list. As we can see, all the common connections which we have discussed above which are Excel, Power BI datasets, Power BI dataflows, SQL Server, Text, Web, etc. can be seen. To get all the categories of connections, click on More as shown below.
We have understood the process. Now we will see, the different categories under More option of Get Data. Once we click on More from Get Data drop-down menu, we will get the complete list of all the connections available in Power as shown below.
- As we can see, under ALL category, we have all connections list, irrespective of their type. If we scroll down further, we will be able to see more of them.
As we can see, apart from ALL category, there are 6 other categories which are specific to their types, which are:
- Power Platform
- Online Services
Let’s see each one of them one by one.
We all know commonly used file types such as Excel, Text, and PDF. Here also, if we click on the File tab, we will be able to different file types list under File. Apart from previously mentioned files, we have XML, JSON, Folder and SharePoint folder.
We also might have seen or used SQL, MySQL, and MS Access databases. These are the databases that most of the people have seen or used. Apart from these databases, we have Oracle, IBM, Sybase, PostgreSQL, Teradata, SAP HANA, Impala, Snowflake, Essbase, Amazon Redshift, Exasol, Dremio, Indexima (Beta), Marklogic, etc. types under Database.
Database tab has all the possible types of Database tool connections that are available in the market. Such kind of variety is not available in any other BI tool.
#3. Power Platform
By seeing the name Power Platform, we can say this category has all the Power BI databases. Under this category, we have Power BI datasets, Power BI dataflows, Common data service, and Power Platform dataflows.
Azure is a kind of cloud database platform. By this, we can fetch the data from any Cloud platform into Power BI. The azure category contains Azure SQL Database, SQL Data Warehouse, Analysis Services Database, Blob/Table Storage, Cosmos DB, HDInsight Spare/HDFS, Azure Data Lake Storage Gen1 and Gen2 (Beta), etc.
#5. Online Services
In Power BI we have a variety of online services and tool by which we can fetch the data. These are Sharepoint, MS Exchange Online, Dynamics 365/NAV, Dynamics 365 Business Central, MS Azure Consumption Insight, Azure DataOps and Server, Salesforce Objects and Reports, Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Facebook, LinkedIn, SweetIQ, Planview Enterprise One, Twilio, tyGraph, Webtrends, Zendesk, Emigo Data Source, Entersolt Business Suite, Industrial App Store, Product Insight, Quick Base, TeamDesk, Workplace Analytics, etc.
In other categories, we have all the left source of databases which can be used database purpose. This category includes all programming and analysis languages such as R, Spark, Python, and Hadoop, which are used commonly. Apart from these, we have Sharepoint List, OData Feed, Active Directory, MS Exchange, OLE DB, Information Grid, Paxata, Roamier, Siteimprove, Survey Monkey, Vena, Workplace Dimensions, Tenforce, Blank Query, etc.
Most of the database types from Other category are free available.
How to Fetch Data From a Website?
We all have used different tools to get the data. But now we will see how to fetch data from a website. We will use (imf.org website) to fetch world population data. Or else we can search in google with “IMF world economic outlook database” and open the first link which comes up and click on By Countries (Country-Level-Data) link, select all the country and then choose Population among all the options.
- Go to Get Data option, from Other categories, select Web.
- Copy the link from the browser and paste that here. Click on Ok to proceed.
- After a few moment Power BI will fetch the data from that link. Select the sheet which has the data of our use. Then click on Load.
- We will be able to see the uploaded data from the selected link under Data view tab.
Pros of Power BI Connections
- Power BI Connections has the most variety of sources available with the properly connecting process.
- Apart from commonly used connection and file sources, the rest of the connection types in Power BI are also connected to Text, Excel or PDF files.
Things to Remember
- In spite of vast variety of database sources available in Power BI, we still not able to use or link more than 5 sources.
- Most commonly used database sources are available under the File category.
- A year or 2 years back the list of currently added databases was half of the present list. Microsoft continuously working on adding more and more databases into Power BI.
This is a guide to Power BI Connections. Here we discuss the types of Connections Available in Power BI and how to Fetch Data from a Website along with examples. You may also look at the following articles to learn more –