Visualising the Tabular Model in Power View

Here are my slides from my recent presentation at SQLServerDays in Belgium. I love this conference; the team do a great job of organising it, and they always make me feel genuinely welcome. If you get the chance to go along, I recommend you take the experience!

Here are my slides for you to view.


Tabular model.bim set to ‘read only’ in AdventureWorks Codeplex Tabular Models.

If you download the AdventureWorks tabular model from CodePlex, then the files are marked ‘read only’. When I tried to open the file, I got a number of things happening. I’ve now changed so it isn’t read-only – no surprise there!

– I couldn’t see any of the ‘normal’ buttons in Visual Studio. So, for example, I had ‘Tools’ and ‘Window’, but I couldn’t find ‘Table’ and ‘Column’.

You need to point the tabular model at your on instance of the tabular model in two places:

– Click on the Model.bim file, and select ‘Properties’ and point the tabular model at the correct instance
– Click on the Project, and select the updated Properties information under ‘server’.

Then, double-click the Model name, and everything should be fine. You can see your buttons properly, and can process the tables and see the AdventureWorks data.

You will have to change the connection to the source database as well as the tabular model instance.

Hope that helps,

BISM Connection is missing from Document Types in SharePoint

If you want to connect Power View to your Tabular model, then you need to create a BISM Connection file. What happens, however, if you try to create a new connection in your SharePoint Data Connections library, and cannot find the BI Semantic Model Connection document type under ‘New Document’? It is missing! Why?

This usually means that you haven’t enabled the Content Type for the Data Connections library, or wherever you want to store your Data Connections.

To do this:

  • In SharePoint, go to ‘Library Tools’ for the Data Connections library
  • Go to Library Settings
  • About half way down, go to ‘Add from Existing Site content types’
  • Look for ‘BI Semantic Model Connection’ and add it to the list of available Content Types
  • When you return back to the ‘Settings’ page, you should now see the option available for BI Semantic Model Connection.

Here are some handy Books Online links, in case they help you to create the Connection file:

Create a Shared Data Source for a Data Model

Create a BI Semantic Model to a Tabular Database

Use a BI Semantic Model in Excel or Reporting Services

I hope that helps to save someone some time!

Jen x

Tabular Model: Why is the ‘Create KPI’ button grayed out?

How can you quickly identify how a given business objective is performing against a target? Tabular Models permit the implementation of Key Performance Indicators, which allow us to compare an actual value against a target value. A simple example of KPI usage might be to identify whether your sales are on target for a given month, for example. 

The TechNet tutorial for creating KPIs can be found here. Normally the process is straightforward, but you might notice that the ‘Create KPI’ button is grayed out. Why is this?
Basically, to create a KPI, you use the measure grid for a table to select a measure that evaluates to the KPI’s actual value. In the tabular model, this is also known as the Base value. Then, you use the Key Performance Indicator dialog box to select your target value. This can be a second measure or an absolute value, depending on your business requirement. Finally, you then define status thresholds that measure the performance between the Base and Target measures. 


A simple thing that might trip you up: you need to create a measure in the table, which you can place in the measure grid, which you can find at the foot of the table. In order to create a KPI, you need to select the base measure in the measure grid: if you don’t do this, then the KPI button will be greyed out.  Here is an example to the left.

In order to make sure that the ‘Create KPI’ button isn’t greyed out, simply click on your actual Base measure on the Measure Grid. Then, you will see that the Create KPI button comes back.

It may seem such a small thing, but I can see that it might frustrate who might be expecting a wizard to appear, with no dependency on having clicked the Base measure.

Tabular models and Tableau

I was recently asked how to connect Tableau to a Microsoft Tabular model. The concept itself is straightforward in Tableau. In my opinion, tabular models will become more prevalent, so I will start to look at them more detail.

It turns out that the individual who questioned me was struggling, unfortunately. The resolution was that he wasn’t including the instance name as part of the connection.

In order to help business users to connect Tableau to the tabular model, I have included a brief video on how to achieve connectivity between Tableau and the Tabular model.

The video does include my Scottish accent, so please feel free to turn down the volume!

The link to the video is here:

I’m blogging this on my iPad so please excuse that I haven’t inserted the video itself! I will do this when I am back online properly. I am on holiday just now, but thought it worthwhile just to get the information out to help the individual ASAP

Update 8th April: video inserted 🙂 enjoy


Data Visualisation Course with SQL Server 2012 Tabular Models, Power View and Excel

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be teaching a course on Data Visualisation on 30th May 2012 in London, in partnership with Technitrain, the UK’s foremost Microsoft training organisation. 
If you are looking to understand more about Microsoft’s latest Business Intelligence data visualisation offering, then this one-day course is for you! We’ll learn about SQL Server 2012 Power View and Excel, using SQL Server 2012 Tabular Models as a data source. 
Although this course focuses in technology, we will also be covering aspects of perception, cognitive psychology and data visualisation debate over what makes a good data visualisation. Understanding the ‘why’ of data visualisation can help you to see ‘how’ to produce better visualisations. We’ll be using Microsoft Power View and Excel in order to apply this knowledge to practical applications, thereby helping you to get the ‘message’ of the data across to your business users. Here are some of the topics we will cover:
  • Data Visualisation – Theory and Practice
  • Finding Patterns in Data
  • Getting to Know your Data using Power View and Excel
  • Power View in Depth
  • Dashboards – putting it all together

Please join myself and other ‘data vizzers’ for this one day course, and you can find more details, including Registration, by clicking here.
I look forward to seeing you there, and please do give me a shout if you’re coming along!