17 Jun Why Power Query is Important in Power BI
This tutorial will discuss why Power Query is essential to Power BI. Microsoft Power BI, as we all know, is a business analytic solution that allows you to visualize your data and share insights in an organization.
Several services have been made available for users to use among all the Power BI Desktop, which is free. We use this tool daily for producing interactive visuals and for all sorts of data visualization. Also, non-technical business users can use this tool for whatever they want to do, and this tool requires no upfront training.
Let’s move to our topic of interest, the Power Query. The Power Query is listed among other components of Power BI, such as the Power Pivot, Power View, Power Map, and Power Q&A. Each of these components has a cogent role they play in helping users meet their business needs.
The Power Query is a data transformation tool and a preparation engine that came with Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Power BI. This tool helps users process and manage data of different file types such as Excel, CSV, Web Pages, Databases, e.t.c. We can use Power Query to combine data from these various sources, derive new columns, reshape this data, format and write formulas for advanced data manipulations.
We have two ways to access Power Query, and you can either use it via Power BI Desktop or Online.
Since we’ve defined Power Query, let’s look at why it’s being used a lot.
Key reasons for using this tool
- Power Query provides connectivity to a wide range of data sources, including data of different sizes and structures.
- This highly interactive tool gives users excellent guidance for building queries over any data source.
- With Power Query, we can work over a subset of a dataset to carry out data transformations and filter to our desired size.
- Power Query also provides consistency of experience and parity of query capabilities over all data sources.
- We can manually refresh Power Query or use its scheduled refresh capabilities.
- With Power Query, we can reshape data by transposing, grouping, pivoting, un-pivoting, e.t.c.
- We can also write formulas to perform advanced manipulation of data.
Overview of Power Query Interface
To gain access to the Power Query Editor, open your Power BI Desktop, bring in sample data, go to the Home tab, and click Transform data.
After you’ve clicked on the Transform data, you should have an interface as shown below;
The image shows five different tabs: Home, Transform, Add Column, View, Tools, and Help. Each of these tabs has a crucial role in assisting the analyst in manipulating data to his desired choice. We also have different tabs below it, which we can use to transform our data. We can play around with these different menus to generate the new cleaned and structured data format we want.
Another key thing to note is our Data Pane at the center, the left Pane, and Query settings on the Right. The Data Pane at the center is where we have our view and see what’s going on in our data, while the Pane on the left shows us the number of ongoing queries with each query name displayed. The Right Pane is also regarded as Query Settings, which displays all steps related to each query.
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