Power BI — Supported Data Sources

  • Flat Files
  • SQL Database
  • OData Feed
  • Blank Query
  • Azure Cloud platform
  • Online Services
  • Blank Query
  • Other data sources such as Hadoop, Exchange, or Active Directory


Under this category, you can see all the available data sources under Power BI desktop.


When you click File, it shows you all flat file types supported in Power BI desktop. To connect to any file type, select the file type from the list and click Connect. You have to provide the location of the file.


When you click the Database option, it shows a list of all the database connections that you can connect to.

Import vs DirectQuery

DirectQuery option limits the option of data manipulation and the data stays in SQL database. DirectQuery is live and there is no need to schedule refresh as in the Import method.

Advantages of Using DirectQuery

  • Using DirectQuery, you can build data visualizations on large datasets, which is not feasible to import in Power BI desktop.
  • DirectQuery doesn’t apply any 1GB data set limit.
  • With the use of DirectQuery, the report always shows current data.

Limitations of Using DirectQuery

  • There is a limitation of 1 million row for returning data while using DirectQuery. You can perform aggregation of more number of rows, however, the result rows should be less than 1 million to return the dataset.
  • In DirectQuery, all tables should come from a single database.
  • When a complex query is used in the Query editor, it throws an error. To run a query, you need to remove the error from the query.
  • In DirectQuery, you can use Relationship filtering only in one direction.
  • It doesn’t support special treatment for time-related data in tables.


Using the Azure option, you can connect to the database in Azure cloud. Following screenshot shows the various options available under Azure category.

Online Services

Power BI also allows you to connect to different online services such as Exchange, Salesforce, Google Analytics, and Facebook.


Following screenshot shows the various options available under other category.



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