How To Use Data Source For Power BI Services

Data is the main attribute of Power BI services. You can create any type of report and dashboard using Power BI services. Before that, you need to import data from different sources. When you log in Power BI services and create a new report, you import data from different sources. You can import data from local machine to online services.

This process is completed using the following steps:

  1. Import data
  2. Content Pack
  3. Databases
  4. Data refresh
  5. Limitation
  6. Conclusion

Import Data

Firstly, login to Power BI services when you import the data in Power BI services. Then, click on create and go to report or dashboard or dataset. If you click on dataset then you will get the window of dataset location.

If you click on the database, then you get the new window and see many options like Azure SQL database, Azure SQL Database warehouse, SQL server analysis services, spark etc. If you click on files then you can import data file from the local machine. You can import any type of file like .csv, .xlsx, .txt, .pbix, XML etc.

Content Pack

Content pack describes all of the dataset, dashboard, and reports you need already prepared for you. Power BI services have two types of content pack: services and organizational.


When you click on services then you get many types of app. You can create a connection from this app like Google analytics, JIRA, Azure Backup, Github, Zero, Adobe analytics, Azure search etc. Using this app you can establish a connection and create a report using the given app.


When you click on ‘my organization’ then you get the organizational window. This window shows the reports which are created by users.

These were the content pack in power BI services which describe the dashboard and reports.


Power BI services have many types of databases, you can connect any type of databases like Azure SQL Database, Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Spark on Azure HD Insight, and SQL Server Analysis Services using DirectQuery editor. If you select any one of the databases then you need to download on your machine that is if we click on Azure SQL database. It is a fully managed relational database as a service. After download and installation, with this database, you can create a connection to the Azure database.

Data Refresh

Data refresh is a process in which data should be automatically updated in power BI services with the refresh button. While importing any dataset and creating the report on Power BI services, if you want to change in the report then you can manipulate data according to the requirement. If according to the requirement, you change the data or manipulate the data on your local drive then go to the dataset and select the data tab and click on refresh now. After that, it will be updated accordingly.

This process is only applied for Power BI services, not for Power BI desktop because Power BI desktop has data editor window, we can edit from edit window and refresh from Power BI editor.


Power BI services have some limitations. When you create a report or dashboard then you face some issues like row limit, column limit, and size limit. These issues are raised for all data sources.

  1. Data size limit: Power BI services have 1 GB limit for each dataset. It is not supported for a large amount of data if data is greater than 1 GB.
  2. Row limit: Power BI services have a maximum number of rows in the dataset, it is 2 billion approx. When using a direct query then a maximum number of row is 1 billion.
  3. Column limit: Power BI services have 16000 maximum number of columns in a dataset. If you want to import a large amount of data then you can separate two tables from a large table.

These were the limitations of Power BI services. Power BI desktop works fast as compare to power BI services. But both have the same limitation. We can resolve this issue using a separate table from a large table.


In this article, I have explained to you how to use the data source for Power BI services. We can use a different type of data source in Power BI services. It can create a connection from any type of app like Git, Azure SQL etc. You can also connect any type of database like Azure SQL Database, Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Spark on Azure HD Insight, and SQL Server, spark. You can refresh the data time to time according to the requirement. We have some limitations in power BI services. It has a size limit, row limit, and column limit. This process is easy to use and apply. Data sources are the heart of Power BI reports and dashboard.

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