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Power BI. Using flags in a junk dimension

We currently have a project where the metrics are actually flags to count whether a record is true or false rather than business metrics like Amount, SaleAmount etc

  • Is something completed? 1 or 0
  • Is something in Development? 1 or 0
  • Is something Out of Scope ? 1 or 0


Now, if you left these in the fact table you could sum them to create a measure. But you are left with thousands of rows of just 1s and 0s. against all the keys in the fact table.

Also, they aren’t really metrics. They are true and false flags and as a consequence should not be in a fact table.

The above solutions is not what Kimball would recommend. Kimball recommends a Junk Dimension

Definition from Kimball: — A junk dimension is the combination of several row-level cardinality flags and attributes into a single dimension table rather than modeling them as a separate dimension

It should also be noted that a junk dimension can contain flags and other attributes that don’t quite fit anywhere else.

The star schema looks like this (This is just an example STAR)

Flags are split between two areas D1 and D2 which has also been added to the junk dimension as its basically just a title to split the metrics into two rows in a table.

These two areas are two completely separate low level fact tables, with different metrics and dimensions. think of for example ‘Human resources’ and Marketing’.

we have them here because we have a high level granularity STAR Schema comparing some of the similar flags across the two departments.

This could have been added as a separate dimension but as its just one data item it seemed more sensible to add it here.

So instead of having them repeated over and over again in Fact. We just have every option available set in the junk dimension once. So every single record where F1 is true for Area D1 goes to Key 0.

Summing the flags

The flags are Bool. True false columns so we cant simply sum them up. If we were to do that we would need to convert them to int

Flag int = CONVERT([Flag],INTEGER)

Once converted we could sum them.

SUM([Flag Int]

The junk dimension is used against multiple fact tables and here is the first issue.

If we create DAX this way, there is no mention of the central fact table. Therefore if you use it it just counts all the true flags in the dimension, completely separately from the fact table.

We need that join to the fact table in the DAX

So we dont need to Convert the Flag to an int to use it in a measure. We can do the following:

Measure is true = CALCULATE(COUNT(‘Fact1′[JunkKey]),’Dim Junk'[Flag]=TRUE()|| ‘Dim Junk'[Area] = “D1” )


The CALCULATE function evaluates the Count of the Junk keys that are already integer within the fact table. This is important because we have now created a reference to one of the fact tables.

And we are counting where the Flag is equal to True in the Dim


Allows us to add another and. In this case we are only looking at the D1 area.

We can add these logically into the separate fact tables

Measure is true = CALCULATE(COUNT(‘Fact2′[JunkKey]),’Dim Junk'[Flag]=TRUE()|| ‘Dim Junk'[Area] = “D1” )

And now we have a fact table with measures we can use for reporting. And we have made sure out Power BI data model is as small as it can be in memory.


Power BI – Deployment Pipeline Quick Tips – Setting dataflow Environment sources and Publishing (Direct Query) Datasets containing multiple Datasets

You need Premium or Premium Per user to work with Deployment Pipelines

This happens right at the beginning of the Deployment Pipeline process when you have just added Dev to the Pipeline and you need to deploy Test and Prod

Tip – Changing Data source Rules for Dataflow

You now need to deploy your dev dataflow which is connected to the dev database into Test. You cant change the data source rule until you have a data source to work with.

After deploy, the test dataflow is still against the dev data source (Azure SQL database)

Click Test Deployment Settings

Deployment Rules – Click on your dataflow

Data Source Rules – Change This (Your Dev Details) to this (Select and choose your Test SQL Server and Database)

And Save

The tip here is to then deploy your dataflow Dev to Test again. Only then will it use the new settings.

To check go back to the workspace and go to settings for the dataflow

Deploying Datasets that contain multiple data sets

This is specific to setting up Power BI With the Following Option

With this option set you can create smaller data sets, probably based on a star schema. Then if required you can connect to another data set. And then connect to more data sets and data. Without this option you can only connect to one data set.

This has changed from a Direct Query Connection (The standard way. 1 Data Set Only) to Live Query Connection (Analysis Services and Multiple data sets)

Tip- Move your hybrid data set after the original data sets

So here, what we can do is move the dataflows, and datasets A B and C at the same time.

Once completed move Star A B and C so it goes after the schemas its based on

Then do the report.

If you try and do them all together you will get errors.

So these are just a couple of tips to look out for when setting up your Pipelines for the first time. And if you use the setting that allows you to connect to multiple data sets.

Power BI – App Viewers can’t see the data in the report

We recently had an issue where a shared dataset (pbix) had been set up over a SQL Database.

This was then published to Power BI

A new pbix was created.

Power Platform – Power BI datasets was chosen and the shared dataset was selected. Then reports were created and published to Service.

An App was set up and a user was added to view the report.

However when they came to view the report, they would see the report but not the data. All they had was messages about not having access to the data.

At first we struggled to understand what the problem was and then it started to add up.

Previously we had worked on a project with dataflows and multiple datasets being used for one report. So we have the following ticked

This worked great for this specific project. We were in Premium. There were dataflows.

However, this project is just a test report, not set up in Premium and without dataflows.

The above setting is a blanket setting that sets every pbix to you create from Live Query to Direct Query

Live Query is where it live connects to just one data set only and then when you publish your report over the data set it uses that initial shared dataset and doesn’t create a new data set because the DAX, model etc. is all set up in that specific data set.

Direct Query is a slight change. You Direct Query the data source (the data set) and crucially you can also direct Query other data sets, even other data sources like data bases and flat files all together. But that Shared Data set is also direct querying its data source.

Direct query is a good one for real time analysis from a transactional database. But many DAX expressions aren’t available over Direct Query straight over a database. For example, time based intelligence DAX. So the reports are much simpler in Power BI. And more complex to set up at the database end for the users.

In this instance, the reason we have issues is because there is no dataflow at the start of the Power BI process. 

If you are using Direct Query over a dataflow, the data is imported into Power BI into the dataflow. The dataset Direct Queries the Dataflow.  Your users are then added to the workspace App and they can see the data because they have access to the dataflow.

Without the dataflow, your data set is calling data directly as Direct Query.  Which is essentially where Power BI always calls from the data base and not from the Power BI Columnar data store.

So the users were opening up the App, and trying to access data straight from the database because there is no dataflow holding the data. Because the user doesn’t have access to the database, there is no data to be seen.

So the issue here I think is that Power BI should be allowing us to switch this option on and off, depending up the choices we make on set up. Not just have it as a blanket option over ever single report like it does now. 

Without dataflows you want to Live connect to the shared dataset. Not Direct Query right down to the datasource.

With a dataflow its fine to Direct Query because the users have access to the dataflow data in the workspace

Power BI Datamarts (New May 2022)

Difference between dataflows, datamarts and datasets


Lets have a quick look at the history of the data set

Here we see everything in one pbix file. Only one person can work with the file at any one time. We cant reuse anything or work on anything separately. Our dataset is in the one pbix file. dependent upon Import or Direct query the dataset is in the Power BI Columnar Data storage.

the only use case for this now would be if you were simply working on your own small projects outside of a working team environment in Pro or even Power BI Free license.

Here we can see that the dataset is now separate from the dataflow (the data transformation) and the actual reporting pbix files. the Dataset is the model and the measures.

This is currently the use case that we use. However our main transformations are outside of this within the SQL database.


Dataflows are packaged ETL Type transformations. We are packaging up into a dataflow to be reused. these are really good for reusable dimensions. Like Dates. Locations, etc.

They are for individual datasets that you bring together later on in the process

Dataflow data sits in a data lake so you can use them for machine learning tasks really easily. this is one of the big wins for dataflows.

But can you do all of your transformations in them?

Some of the Power Query transformations can be really time consuming and memory intensive. Especially when you are trying to create a star schema from transactional tables and lots of separate data sources.

You also need to think about Premium or Pro because there are certain things that you can’t do in Pro within the dataflow because it needs Premium In Lake compute (Append and duplicate for example)

If you do all this in your Pbix file this can easily grind the file to a halt. Moving it to a dataflow means that this can be done at a different time and you refresh your pbix file with work that has already been done.

However even this can be too much. Imagine you are developing, you have to go to the dataflow and refresh. Power BI has to grind through all the steps and the steps are really complicated.

You can go wrong. Backtrack by creating more steps and leave the incorrect steps in very easily. Making a great number of activities. All the activities have to be refreshed. Even the wrong ones.

It is still recommended to do the heavy processing work outside of Power BI. say with Azure (Data Factory and SQL Database)

Then when Developing in the dataflow you can do things quickly and they can be transferred to the SQL Database at another time. Still allowing the user to develop quickly.


The new Premium Feature announced at Microsoft Build May 2022

The Self Service Database. it doesn’t replace the data warehouse.

Datamarts allow you to combine and work with data from all sources in a single place.

Datamarts replace the step we would call the shared dataset previously.

We would have a pbix file where we would bring in the dataflow (Which is used over the SQL datamart and we do all the friendly naming in the dataflow)

The Shared Data set contains the model and measures (I don’t use calculated columns as they can bloat the model)

The pbix file would be published to service. Then report pbix files are created over the top of the published dataset. In this example there are two pbix files.

Datamarts allow you to just have the one report pbix file instead.

Premium or PPU Only So as a user you have to understand that with Power BI Pro this isn’t a feature we can use.

Datamarts are about self service data analytics. Bridging the gap between business users and IT. How do we create the data warehouse without having to go to central IT?

No Code Low Code

But does it mean you don’t have to create your database and ELT inside Azure?

There is still the need to create full Enterprise solutions and SQL Datamarts and wearehouses.

Just like with the dataflows, transforming to an OLAP schema from OLTP (Or datasources that aren’t even OTLP sources but just scattered data sources) can be very memory and processing intensive.

Creating a data mart with better control and governance should still be done pre Power BI for large more complex based projects.

So what other use cases and plus points are there for the datamart?

Data Refresh

Another good example of a use case for the datamart is that datamarts Refresh the data flow then then dataset. No need to use APIs to run the datasets straight after the dataflows. Or setting up refreshes on Power BI for both, guessing the amount of time it will take to run the dataflow

Our Datamart users

This is a great options is for people who use macs and can’t use Desktop. It enables a SQL Endpoint for you

Datamarts are geared towards Self Service. the Citizen Data Analyst.

a person who creates or generates models that leverage predictive or prescriptive analytics but whose primary job function is outside of the field of statistics and analytics.”


Would you use the Datamart in an Enterprise setting?

In an enterprise setting you have Data Engineers and developers. You will have a BI team as well as analysts. There is a place for the data mart for the self service bronze approach. Still with the aim to move to the more governed approach of having the logic set in a SQL Database centrally.

Our analysts creating self service probably aren’t creating star schemas and fully attempting to transform within the dataflow. This will still need to be done by the BI Devs.

However its probably that without the datamart, all the relationships and measures were created inside one pbix file and there may not be a SQL Database layer. Just datasets created from files etc.

The datamart allows for a better governed blended approach

Would a Developer or a data engineer use a datamart?

The BI Developers and Data Engineers are probably working outside of Power BI in the SQL Database and with Data factory or other ETL packages. however they can now leverage the datamart features if they want to quickly look at the data for this project.

The Datamart model

So how does this change out datasets and dataflow models above?

We can see how the Datamart unifies the dataflow and the dataset that is usually created in the shared pbix files. It also raises lots of questions.

  • Do we still create dataflows separately?
  • What is this new layer. the SQL Database?
  • If we have our Datamart in SQL do we need to use the datamart in Power BI?

The Datamart SQL Database layer

Dataflows stores the data in a datalake

Datamarts are stored in an Azure SQL Database. You will hear this being called the data warehouse . When we think of the DW we think in terms of The Star Schemas.

If your logic is complex and the data sets are large its always best to use technologies outside of Power BI (Data factory, SQL Database)

The data warehouse that is being spoken about here is simply data storage, like your staging layer in the Azure SQL database. Our users here are probably not users that understand how to create OLAP schemas. So you can see this as your staging layer

Then you have the dataset layer with the relationships, calculations, so the SQL layer is the middle layer between the dataflow and the data set.

But what can you do with the SQL Layer and what can’t you do?

You cant write DDL (ALTER, CREATE) or DML (INSERT UPDATE, DELETE etc) Queries. Just DQL (SELECT).

So you can’t write stored procedures or do any real transformations within SQL. This still has to be done in the dataflow. You can only query it.

The SQL Database is not part of the transform layer

How to set up the Datamart in Power BI service

New DataMart

At the moment you can set this in Admin tenant settings. You either allow the whole organisation to use datasets or no one. Hopefully they will change this soon so you can allow a small group of users to test the functionality.

I will do another example post soon but basically, you can create the model (really great for Mac users who can’t use Desktop)

And you can also write measures in DAX. My main concern here is that simple base measures are fine but for complex ones. I always test them against a visual and you don’t have the ability to do this here.

Also, you cant create calculate columns or calculated tables. This is a good thing. you don’t want to be creating these anyway as they bloat your model due to none compression..

Behind the scenes Managed SQL Server is running the SQL layer and you still have the Power BI Columnar data store layer for the data set.

Row level security can also be done here. At SQL Layer and the dataset layer. (Two layers are created by applying security on the data set as you would usually do, but in service, not in desktop)

Ad Hoc Analysis can be done in Power Query by the user on the SQL layer, and if you know SQL you can write T SQL too within Power Query

You can also take your SQL Endpoint into SSMS for example (Read Only)

You can manage Roles in the Datamart and Assign Internal and External Users to the Role. Or Share the Endpoint with them if XMLA endpoints are on.

This is a really exciting new development for the Self Service side of Power BI. We now need to understand where it sits. Who our users are and how we can apply it to projects?


If you create reporting in Power BI service at the moment you cant publish to other workspaces or tenants. That’s where a pbix file comes in that is separate to Service and you can re publish to other tenants. How will the datamart help with this kind of functionality?

What are the future developments of the datamart going to be? for example Slowly changing dimensions, monitoring, version control?

Will this cost any more money over having a Preview license?

Will the SQL Layer ever become part of the transform functionality

Power BI February 2022 Updates Dynamic M Query Parameters

Now supports SQL Server and more data sources

But what are Dynamic M Query Parameters and what does this mean?

It feels like they have been upgraded to use with direct query data sources so you can restrict the amount of data being asked for at the lowest level.

Lets have a look at a simple example using Taxi data from a Microsoft learning path.

First of all you need to open Power BI – Options and Settings – Options

Its in Preview so make sure that is ticked before continuing

Get Data Azure SQL Database (The guidance mentions SQL Server but it seems that both can be used for this test)


Then go to Transform data.

Right Click on trip fares to get to advanced editor

Source = Sql.Database("", "taxi-data-db"),    dbo_TripFares = Source{[Schema="dbo",Item="TripFares"]}[Data]

Its currently bound to a table but we need to bind it to a query for this process.

Click the cog against source.

Go into Advanced Options and add the SQL Statement

SELECT * FROM dbo.TripFares

And then go back and look at advanced editor

Source = Sql.Database("", "taxi-data-db", [Query="SELECT * FROM dbo.TripFares"]),    
dbo_TripFares = Source{[Schema="dbo",Item="TripFares"]}[Data]

So now, its nearly bound to a query but you will note that it looks like the table is erroring.

You can go back to Advanced Editor and change to

Source = Sql.Database("", "taxi-data-db", 
[Query="SELECT * FROM dbo.TripFares"])in   

 We only need the query and not dbo_TripFares

Now we can add the  Dynamic M Query parameters. I will go for an easy one first as a demo.

And then I change the advanced code again

Source = Sql.Database("", "taxi-data-db", [Query="SELECT * FROM dbo.TripFares Where payment_type = '" & paramPaymentType & "'"])

Note the new WHERE Clause that concatenates the value in our parameter

It will read in SQL SELECT * FROM dbo.TripFares Where payment_type = ‘CRD’

When it runs the first time you are asked to approve and you can actually see the SQL its going to use which is good. (Note I had to change to CSH to get the message up but I am running with CRD)

When it comes through its restricting to the selected payment type

We are going to change the code again

filterQueryPaymentType = "SELECT * FROM dbo.TripFares Where payment_type = '" & paramPaymentType & "'",    
Source = Sql.Database("", "taxi-data-db", 

This sets the SQL command first and we pass the Filter query into the data source

Now we know that the query works. Lets use it in Power BI Reporting and Assign to table.

This will need a lookup table of all the payment types to work

I am going to simply create the reference table in M

Source = Sql.Database("", "taxi-data-db", 
[Query="SELECT DISTINCT payment_Type FROM dbo.TripFares"])
in    #"Source"

Close and Apply

Now bind the table to the parameter in Modelling tab

Click on Payment_Type column. Advanced. Bind to parameter

Click Continue

A multi select is not going to be used for this demo

I have added a quick table. the metrics have come through as strings and there will be lots of things you need to test in direct query mode but I will ignore for the time being.

I dragged in Payment type from the Payment Type lookup into a slicer.

Click the slicer and see your data change. every time you click the slicer a direct query will happen but only for the payment type selected, hopefully making things much quicker.

And there you go. You have set up a restricted direct query. This will help with any direct query reports you need to create based on real time data.

You are still hitting the SQL DB though a lot so this would need thinking out.

And remember, Direct query doesnt give you the full Power BI reporting suite so your reports may be more basic. And usually I like to work with Star schemas but here we have the extra complexity of lookup tables to work with the parameters.

I will be looking at a date time example soon hopefully. This is clearly an extremely important piece of the Direct query real time puzzle.

Power BI Admin APIs to return a list of email subscriptions

Get Dashboard Subscriptions brings back a list of everyone who has subscribed to a dashboard

What is a Power BI Subscription?

Subscriptions are a great way to assign yourself and other users to get emails regarding report content.

There are certain governance rules we follow.

  1. Report viewers views content via an app. We don’t want report viewers coming into the App workspace. we want them to see carefully selected and brought together content.
  2. If we use Subscriptions we want to push though a really nice screen shot of a report that changes and gets the users wanting to come and see more content within that app. therefore we always have a report or dashboard with visuals that don’t need scroll bars to engage the viewer so they want to see more.
  3. because of this, we want to be able to subscribe people to App content

Go to an App. Note you can add your Subscription here which is a link to the dashboard

for this example, the App dashboard is subscribed to

then we go to try it out from the Microsoft API Page

Dashboard Subscriptions

and try the API

Add the Dashboard ID to parameters

But this is where logic is not quite working (the hope is that this will resolve fairly quickly). The above API doesn’t give you information back if you subscribe via the app. Only when you subscribe to the actual Dashboard in the workspace.

We want all our report viewers accessing the pre built app so this is where the information is most required.

When the user is added to a dashboard subscription in the workspace. The API is tested again.

What this can show us is anyone in the workspaces that has subscribed to the actual dashboard.  We want all viewers with App access.

Get report Subscriptions as Admin

This is the same as above but with reports

Get user Subscriptions as Admin

I get my user ID from Azure Active Directory

And see what I’m subscribed too but again, only workspace content

Logically, I feel like our viewers should be subscribing through the apps

this is really good stuff but I feel like they need to resolve the issue with Apps. Apps are the go to areas for users to view content so this is where we want people to subscribe too.

If you look at the information coming back. Here we can see the artifact type is report but there is no where that mentions if the report is in an App or in the workspace and I feel like this is actually important information. I only know because I have tested against both the App and the workspace.

If this could be resolved these APIs would be really useful to help us understand the subscription uptake.

Power BI Sparklines

Sparklines are small charts you can add to a table or Matrix and are new for the start of 2022.

Above we have a Matrix showing Products by country and I would like to also see this measure on a timeline.

Select the metric Value : Add a Sparkline Button

Here we choose the measure Total Sales which has already been summarised. The Date will be used as the X Axis so we can see the trend across time.

Rename to Sparkline if you want (double click the value to highlight as editable) and now you can see the trends

And you can also format the spark line (Right at the bottom of formatting)

So Sparklines are great for adding you your tabular information, I think the line charts are pretty good.

Current restrictions

Only supports 5 per visual so if you have more categories that wont work.

Apparently Date hierarchies don’t work at the moment but they will in the future

It would be good to assign conditional formatting to the colours. So going up could be green. Staying around the same amber and going down red.

they really do bring tables to life though and are are really great addition to power BI

Power BI DAX – Create a percentage across days of week (ALLEXCEPT. ALL. DIVIDE)

We just looked at the following request

We have sold specific quantities of products. Can we look at a week for a year in a slicer and see the percentage of items sold for each day. Which days do we sell the most products overall?

We have the following model (Just the parts that will be required for this exercise

And thanks to the Power BI Forums for giving me some help on figuring this out.

What we want to end up with is:

  • A year Slicer
  • Product category on rows of a matrix
  • The Day Name from Date on the Columns of the Matrix
  • And % Quantity for that day based on all the days of the week as the value

Power Query Editor

At first I believed that I needed to add some kind of Ranking order for the DAX to use and as this will be a column its better to do in Power Query Editor (Or in the Sort DB)

To speed things up I created a Year Week Column in SQL DB consisting of the following examples

  • 202101
  • 202102
  • 202135

So the weeks 1 to 9 was padded out with a zero. I then formatted this to a number field and called it Year Week. Every seven rows within that week in the date table will have the same Year Week Number Applied


I can now create the measure. Lets have a look at it in a bit more detail

Order Quantity by Week % = Var varOrderQtyWeek = CALCULATE(SUM(FactResellerSales[Order Quantity]), FILTER(ALL(DimDate), DimDate[Year Week]))
RETURN DIVIDE(SUM(FactResellerSales[Order Quantity]), varOrderQtyWeek)

And this measure is then set as a percentage.

First of all we create a variable. It gets the Sum of Order Quantity and it filters by using an ALL on the column Year Week we just created in the Date Table

“ALL Returns all the rows in a table, or all the values in a column, ignoring any filters that might have been applied (On Year Week).”

And we return the sum of order Quantity (Which in the context is just for, for example Friday and Accessories by the Sum of Order Quantity

This appears to work

We have Implicitly filtered by Product Category and Day Name of Week.

the question here is, did we even need to set ALL on Year Week column in date. Could we have just said use the entire date

Order Quantity by Week % = Var 
varOrderQtyWeek = CALCULATE(SUM(FactResellerSales[Order Quantity]), ALL(DimDate)) 

RETURN DIVIDE(SUM(FactResellerSales[Order Quantity]), varOrderQtyWeek)

This is working in the same way and makes sense to me. We are using all the dates in the date table. And removing the Filter will create a faster DAX query.

Its looking at the entire data set and we can see that everything totals to 100%. So for us, taking into account all years Thursdays look like a good day especially for accessories.

However we don’t want to analyse the full data set and when we add in a year slicer the logic fails

As you can see, the story is still true but its telling the wrong story. Now for Accessories we have 31% of sales happening in 2021, attributing to smaller percentages across the days.

So we want to change the DAX to accept the Year Slicer

Order Quantity by Week % = 

Var VarALLEXCEPT = CALCULATE(SUM(FactResellerSales[Order Quantity]), ALLEXCEPT(DimDate,DimDate[CalendarYear]))

DIVIDE(SUM(FactResellerSales[Order Quantity]), VarALLEXCEPT)

And this appears to now work just taking the year 2012 into consideration because we are using ALLEXCEPT

Thursday is definitely a good day.

“ELLEXCEPT Removes all context filters in the table except filters that have been applied to the specified columns.”

So we create a variable to get the Sum or Order Quantity with ALLEXCEPT our Date Slicer which in this case is the calendar year slicer

So we are using 2012 from the date Dimension in the slicer. And Bikes from Product and Thursday as the Week Name from date in the Matrix

We Divide the Sum of Quantity which has all the filters applied. Bikes. Thursday. 2021

By the Sum Of Quantity with all, Except we do apply the Calendar Year.

  • DIVIDE(50/100)
  • 50 is Bikes on a Thursday in 2012
  • 100 is Bikes in 2012

DAX is something I do struggle with a little. You think you understand it. Turn your head from the screen and its gone again.

But hopefully this goes a little way to understanding how this DAX in this specific context has been approached

Power BI AI Visual Smart Narratives

Power BI has given us the following AI visuals:

  • Key influencers
  • Q&A Visualisation
  • Decomposition Tree

And now we also have smart narratives to work with. Many companies want to create report that includes text in regards to the report they are looking at to help the user understand the key takeaways. This usually involves someone manually adding in text to the reports.

Not great for interactive reports that update on a regular basis. this is where smart narratives come in. Smart narratives create the text in an interactive way for you.

If its good, it should eliminate the need to add in information manually for your users, which is a huge win.

Lets have a look at it in action on the Adventureworks Report

At the most basic level you can simply drag smart narratives into your report

Smart narratives describes your data to you. This is all really good information. what happens when I select a data point on the report like select 2011 in Sales amount and order quantity

The narrative updates to tell you about just 2011 so our smart narrative is even better, It updates with every click the user makes.

For my Top 10 Products table, I want a smart narrative that just gives me information on this visual and not every visual on the page so I right click on the visual and choose Summarize

And again, we are getting good information for that specific visual. You need to think whether the visual can tell this story on its own or if narrative would help. I tend to see smart narratives as something that sits on a page to tell a story across all the visuals.

Changing the Summary

This is great but there will be times when you do want specific information in your smart narrative. I am going to remove the smart narrative for the visual, and replace with one for the entire products report page.

Click on the smart narrative and then +Value to add a value

I want it to tell me how many items have been sold of top value products. the red line tells me that it doesn’t know what sold means and we need to define this item .

Click on Sold and then Define Sold

Here I go to Field Synonyms in the Q&A Setup to define a new synonym for order quantity because order quantity can be expressed as quantity sold. I have added quantity sold as this is what has been searched for.

Back in Teach Q&A I ask the question again

And this time it understands what I mean. I submit this to train the Q&A. and this time we find this specific query because its in Q&A. I can now format the question to get an answer for the smart narrative

After saving, the number simply appears in the smart narrative. I deleted it and moved the cursor to the beginning on the smart narrative. then I wrote.

The quantity sold of top value products is:

And then clicked review, found the item and + to insert item to place it exactly where I want it

from this I can see that I can use the Q&A tool to format questions that I can then add into the smart narrative, adding synonyms where necessary to create even more easy to understand questions.

Smart narratives and Q&A work perfectly together.

Power BI October 21 Updates GetUserArtifactAccessAsAdmin API through to PowerShell

There have been some new API updates (September October Power BI 2021) and I thought I would see what they were all about and how you can use them starting with the API mentioned in the October updates.

I haven’t used these APIs before and I thought it would be interesting to see how the documentation holds up.

So the first start at

And this links you you to

So this API returns all the artifacts for a given user which I imagine would be really useful when someone leaves the company and you need to assess the objects that they may own.

To use the API you need to be Power BI admin or Global Admin. I have the Power BI admin so I am good to go.

Delegated permissions are supported. I imagine this needs a lot more investigation as to why and how you would set this up.

There are some limitations, For example you can only make 200 requests per hour. You can click on Try it to try out the API from this URL by logging into your account

But this API’s need you to get the userGraphId. my first question is, What is a userGraphID and how can I get it?

It is mentioned in the documentation. ‘The graph ID of user’

And to be honest that is unhelpful. I have no idea how to get this information to run the API. Its just assumed. I have also asked on the forums and no one else seems to know either.

So to just get an idea of how you would use these APIs, I’m working with one that doesn’t need the userGraphID

This will get me out all the objects in power BI and for the time being I just want the top 10.

I added the $expand name and value by creating the name and value and hitting the +

Then hit Run to make sure it works

So where do we use it? Open up Windows Powershell

We can run the commands via Windows Powershell. ISE (Integration Scripting Environment)


And type in


And now you can create your code

I simply added the URL from the Try it above (Without the Authorisation Line)

Value[0] Simply means give me the first element inside this command and run.

I can go even further an parameterise the URL by doing the following

[string]$url = ''
$result = Invoke-PowerBIRestMethod -Url $url -Method Get 
$workspaceContents = $result | convertFrom-Json
$firstworkspace = $workspacecontents.value[1]

This is great

  • But what if I want to automate this and, for example create a json file from it once a month?
  • And what if I don’t want to have to run it as the Power BI Admin?

Back to the original question regarding userGraphId

It seems that many other people have asked this question. I got a possible answer on the Power BI Issues forum saying that the userGraphID is the users Object ID that you can find in azure Active Directory – Users.

So I went into Azure – Azure Active Directory – Users and took my Object ID

I added the Object ID and got the results back that I was hoping for.

Great. This gives all the artifacts that I own. Can I now do this in Powershell like the previous API? Open Powershell again.


Can I reuse the Previous Script.

Open my previous Script. InvokePowerBIRESTMethos.ps1

    #commented out the other API
    #[string]$url = '           %24top=10&%24expand=users%2Creports%2Cdashboards%2Cdatasets' 

    [string]$url = ''



$result = Invoke-PowerBIRestMethod -Url $url -Method Get 

$workspaceContents = $result | convertFrom-Json

$firstworkspace = $workspacecontents.value[1]

And this works. I get back all my objects

So this is just the initial investigation. To do

  • How to Delegate Permissions for this API?
  • How to Automate the Powershell script and create a dataset to work with?

And even further research

  • can we automate checking between a list of users from Yesterday and today to see who has gone to automate the process even further?
  • Is it possible that Azure can handle use cases where we know the user is leaving and have assigned a leave date in Azure Active Directory?
  • Then Feed this loop into the API to generate this list so we know what reports need to have their ownership taken over
  • Automate the handling of take over accounts