Power Query (2/4): How does it fit in PowerBI?

I like to think of PowerBI in three separate chunks, and if you’ve read my posts on the three pillars of data, this will sound very familiar.

  1. Integration layer – Grab and transform data <<<< POWER QUERY FITS HERE
  2. Modeling layer – Format and model data
  3. Visualization layer – Present data

Power Query is the technology behind #1 listed above – the data integration layer.

It allows us to grab information from numerous sources and pull it into a single location to have tables of data which allow us to build a model.

You may hear people talk about “M” code which is the language that Power Query generates as you manipulate your data. It’s creating code that is repeatable and saving it as a step-by-step process ensuring that steps are executed in a particular order.

This fits nicely inside PowerBI (and Excel) as a “no-code” solution (that generates code under the covers) to collect data. It makes this process pretty seamless, and you don’t have to be a “developer” to figure it out and use this technology.

Tomorrow I’ll do a brief technical dive into Power Query and walk through a quick tutorial with some screenshots to show how simple it is to use.

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