Start with Power BI: Connect to Data Sources

Power BI is a visualization tool which can connect to various data sources and provide different visualization for analysis purpose. To learn Power BI, we first need to understand how to connect to the data sources and get data from those sources for reporting purpose.

Power BI Desktop

To start with Power BI, we should own its subscription. We can even start with trial subscription. It requires a have valid emailID, which can be from our working organisation or any learning facilitator organisation. We can sign up for trail and start using Power BI. ( Kindly note that personal emailIDs such as gmail, yahoo etc are not accepted for trial subscription.)

We have to go below site and click on sign up free

Power BI link

It would give an option to download Power BI desktop for free. We can download and install the same. Now can actually start connecting to the data sources and developing reports.

download PowerBI desktop
Download Power BI desktop
download PowerBI desktop1
Power BI Desktop setup

Microsoft keeps improving Power BI desktop, and it prompts for latest updates. We need to make sure that we have the latest updates installed as they are prompted.

download PowerBI desktop2
Power BI Desktop

Power BI desktop provides us the ways to connect to the data sources, create queries, model the data, transform the data and develop reports. The final reports can be published to Power BI service and in Power BI service, we can create dashboards.

Data Sources

Let us see step by step how we can connect to data sources inΒ  Power BI desktop. Once we open Power BI desktop, we see an option “Get data” as shown in below snippets. With this we can connect to various data sources and fetch data.

powerBI getdata

By default we can see All data sources which can be connected as mentioned in below screenshot.

PowerBI getdata1
All Data Sources

These data sources are grouped as listed below

  • File
  • Database
  • Azure
  • Online services
  • Other

File:Β There are various options as we can see various files it can connect, refer to below screenshot.

Getdata File
Connect to Files

Databases: Various databases are mentioned as shown in below screenshot.

Connect to Database

Azure Services:Β Power BI can connect with various Azure services as listed in below screenshot

Connect to Azure services

Online Services:Β Power BI can also connect with various SaaS application as mentioned under Online services such as Salesforce, Dynamics 365 etc.

Connect to Online services

Other Data sources: Rest of the data sources are grouped under Others

Connect to other data sources

Connect to Excel File

Let us now proceed with connecting to Excel data source from Power BI.

  • Click on Get data

    Getdata File
    Select Excel data source
  • Select Excel from All or Go to File and select Excel



  • Browse through Excel files and select the excel file containing data

    Browse Excel files
  • (Note: Better to convert the excel sheet data to Excel tables and provide appropriate names to make it handy later)
  • Select the table, we can select more than one table if required. It will show you the data contained by excel file.
Select table(s)


We have seen how to connect to the data sources in this blog. Let us go ahead and see what is data modeling and transformation in my next blog.

Thank you for reading my blog, if you have any questions please mention in the comments and hit the like button if you like my write up.

Keep Learning !! Happy analyzing and be Powerful πŸ™‚


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