How to Use Power Query Online

Microsoft is finally making the Power Query Editor available online as part of the Power BI Service at PowerBI.com. Initially announced in the July 2023 Power BI Blog. It was briefly noted that Power Query was coming to the Power BI Service soon, but provided little detail as to which features will be included and when it would generally be available.

We’ll explain the current state of affairs with Power Query Online and how you can start using it today.

Power Query Online for Power BI

To use Power Query Online, you will need to have a Microsoft Fabric license. These are either enterprise licenses that your company may already have, or you can sign up for a free trial of Fabric on PowerBI.com. Microsoft Fabric is a platform that combines several Microsoft services under one roof to allow you to go from data integration, engineer to reporting. In many ways the future of Power BI

The screenshot below is Microsoft’s initial implementation of Power Query Online.

Screenshot of the Power Query Online Editor available in Microsoft Fabric for Power BI

Here’s how to use Power Query Online.

Step 1.) Click On Create from the left side of the Power BI Service

Create button on the Power BI Service

Step 2.) Click On “See All”

This section will show you all of the capabilities available to you under the Microsoft Fabric platform. They range from data ingestion, transformation and storage.

See more options for data integration in the new Power BI Fabric interface

Step 3.) Click On Dataflow Gen2

While not strictly part of Power BI like you have the Power Query editor in Power BI Desktop, data flows gen2 are a cloud service that has the same interface and much of the same functionality. The biggest difference is that data is transformed and output to a semantic model or to a database that you can use as the basis of reports in Power BI.

Dataflow Gen2 (Preview) is Power Query Online in disguise

Step 4.) Transform Data in Power Query Online

While not strictly part of Power BI, the Online Power Query Editor in Dataflows Gen2 is a wide departure from Dataflow Gen1. We wish Microsoft had been more conservative with the naming as calling Power Query Dataflow Gen2 is very confusing to most users.

Screenshot of the Power Query Online Editor available on the Power BI Service

In this screenshot we also have the Power Query Diagram View enabled which is only available in Power Query Online. It is a more modern view than the step by step list in Power BI Desktop and gives Power BI a feature that competes more directly with Tableau Prep.

Enabling Microsoft Fabric with Power BI

To use the Power Query Online Editor, you first have to enable a Microsoft Fabric Trial Account. It’s currently free to try for the first 60 days. Here’s how you can sign up.

Step 1.) Log Into PowerBI.com with your Microsoft Account.

Navigate to your personal account settings in the top right corner of PowerBI.com

Upgrading a Power BI account to a Fabric enabled account

Step 2.) When you click on it, a menu will appear where you can start a Fabric Trial.

If this option is not available to you, you may need to contact your Power BI admin and ask them to enable it for you.

Step 3.) Create a New Fabric Workspace

If you select Workspaces on the left side of PowerBI.com you can click a + New Workspace Button

Creating a new workspace on the Power BI Service

Half way down the page click on advanced

This expands the different workspace and capacity types that you can create.

For the moment, you will have to choose Trial. In the future, you will choose Fabric Capacity or one will be created by your Power BI Administrator.

Enabling a Microsoft Fabric Workspace on PowerBI.com

After this step, it will take a few moments for the new workspace to be created and for it to propgagate.

While you’re waiting for it to finish setting up, let’s briefly explore what Microsoft Fabric is.

Power Query and Excel Online

There is no Power Query Editor currently available for Excel Online. Excel users will need to build Power Query Models in the classic Excel for Desktop Application first and can then open the files in Excel Online. Microsoft has made some progress in recent years making it easier to leverage Power Query in Excel Online, which you can read more about her: Using Excel Online with Power Query

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