How do I switch to direct query mode in Power BI?

In the dynamic realm of business intelligence, Power BI stands as a powerful tool for transforming raw data into meaningful insights. One key aspect that empowers users is the ability to choose between different data connectivity modes. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the process of switching to Direct Query mode in Power BI. Join us on this journey as we explore the intricacies, provide step-by-step instructions, and offer external resources and FAQs to enhance your Power BI experience.

Understanding Direct Query Mode:

What is Direct Query Mode?

Direct Query mode in Power BI allows users to connect their reports and dashboards directly to the data source, enabling real-time or near-real-time data analysis. Unlike Import mode, where data is loaded into Power BI’s internal data model, Direct Query mode maintains a live connection to the source.

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Step-by-Step Guide to Switching to Direct Query Mode:

Open Power BI Desktop:

Launch Power BI Desktop and open the report or create a new one that you wish to switch to Direct Query mode.

Navigate to Home Tab:

In the ribbon, go to the “Home” tab.

Click on “Transform Data”:

Select the “Transform Data” option to open the Power Query Editor.

Choose Data Source:

Identify the data source you want to switch to Direct Query mode. Click on the source and go to the “Home” tab.

Select “Transform Data”:

Click on “Transform Data” again to access the Power Query Editor.

Choose “Close & Apply”:

In the Power Query Editor, navigate to the “Home” tab and select “Close & Apply” to apply the changes.

Configure Data Source Settings:

If prompted, configure the data source settings, including authentication and connection details.

Switch to Direct Query Mode:

Once the data source is configured, go to the “Model” view in Power BI Desktop. Find the table, right-click, and choose “Convert to DirectQuery.”

Save and Publish:

Save your Power BI Desktop file and publish it to the Power BI service.

Verify Connection in Power BI Service:

In the Power BI service, verify that the report is connected to the data source using Direct Query mode.

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External Resources and FAQs:

1. Power BI Documentation – DirectQuery

  • Explore the official Power BI documentation to gain a deeper understanding of Direct Query mode, its advantages, and considerations.

2. Power BI Community Forum – DirectQuery

  • Engage with the Power BI community on the official forums to seek advice, share insights, and troubleshoot issues related to Direct Query mode.


Q1: What are the advantages of using Direct Query mode in Power BI?

  • Answer: Direct Query mode allows for real-time or near-real-time analysis as it maintains a live connection to the data source. It also ensures that reports reflect the latest data without manual refreshes.

Q2: Are there limitations to using Direct Query mode in Power BI?

  • Answer: Direct Query mode might have limitations based on the data source and the complexity of the queries. Refer to the official documentation for specific limitations.

Q3: Can I switch back to Import mode after switching to Direct Query mode?

  • Answer: Yes, you can switch back to Import mode, but doing so will remove the live connection, and the data will be imported into Power BI’s internal data model.

Q4: Does Direct Query mode support all types of data sources?

  • Answer: Direct Query mode supports a wide range of data sources, but the level of support may vary. Check the documentation for the specific data source you are working with.

Q5: How does Direct Query mode impact performance compared to Import mode?

  • Answer: Direct Query mode can provide real-time insights, but the performance depends on factors such as the data source, network speed, and query complexity. Conduct performance testing to ensure optimal results.

Q6: Can I use Direct Query mode for both on-premises and cloud-based data sources?

  • Answer: Yes, Direct Query mode can be used for both on-premises and cloud-based data sources. Ensure that the necessary connectivity and authentication settings are configured.


Switching to Direct Query mode in Power BI unlocks the potential for real-time data analysis, offering a valuable tool for organizations seeking the latest insights from their data sources. With our comprehensive guide, external resources, and FAQs, you’re equipped to navigate the process seamlessly. Elevate your Power BI experience, harness the power of live data connections, and stay at the forefront of data-driven decision-making.