Book Image

Microsoft Tabular Modeling Cookbook

By : Paul te Braak
Book Image

Microsoft Tabular Modeling Cookbook

By: Paul te Braak

Overview of this book

Business Intelligence Semantic Models (BISM) is a technology that is designed to deliver analytical information to users through a variety of mechanisms that include model structure, definition, and design. This book demonstrates how to create BISM models so that information can be presented to users in an intuitive and easy-to-use format. Once the model is defined, we also show you how it can be managed and maintained so that the data in it remains current and secure. Microsoft Tabular Modeling Cookbook is an all-encompassing guide to developing, managing, creating, and using analytical models using the Business Intelligence Semantic Model (BISM). This title covers a range of modeling situations and common data analysis related problems to show you the techniques required to turn data into information using tabular modeling. Microsoft Tabular Modeling Cookbook examines three areas of tabular modeling: model development, model management and maintenance, and reporting. This book is a practical guide on how to develop semantic models and turn business data into information. It covers all phases of the model lifecycle from creation to administration and finally reporting. It also shows you how to create models which are designed to analyze data. All sections of BISM modeling from development to management and finally reporting are covered. The sections on development examine a wide range of techniques and tricks required to build models, including moving data into the model, structuring the model to manipulate the data, and finally the formulas required to answer common business questions; all of these are discussed in this book in detail. Finally, the book examines methods of reporting on the data within the model, including the creation of data-driven workbooks and reports for a powerful end user experience.
Table of Contents (18 chapters)
Microsoft Tabular Modeling Cookbook
About the Author
About the Reviewers

Creating the model

An Excel workbook can only contain one tabular model and that one model contains tables of data (which may or may not be related). The first step to create a model is to import data into it. There are many techniques to do this—some techniques have advantages over others but for now, let's only consider the fact that we want to load data that exists in an Excel worksheet into the model.


The installation instructions for PowerPivot in Excel 2010 are covered in the Appendix, Installing PowerPivot and Sample Databases, of this book.

Getting ready

Open the Excel workbook named SalesBook which is available from the Packt Publishing website to examine the worksheets within the book. Each sheet contains a dataset for Products, Subcategories, Categories, Customers, Dates, and Sales.

How to do it…

This recipe looks at importing data into the PowerPivot model through linked tables. These are very convenient to use when the data is stored in Excel. Additionally, once the data has been imported into PowerPivot, it retains a connection to the Excel table. This means that, when the data is changed in Excel, it can also be changed in the PowerPivot model.

  1. Let's start by importing the product list. Select the Product List sheet and select cell A1.

  2. Then, on the PowerPivot tab, click on the Create Linked Table button.


    Excel will automatically highlight the data range.

  3. A small window will open confirming the data range with a checkbox for table headers. Select the checkbox and press OK.

  4. The PowerPivot window will open and the data from the Product List sheet will be imported. Note that the table appears as a tab which is similar to Excel and is called Table1. Also, note that the PowerPivot window is a separate window than the Excel workbook, so that we can return to Excel.

  5. Repeat this process for all the remaining datasets except Customers.

How it works…

When a linked table is created in PowerPivot, Excel creates a named range in the Excel workbook. This is then linked to the PowerPivot model (note that there is a small chain symbol before each of the tables). Also, note that the tables in Excel are formatted with alternate blue coloring. The named ranges can be viewed in Excel by clicking on the Name Manager button on the Formulas tab.

There's more…

A table (table range) is actually an Excel feature that PowerPivot utilizes. A table can be defined in Excel, given a meaningful name and then imported into PowerPivot, so that the name of the table in PowerPivot is the same as the named range in Excel.

Ensure that the Customers sheet is selected in Excel and also any cell in the Customers data is selected. In the Home tab, click on the Format as Table button, and choose a table style; the style chosen in the following screenshot is a relevant one:

Note that the data is now formatted with alternating colors (based on the selected style). Return to the Name Manager window and double-click the table that relates to the Customers worksheet. A new window will open allowing you to edit the name, replace the name Table6 with Customers, and click on OK. The Table6 name is replaced by Customers in the Name Manager window.

Now, create a linked table in the same manner as we did before and note that the name of the table imported into PowerPivot is Customers.


If you want to select an entire table in Excel, simply choose the table name from the Name Box drop-down list in the formula bar in the upper-left corner. This is shown in the following screenshot: