Exporting Power BI Desktop Data Using Power BI Exporter

Exporting Power BI Desktop Data Using Power BI Exporter
Exporting Power BI Desktop Data Using Power BI Exporter

I am excited to announce that our amazing team at Data Vizioner has developed a lightweight and easy to use external tool for Power BI Desktop named Power BI Exporter. The Power BI Exporter is a free community tool available for download here. With External Tools General Availability, you can expect to see more and more External Tools built by our amazing community members. I personally stunned to see many amazing ideas turn into useful tools. Learn more about Power BI announcements about External Tools GA here. I am humbled to be named in the announcement though. So thank you to Microsoft for that.

Let me start with a little background. In the past few years, I wrote a series of blog posts about exporting data from Power BI Desktop and Power BI Service. Those posts are quite popular. They are in the top 10 most visited posts on my website, contributing to about 15% of my website visitors. Here are the previous posts I wrote on this specific topic:

Apart from my website statistics showing many people want to export data from Power BI Desktop, some of my customers asked the same question. They wanted to export the curated data from their data model within Power BI Desktop to CSV format and make the curated data available for their other platforms. While all the methods mentioned in my previous blog posts are working, some users still find them complex. So I thought, we can make it better. We can make a straightforward tool that exports the data with only two clicks. So we started building the Power BI Exporter as a micro-project. We added some more ideas to the original idea of only exporting the data. We thought it is good to export the data along with the table names, column names and relationships. Having that information handy, we can quickly build the same data model as the one we exported its data but using the CSV files as the data sources. The other idea was to pack everything in a ZIP file on the fly, so we have a single ZIP file, including the tables, columns, and relationships. As a result, the first version of the Power BI Exporter is born. In this post I explain how it works.

Downloading and Installing Power BI Exported

You can download Power BI Exporter from its official webpage from Data Vizioner website. You require to enter your email address then click the Download button as shown in the following image:

Downloading Power BI Exporter from Data Vizioner Website
Downloading Power BI Exporter from Data Vizioner Website

Depending on your browser, the download process may be slightly different, but it downloads the power-bi-exporter.msi file.

You can install the file by double clicking it and following the instructions within the installer.

Using Power BI Exporter

As mentioned earlier, the idea of creating the Power BI Exporter was to have a dedicated tool that exports data from Power BI Desktop in the simplest possible way. After you successfully installed the Power BI Exporter, follow these steps:

  1. Click the External Tools tab after opening the Power BI Desktop (either the Store version or the regular downloaded version)
  2. Click the Power BI Exporter
Running Power BI Exporter from External Tools within Power BI Desktop
Running Power BI Exporter from External Tools within Power BI Desktop
  1. Navigate to the desired location to store the ZIP file
  2. Enter the File name
  3. Click the Save button
Select a Location to Store the Export Data
Select a Location to Store the Export Data
  1. The Exporter starts exporting the data in a ZIP file in the location we selected earlier. After the export process is Done, you can close the Power BI Exporter window
Power BI Exporter Successfully Exported the Data
Power BI Exporter Successfully Exported the Data

All done!

Testing the Results

You can now navigate to the location and open the ZIP file. The ZIP file must contain all data, tables, columns and relationships. The following image shows the results of exporting the data from my Power BI data model:

Navigating the Exported Data from Power BI Desktop Using Power BI Exporter
Navigating the Exported Data from Power BI Desktop Using Power BI Exporter

As you see in the above image, the Power BI Exporter successfully exported 24 data tables plus three schema files including Tables, Columns and Relationships. Let’s have a look at my data model and see if all tables are exported. The following image shows my data model:

Data Exported from Tables in Import Mode, DirectQuery Mode and Dual Mode
Data Exported from Tables in Import Mode, DirectQuery Mode and Dual Mode

As the preceding image illustrates, my model is a Composite Model containing tables with different Storage Modes including:

  • Import Data
  • DirectQuery
  • Dual

The model also have some hidden tables and calculated tables. As you see, the Power BI Exporter successfully exported all tables.

Let’s open the Tables.csv file and see if the file includes all those tables. The following image shows the contents of my Tables.csv file:

A List of Tables Exported from Power BI Desktop to CSV
A List of Tables Exported from Power BI Desktop to CSV

I leave it to you check the rest of files exported.

Getting the Updates

Whenever we release a new version of the Power BI Exporter, you will be notified via the tool when you start using it. A notification message notifies you that a new version is available to download. You can simply click the notification to download the new version.

Power BI Exporter Notification for New Releases
Power BI Exporter Notification for a New Release

Considerations

Every piece of software has some limitations, and Power BI Exporter is not an exception. Please keep the following points in mind before using the Power BI Exporter:

  • Power BI Exporter will not work if you are connected to an instance of Analysis Services (SSAS) or a Power BI Dataset in Connect Live mode. If you are not too sure what Connect Live means, I encourage you to look at this article
  • If there is an error in your DAX expressions creating calculated columns or calculated tables, Power BI Exporter will raise an error message when it attempts to export the data from the problematic table
  • DAX errors in measures will not affect Power BI Exporter
  • Power BI Exporter exports the data of all tables within the data model. If the table has not been loaded into the data model, Power BI Exporter cannot access it
  • Power BI Exporter exports the tables available in the data model regardless of their underlying data source. If your model contains tables in DirectQuery mode connected to large tables, then Power BI Exporter still works. But it tries to export the whole data from the data source which may take a long time if the underlying data source contains large amounts of data

Conclusion

Power BI Exporter is a tool designed and implemented with simplicity in mind. Exporting data from Power BI Desktop has never been as easy as it is with Power BI Exporter. Power BI Exporter is a free tool, but that does not mean we will not support it or update it. So, as always, feel free to share your thoughts and let us know what features you would like us to add to the tool. Hopefully, you find the tool helpful.

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