Quick Tips: Registering SQL Server Profiler as an External Tool in Power BI Desktop

Registering SQL Server Profiler as an External Tool

It has been a long time that I use SQL Server Profiler to diagnose my data models in the Power BI Desktop. I wrote a blog post in June 2016 about connecting to the underlying Power BI Desktop model from different tools, including SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), Excel and SQL Server Profiler. In this quick post, I share a pbitool.json file that you can use to register the SQL Server Profiler as an external tool. Read more about how to register an external tool here. This is quite handy as this way to use SQL Server Profiler to diagnose Power BI Desktop without needing to find the diagnostic port. As an external tool, the SQL Server Profiler automatically connects to the data model via the diagnostic port. You can download the sqlserverprofiler.pbitool.json file from here. After you download the file you can open it in a text editor to see or modify the JSON code. If you are using SSMS 18, then you do not even need to modify the file. If you use a different version, the only thing you have to change is the “path”.

The contents of the sqlserverprofiler.pbitool.json file
The contents of the sqlserverprofiler.pbitool.json file

Just copy the sqlserverprofiler.pbitool.json file to the following location:

  • For 64-bit environment use: %commonprogramfiles(x86)%\Microsoft Shared\Power BI Desktop\External Tools
  • For 32-bit environment use: %commonprogramfiles%\Microsoft Shared\Power BI Desktop\External Tools

You can now open Power BI Desktop and you will see SQL Server Profiler appears in the External Tools tab.

Registering SQL Server Profiler as External Tool in Power BI Desktop
SQL Server Profiler Registered as an External Tool

After you click the SQL Server Profiler from the External Tools tab, it automatically connects to your data model via the diagnostic port as shown in the following image:

SQL Server Profiler opened from the External Tools tab from Power BI Desktop
SQL Server Profiler opened from the External Tools tab from Power BI Desktop

I hope you enjoy this quick tip. As always, I would love to know about your thoughts.

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