Integrating and Visualising Multiple Microsoft To Do Accounts with Power BI

Integrating and Visualising Multiple Microsoft To Do Accounts with Power BI

It’s been a while that I use Microsoft To Do to organise my daily tasks. From work-related tasks to buy groceries. While Microsoft To Do is super easy to use but there are some challenges in using it more efficiently, especially when you have multiple O365 accounts within different organisations. Here are some of the challenges I faced; you may face other challenges too:

  • The Microsoft To Do app for Windows devices is very user friendly with amazingly good features like the ability to add multiple To Do accounts. However, we currently have to select which account we would like to use and the app shows all our tasks within that specific account. This means we can not see all our tasks from all our accounts in a single place.
  • The Microsoft To Do app for iOS devices is also very handy to use, but it lacks adding multiple accounts. Hence we cannot see all our tasks from multiple O365 accounts on the app. 🙁
  • We can use the Tasks within the Microsoft Outlook desktop application (I used the Windows version) which is by far the most comprehensive one with tons of features. While we can see tasks from multiple accounts in a single place, it is a real challenge if I want to know which task is assigned to which account. Besides, it is really hard to answer some questions like, how many high-priority tasks I have for today or the week ahead. I know, we can group tasks, but, it is still not so intuitive.

For the above reasons, I searched for a product that can do all the above at once. After spending some hours, I thought, well, I have to do it myself.

With that, let’s go ahead and see how we can get the job done in Power BI.

Note:

This method is not working for Microsoft To Do using personal accounts such as Outlook, Hotmail or MSN. If anyone knows how to add those, please let us know in the comments section below this post.

This is a long post that took me a reasonable amount of time to write. So I added the following table of contents so you can quickly jump to a subject of your interest.

Table of Contents

How It Works

Microsoft Power BI is NOT a reporting tool only. We can connect to many data sources, mix and match the data, create data models and visualise the data. So it should be possible to connect to multiple To Do accounts, append the data, create a simple data model on top of that, and visualise the data to answer our questions or our customers’ questions. The Microsoft To Do data is accessible via the Microsoft Exchange Online connector available in Power BI. The rest depends on our requirements and what questions we would like to answer.

In my case, in which I am the end-user of the report, I would like to be able to know:

  • Today’s tasks: All tasks that their StartDate or DueDate is today or the Tasks without any StartDate and DueDate
    • Number of tasks
    • Number of important tasks
    • Tasks by mailbox
    • Tasks details
      • Task list
      • Task description
      • Status
      • Start date
      • Due date
      • A link to the task itself that I can update if I want to
  • All Tasks
    • All above plus
      • Number of open tasks
      • Number of completed tasks

You or your customer(s) might have different requirements, but once you understand how to get the To Do data from Microsoft Exchange Online and do some data explorations to find out what you are after, you’ll be good.

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Finding Minimum Date and Maximum Date Across All Tables in Power Query in Power BI and Excel

Finding Minimum Date and Maximum Date Across All Tables in Power Query in Power BI and Excel

When we talk about data analysis in Power BI, creating a Date table is inevitable. There are different methods to create a Date table either in DAX or in Power Query. In DAX you my use either CALENDAR() function or CALENDARAUTO() function to create the Date table. In Power Query you may use a combination of List.Dates(), #date() and #duration() functions. Either way, there is one point that is always challenging and it is how to find out a proper date range, starting from a date in the past and ending with a date in the future, that covers all relevant dates within the data model. One simple answer is, we can ask the business. The SMEs know what the valid date range is..

While this is a correct argument it is not always the case. Especially with the Start Date which is a date in the past. In many cases the business says:

Lets’s have a look at the data to find out.

That is also a correct point, we can always a look at the data, find all columns with either Date or DateTime datatypes then sort the data in ascending or descending order to get the results. But what if there many of them? Then this process can be very time consuming.

Many of you may already thought that we can use CALENDARAUTO() in DAX and we are good to go. Well, that’s not quite right. In many cases there are some Date or DateTime columns that must not be considered in our Date dimension. Like Birth Date or Deceased Date. More on this later in this post.

In this post I share a piece of code I wrote for myself. I was in a situation to identify the Start Date and the End Date of the date dimension many times, so I thought it might help you as well.

How it works?

The Power Query expressions I share in this post starts with getting all existing queries using:

  • #sections intrinsic variable
  • Filtering out the current query name, which is GetMinMaxAllDates in my sample, to avoid getting the following error:

Expression.Error: A cyclic reference was encountered during evaluation.

Expression.Error: A cyclic reference was encountered during evaluation.
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Analyse Your WordPress Website Stats in Power BI

WordPress is one of the most popular open-source website making tools which is vastly used by many bloggers including myself. WordPress developers provide tons of custom plugins to fulfil different needs. But not all of the plugins are well designed and secured.  One of the most interesting pieces of information anyone who owns a website/blog needs is their website statistics. In this post, I explain how to analyse your WordPress website stats in Power BI. Before I start, I want to point out that there is a WordPress stat already available in WordPress Admin Dashboard which provides very informative information about your blog like Total Views, Today Views, Best Ever Views and so forth. You can also install the WordPress app on your mobile device to easily access your website stats. But, the stats WordPress gives me in not enough. I want more. I need a more detailed analysis on

  • Current Month vs. Last Month
  • Current Year Vs. Last Year
  • Most Popular Day of Week
  • Most Popular Month of Year
  • Top 10 Posts

and so on.

As non of the above analysis are available in the normal stats , I decided to build my own version of “WordPress Website Stats Analysis in Power BI”. This gives me the flexibility of creating as much analysis as I need , and… it is so much fun.

If you own a WordPress blog or any other sort of websites or if you’re just curious to learn how to use a website API in Power BI, then this post is for you.

I managed to create a Power BI Desktop template that you can download and use it for free. You’re welcome to modify it based on your needs. You can find the download link at the button of the page.

How It Works

To be able to analyse your WordPress stats in Power BI you need to own a WordPress blog or website. Then a WordPress API key is assigned to your account. The key was included in your WordPress Welcome Email. You can use that API key in Power BI Desktop to create your customised reports and analyse your blog/website stats then you can publish the model into Power BI Service that is accessible anytime anywhere. You can also create your own dashboard in Power BI Service.  Moreover, you can setup Schedule Refresh for the dataset to refresh your dashboards and reports automatically.

Requirements

You’ll need to

  • own a WordPress blog/website and have the API assigned to your account
  • install the Jetpack plugin in your blog/website as WordPress stats is no longer maintained and you should not use it. Instead, you can install the Jetpack plugin
  • have Power BI Desktop installed on your machine (Download it from here, it’s free!)
  • have a Power BI account (Don’t have an account? Signup for it here, it’s free too!)
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