Power BI failed to refresh - exception was raised

I was recently seeing alot of Power BI data refresh failures on newly created environments, however existing environments would be fine. The errors that were occuring were as followed: Failed to save modifications to the server. Error returned: 'Attempt to read when no data is present.. The exception was raised by the IDataReader interface. Please review the error message and provider documentation for further information and corrective action. The command has been canceled....

October 3, 2021 · 2 min · matt40k

Version control in PowerBI

Power BI is a awesome self-service reporting tool that has a low-level of entry for new comers, that allows end-users (ie Non-IT folks) to deliver elegant insight into data via interactive reports. It’s biggest flaw however is it doesn’t have any kinda of code version control support. Like it’s impossible. Various people/companies have developed hacky solutions however this goes against Power BI core design of being a simple, self service tool....

February 28, 2019 · 3 min · matt40k

Auto refreshing PowerBI

One of the problems we hit today was getting a Power BI to automatically refresh. The underlying data is updated every 5 mins, however the actual Power BI only refreshes when the user interacts with the report despite using DirectQuery. To overcome this, we’ve built a simple HTML page that used a bit of JavaScript magic to force a refresh and the new Secure Embed feature. First, we need to get a code for the report, open the report then click File > Embed (You can select ‘Publish to web’ - this means you don’t need to login to view the report, however anyone in the world could access the report)...

January 22, 2019 · 2 min · matt40k

Microsoft christmas

Power BI Secure embed codes - allows easy sharing of Power BI reports. The public embedded codes - publish to web - has been out for a while that allows you share the Power BI reports that the anyone on the Internet (unauthenticated members of the public) should be able to see. The key difference is the secure part of the name. Users will need to authenticate, this does of course mean they will require either a Power BI Pro license or the report will be using the Power BI Premium capacity....

December 18, 2018 · 2 min · Matt Smith

Power BI folders

One of the annoyingly missing features in Power BI is the ability to organize fields into folders to allow users to easily find them. Luckily the amazingly animated Will Thompson posted an update on Power BI Ideas, which has received over 400 votes, that it has been developed and is available as a preview feature in the Nov'18 Power BI Desktop release. The display folders are part of the new modeling view....

December 7, 2018 · 1 min · matt40k

Dangers of distribution lists

Distribution list are amazing things, they allow us to send mail to our team without having to remember who exactly is in our team, this is especial true in this modern age where we are part of many different teams, sometimes without even realising. These lists can contain hundreds or even thousands of members and the latest NHS IT bug has left IT departments maybe wanting to double-check their distribution lists – hopefully before the security team comes a knocking....

November 15, 2016 · 2 min · matt40k


One of the annoying things about working with multiple languages is they each have their differences – obviously, otherwise there would only be 1 language! Although there is good reason to have these differences they still have elements that are a pain. One of the most annoying things, other then “do you require a semicolon at the end of the statement?” is comments. Comments aren’t executed or complied but they help developers read code....

October 16, 2016 · 2 min · matt40k

Toy cars

Over the summer holidays I got my son to create a spreadsheet detailing some of his toy cars which we then imported into PowerBI. Created by a 7 year old in under an hour  

August 14, 2016 · 1 min · matt40k

School MIS systems in the England

Updated 10/10/2016 – Added Map using the new Shapes option in PowerBI. Every School in England regularly publish data to the Department of Education and Graham Reed has published a spreadsheet of the software each school used to submit their returns. Below is a PowerBI report I’ve created based on his data. You can also access by clicking here

July 30, 2016 · 1 min · matt40k

Incorrect x-axis dates

So yesterday I was playing with PowerBIand I hit a problem. As you can see, the x-axis is wrong. For some reason it wasn’t creating the correct range. After a little while I thought I’d try out Microsoft’s feedback option – the smiley faces – in the top menu you have a smiley face. Click it, then you can send feedback. Sure enough after a little while, Justin Schneider from the Power BI team replied asking a few more questions – basically asking me to check the data was correct, which was in this case and even offered a solution....

July 27, 2016 · 1 min · matt40k

Getting a list of AD Groups and their members using PowerQuery

The Power Query Formula Language (informally known as “M”) is a powerful mashup query language optimized for building queries that mashup data. It is a functional, case sensitive language similar to F#, which can be used with Power Query in Excel and Power BI Desktop. A few days ago I got asked to produce a list of users (and their email address) in a number of AD Groups. I already had a SSIS package that had a script task to pull this data from Active Directory and push it into a SQL database and we have a PowerShell script to get the same data in our code repo....

June 14, 2016 · 3 min · matt40k

Power BI – custom visuals

Power BI is Microsoft new cloud based Business Intelligence platform, one of the cool things about it is it built atop internet standards and leveraging open source libraries like D3.jsfor its visuals. Microsoft has continued on the path of open source-ness by open sourcingsome of its codes allowing Joe Public to submit custom visuals to Power-BI, all via GitHub. Yesterday saw the introduction of 4 new visuals, one in particular looked very interesting – Hierarchy Slicerby Jan Pieter Posthuma....

June 1, 2016 · 1 min · matt40k