How to modify a linked entity in Power BI dataflows

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
FacebooktwitterlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwitterlinkedinrssyoutube
how to modify a linked entity in Power BI dataflows

It is not possible to change a linked entity in a dataflow in Power BI. Linked entities has to be modified only in the dataflow in which they are created. However, sometimes, you need to do a small modification to the linked entity in a chained dataflow. There is a very simple trick, In this article and video, I’ll explain how you can do that.

What is a linked entity?

A linked entity is an entity created in a dataflow but used as a source in another dataflow. A linked entity can be created as simple as selecting the option for it.

Creating linked entity in Power BI dataflow

A linked entity cannot be modified in the chained dataflow

The chained dataflow is the dataflow that is getting data from a linked entity (I just borrowed the chained dataflow name from the concept of the chained dataset, This is not a formal name for it;)). The linked entity cannot be changed in the chained dataflow. It can be only modified in the original dataflow (the dataflow that the entity is created).

Linked entity cannot be modified

Linked entity also requires Power BI Premium license to be refreshed.

Workaround: Reference from the linked entity

Disclaimer: I am not saying that you should modify the linked entity in the chained dataset. In fact, I recommend you against doing so. If you are making any changes in that entity, it is better to be done in the place of creation, so that all other chained dataflows, use the up-to-date master’s structure. However, I also understand that sometimes, there is a need to apply some small changes in the entity in the chained dataset. so here is the workaround for that.

You cannot modify the linked entity, but you can create a Reference from it;

Create a reference from the linked entity in Power BI dataflow

This would create a computed entity,

Computed entity created from the linked entity

However, you no longer need the linked entity, so you can use the workaround I mentioned here by disabling the load of the linked entity.

Disable the load of the linked entity

This action will make the second entity not to be computed entity, and also it will be fully editable. Another point is that the source entity will no longer be linked entity too!

Modify the entity

There is a point to consider, however, for this method. If you use the entity like this, then your original entity will not be treated as a linked entity, and you will not even see the data lineage of that in the lineage view.

Data lineage for the linked entity

In the screenshot above the BBIUG Dataflow which is the dataflow that the Date entity has been created first, is not appearing in the second dataflow (the dataflow that we modified the entity using reference and disable load).

Summary

As I mentioned before, I do recommend making all the changes normally in the main dataflow, not chained dataflows. However, in case, there is a small change is needed, this article and video explained a very simple way to do it.

Video

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
FacebooktwitterlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwitterlinkedinrssyoutube
Reza Rad on FacebookReza Rad on LinkedinReza Rad on TwitterReza Rad on Youtube
Reza Rad
Trainer, Consultant, Mentor
Reza Rad is a Microsoft Regional Director, an Author, Trainer, Speaker and Consultant. He has a BSc in Computer engineering; he has more than 20 years’ experience in data analysis, BI, databases, programming, and development mostly on Microsoft technologies. He is a Microsoft Data Platform MVP for nine continuous years (from 2011 till now) for his dedication in Microsoft BI. Reza is an active blogger and co-founder of RADACAD. Reza is also co-founder and co-organizer of Difinity conference in New Zealand.
His articles on different aspects of technologies, especially on MS BI, can be found on his blog: https://radacad.com/blog.
He wrote some books on MS SQL BI and also is writing some others, He was also an active member on online technical forums such as MSDN and Experts-Exchange, and was a moderator of MSDN SQL Server forums, and is an MCP, MCSE, and MCITP of BI. He is the leader of the New Zealand Business Intelligence users group. He is also the author of very popular book Power BI from Rookie to Rock Star, which is free with more than 1700 pages of content and the Power BI Pro Architecture published by Apress.
He is an International Speaker in Microsoft Ignite, Microsoft Business Applications Summit, Data Insight Summit, PASS Summit, SQL Saturday and SQL user groups. And He is a Microsoft Certified Trainer.
Reza’s passion is to help you find the best data solution, he is Data enthusiast.

2 thoughts on “How to modify a linked entity in Power BI dataflows

  • Hi!
    I really like those short articles! Good job!

    I was wondering if I understand the concept correctly: if we use a linked entity, then the data is actually residing in one place – the “folder” of the original dataflow, is that right? So during our dataflow refresh, the data is not imported, it is actually linked to another place, I think?

    But when we use the trick you mentioned above with referencing a linked entity, what will actually happen during refresh is actual load/import of the data, so now we kind of “copied” the data to our “folder”, is that correct?
    I think also because of that, the refresh will take significantly longer.

    I will be happy to discuss this as this is not fully clear to me 🙂

    Cheers,
    Adam

    • Hi Adam
      yes, correct. When it is a linked entity, the entity LIVES in the original workspace, and chained dataflows will connect to it only without a copy of the original.
      using the method mentioned here, we are actually importing this as another entity. and yes, there will be an import (and data refresh) from the other dataflow into this one.
      Cheers
      Reza

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: