Power BI Global Options


Managing Power BI Datasets
Data Gateway
3m 56s

The course is part of this learning path

Start course

Typically the life cycle of a Power BI dataset doesn't end with publishing. This course looks at managing Power BI datasets after they have been deployed. More often than not, the source data changes regularly, so we look at updating functionality available within the Power BI service and other cloud-based methods for keeping your data fresh. Not all source data is cloud-based and readily accessible to the Power BI service, so we'll see how to use data gateways to access on-premises data, which ironically also includes data residing on cloud-hosted virtual machines.

Sometimes you'll need to grant access to datasets beyond just viewing the data. We see how you can permit users and user groups to repurpose a dataset for reports they publish. Row-level security groups are a good way to partition data for different audiences, but assigning domain users to each group can be tedious. You'll see how to assign users to row-level security groups by leveraging Office 365 user group membership. The course finishes by going through the global options in Power BI Desktop to see how to customize the user experience and improve performance.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn how to implement a data gateway to access on-premises data sources
  • Learn to map Office 365 user groups to Power BI row-level security groups
  • Permit other report designers to use a deployed dataset for their own purposes
  • Understand the different options for keeping deployed data fresh
  • Learn about the global file options in Power BI Desktop

Intended Audience

This course is designed for anyone who wants to learn how to manage their Power BI datasets after they have been deployed.


To get the most out of this course, you should be comfortable using Power BI desktop and have some knowledge of publishing reports to


In Power BI Desktop, you can set options for your desktop environment and default global options for Power BI files. With Power BI Desktop open, go to file, then options and settings, and select options. On the left of the Options window, we have the global options we're interested in, and underneath, options for the current file.

Under data load, we start with type detection, where we have three options related to unstructured data sources, such as CSV and other types of text files. You can have Power BI always try to determine column data types, set data type detection per file, or never try to detect unstructured file data types. My global option is set to detect data types per the file's setting, with my current file set to detect unstructured data types. I don't recall ever changing these settings, so you could say the out-of-the-box default behavior is to always try to detect data types.

It's a similar situation for background data. Always download preview data in the background, download according to the current file's setting, or never download in the background. Again, mine is set on a per-file basis. The per-file option makes sense, as the size and location of the file, in combination with your computer's power and memory, will determine how good or bad your Power BI Desktop experience will be. More specifically, will your machine become sluggish when data is loading in the background?

Loading tables simultaneously allows you to specify the number of tables to load simultaneously and how much memory can be used by each loading Power Query. The default number of simultaneous evaluations is based on your computer's logical processor count. This desktop has 14 cores, so 28 logical processors, while my laptop has 12 logical processors and shows 12 as the maximum number of simultaneous evaluations. The maximum memory allowance per simultaneous evaluation defaults to 432MB. It can be set as low as 1MB, although the recommended minimum is 256MB. It is not recommended to set maximum memory where the number of simultaneous evaluations multiplied by memory per evaluation exceeds 90% of physical memory.

Time intelligence determines whether Power BI will automatically create date hierarchies on DateTime fields on an imported model. This setting can be overridden on a per-file basis.

Data cache is the amount of memory set aside for working with data in Power Query Editor. The maximum defaults to 4GB. You can set it higher if you have the capacity and want to preview more than the default 100 rows, or the 100 rows take up a lot of memory. Clear cache sets currently used to zero, and restore defaults set the maximum to 4096 MB.

Q&A cache options does the same for Power BI's Q&A natural language feature as data cache does for Power Query Editor. Below, you can clear the folded artifacts cache.

Power query editor options are a set of checkboxes allowing you to turn on and off user interface features related to the query editor.

Direct query's sole option of treating SAP HANA as a relational data source is kind of ironic as SAP HANA is a columnar database like Power BI's Vertipaq database engine.

If you want to use the R statistical language and datasets, R script options lets you tell Power BI where your R home directory is and select a dedicated R IDE if you have one installed. While Microsoft provides a version of the open-source R language, its installation is completely separate and something you must do yourself.

Python script options are similar to R in that you select the Python home directory and Python IDE if installed.

You can request user approval for running new native database queries. While we think of Power BI as pulling data unmolested from a source, this may not be the case, and native queries could contain UPDATE or ALTER statements that could undermine the data source's integrity. If you receive this permissions error when you think you shouldn't, unchecking this option could help.

Certificate revocation relates to the security and authenticity of connections to online data sources. 

  • The comprehensive check will reject revoked certificates or certificates without revocation data. 
  • Basic check will reject revoked certificates and ignore certificates with no revocation information. 
  • None, will not check certificates for revocation, allowing all valid certificates.

Web preview warning level is similar in concept to security levels found in Window's control panel Internet properties security tab and relates to protecting you from malicious scripts that could be found inside some data sources. The options are strict, moderate, and none.

Data extensions relate to connectors for various data sources. Power BI comes with connectors for many sources, some developed by Microsoft and others certified by Microsoft. If you want to use an uncertified connector, either third-party or one you've developed yourself, you'll need to select the "not recommended" allow any extension option.

Custom visuals are typically "side-loaded" from a pbviz file instead of downloaded from the marketplace or visualizations approved by a Power BI Admin for use within an organization. 

Checking ArcGIS for Power BI says you want to use ArcGIS maps instead of Bing maps. Use Map and Filled Map visuals say to use shading or color gradients on the map to depict relative values between areas or regions. Maps where color intensity or shading imparts statistical information are called Choropleth maps.

If, for whatever reason, Power BI's login window can't open for authenticating against an external data source, check "Use my default browser to use a browser instead."

Approve ADFS authentication service lists Active Directory Federation Services that can be used for authentication. 

Privacy enables you to globally combine data according to each sources' privacy levels, combine privacy levels on a file-by-file basis, or completely ignore privacy levels. The current file privacy options are essentially the first and last option per file.

Regional settings enable you to set the language used in the Power BI Desktop application and the language used in the data model. The model language can only be set when a report is first created.

This is not an option. You will be notified when a new version of Power BI Desktop is available.

Send data usage is the standard option software vendors use to help them improve their application's performance.

Power BI desktop can record crash dump files that contain much more information than an error dialogue might present. As well as error tracing, we can also enable crash dump collection that will record detailed errors if Power BI desktop freezes and crashes on you. The open crash dump/traces folder link opens file explorer or finder in the crash dump file location. The current desktop application version is displayed below. Query diagnostics has options for setting the level and scope of diagnostic information.

Preview features allow you to turn on and off features new to Power BI desktop. Over time as new features get incorporated into the general release, they will disappear from here and be replaced by more new preview features.

Under auto-recovery, you can specify how often you want Power BI Desktop to save auto-recovery data and whether you want it to keep the last saved version if you quit the application without saving.


Under report settings, we have a couple of report designer visual options in the form of smart guides and page alignment, along with the accessibility option of improved narrator support.

About the Author
Learning Paths

Hallam is a software architect with over 20 years experience across a wide range of industries. He began his software career as a  Delphi/Interbase disciple but changed his allegiance to Microsoft with its deep and broad ecosystem. While Hallam has designed and crafted custom software utilizing web, mobile and desktop technologies, good quality reliable data is the key to a successful solution. The challenge of quickly turning data into useful information for digestion by humans and machines has led Hallam to specialize in database design and process automation. Showing customers how leverage new technology to change and improve their business processes is one of the key drivers keeping Hallam coming back to the keyboard.