Connector extensibility in Power BI

In Power BI, customers and developers can extend the data sources to which they can connect in many ways, such as using existing connectors and generic data sources (such as ODBC, OData, Oledb, Web, CSV, XML, JSON). In addition to those data sources, developers can create data extensions referred to as Custom Connectors, and certify a connector to make them become Certified Connectors.

Currently, the ability to use Custom Connectors is enabled using a feature switch. Before we move this feature from beta to general availability, we've added a menu that allows you to securely control the level of custom code you want to allow to run on your system: all custom connectors, or only connectors that are certified and distributed by Microsoft in the Get Data dialogue.

Custom connectors

Custom Connectors can include a wide range of possibilities ranging from small APIs that are critical to your business, to large industry specific services that Microsoft hasn't released a connector for. Many connectors are distributed by the vendor themselves, and if you have need for a specific data connector, you should contact a vendor.

To use a Custom Connector, put them in the [Documents]\Power BI Desktop\Custom Connectors folder, and adjust the security settings as described in the following section.

You don't need to adjust security settings to use Certified Connectors.

Data extension security

To change data extension security settings, in Power BI Desktop select File > Options and Settings > Options > Security.

Control whether you want to be able to load custom connectors with Data Extension Security options

Under Data Extensions you can select from two levels of security:

  • (Recommended) Only allow certified extensions to load
  • (Not Recommended) Allow any extension to load without warning

If you plan on using Custom Connectors or connectors that you or a third party have developed and distribute, you must select "(Not Recommended) Allow any extension to load without warning". We don't recommend that security setting unless you absolutely trust your Custom Connectors, since code in there can handle credentials (including sending them over HTTP) and ignore privacy levels.

At the "(Recommended)" security setting, if there are custom connectors on your system, an error is displayed describing the connectors that can't load due to security.

A dialog will describe Custom Connectors that can't load due to security settings, in this case TripPin

To resolve the error and use those connectors, you must change your security settings to the "(Not Recommended)" setting as described earlier, and restart Power BI Desktop.

Certified connectors

A limited subset of data extensions are considered Certified, and such certified connectors are available using the Get Data dialogue, but the responsible party for maintenance and support is still the third-party developer who created the connector. While Microsoft distributes these connectors, we are not responsible for their performance or continued functionality.

If you would like a custom connector to be certified, have your vendor contact dataconnectors@microsoft.com.