How to migrate queries from Power Query in the desktop (Power BI and Excel) to dataflows

If you already have queries in Power Query, either in Power BI Desktop or in Excel, you might want to migrate the queries into dataflows. The migration process is simple and straightforward. In this article, you'll learn the steps to do so.

Copy queries from the Desktop

Follow these steps to copy queries from Power Query in the desktop tools (such as Excel or Power BI):

  1. In Power BI Desktop, open Power Query Editor by selecting Transform Data in the Home ribbon.

Open Power Query Editor

  1. In Excel, this option is under Data > Get Data > Launch Power Query Editor.

Launch Power Query Editor from Excel

If you have folders

If you've organized your queries into folders (which are called groups in Power Query), then copy them using the method below.

In the Queries pane, select the folders you want to migrate to the dataflow by holding the Ctrl key on the keyboard, and then the mouse-left-click. Once you've selected all the folders, copy them all using Ctrl+C.

Select and Copy folders

If you don't have folders

If you aren't using folders in the Power Query, then you can select queries using the same approach of holding the Ctrl key on the keyboard, and then the mouse-left click. Once you've selected all the queries, copy them all using Ctrl+C.

Copy Queries

Paste the copied queries into a dataflow

  1. Create a dataflow if you don't have one already.

    Create a Power BI dataflow

    The following articles will help you create the dataflow in Power BI or Power Platform:

  2. Paste the copied folders or queries in the Queries pane of the dataflow's Power Query Editor using Ctrl+V.

    Paste queries or folders into the dataflow

    The image below shows an example of copied folders.

    Copy & Paste is done successfully

Connect the on-premises data gateway

If your data source is an on-premises source, then you need to perform an extra step. Examples of on-premises sources can be Excel files in a shared folder in a local domain, or a SQL Server database hosted in an on-premises server.

A dataflow, as a cloud-based service, requires the on-premises data gateway to connect to the on-premises data source. If the source is an on-premises source, you should install and configure the gateway for that source system, and then add the data source for it. Once you've completed these steps, you can select the on-premises data gateway when creating the entity in the dataflow.

Gateway setup

The gateway isn't needed for data sources residing in the cloud, such as an Azure SQL database.

Configure connection

In the next step, configure the connection to the data source using the Configure connection option, enter credentials, or anything else needed to connect to the data source at this stage.

Configure the connection


If you've done all the steps successfully, you should see a preview of the data in the Power Query Editor.

Some Power Query Desktop functions require a gateway in Power Query Online

Some of the functions might require a gateway, even if their source is not on-premises. Among these are functions such as Web.BrowserContents and Web.Page. If this happens, you might get an error message indicating which specific function isn't supported. The figure below shows an example of one of these scenarios.

Unsupported functions in the dataflow

If a scenario like this happens, you have two options. You can set up the gateway for that data source, or you need to update the query in the dataflow's Power Query editor using a set of steps that are supported without the need for the gateway.

Refresh the dataflow entities

After migrating your queries to the dataflow, You must refresh the dataflow to get data loaded into these entities. You can refresh a dataflow manually, or configure an automatic refresh based on a schedule of your choice.

Refresh the dataflow

Get Data from Power Query Desktop

You can now get data from dataflow entities in Power BI Desktop using the dataflow or Common Data Service connectors (depending on what type of dataflow you're using, analytical or standard).

Get data from Dataflows in the Desktop

To learn more about how to get data from dataflow entities in Power Query Desktop, see Connect to data created by Power Platform dataflows in Power BI Desktop.