Setting up Airtable Power BI Integration: 2 Easy Methods

• May 6th, 2021

Airtable Power BI Integration

Most modern businesses make use of a vast number of platforms to run their day-to-day operations. These platforms generate a massive amount of data which is then analyzed to understand how businesses can improve their performance and plan future strategies accordingly.

One of the most well-known platforms used by many businesses today to enable employees to collaborate with each other is Airtable.

This article will provide you with an understanding of 2 easy methods that can be used to set up Airtable Power BI Integration to perform a comprehensive analysis of your Airtable data.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Airtable

Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Airtable_Logo.svg

Airtable can be defined as an easy-to-use Cloud-based collaboration service that businesses can use to store, share, and edit Relational Databases. The databases, in this case, could contain data required to run the day-to-day operations of any business such as inventory details, tasks, growth strategies, and ideas, etc. 

Although it is true that you can store information about a project on an online Spreadsheet like Google Sheets and easily collaborate with others to work on that data, there are numerous limitations associated with using Spreadsheets. For example, you cannot define relationships between tables using a Spreadsheet. Storing related data together in a single Spreadsheet can be unwieldy and would result in a large number of errors when you try to perform any operations on it.

Airtable is similar to Spreadsheets, but it comes with two major differences. Firstly, with Airtable, data is stored in Relational Databases instead of Spreadsheets. The major difference between databases and Spreadsheets is that databases give users the ability to perform various complex operations that they would not have been able to perform ideally using a Spreadsheet. Secondly, Airtable is a user-friendly tool, hence, it is not necessary for you to be an expert in using Spreadsheets or Relational Databases to use Airtable. Airtable also houses numerous templates that can guide you on how to use the system. 

More information on Airtable can be found here.

Understanding the Key Features of Airtable

The key features of Airtable are:

  • Customizable Views: Airtable allows users to set up different Views based on the business use cases. Numerous powerful sorting, filtering, and grouping operations can be performed on these Views that give users the freedom to arrange their work as per their preferences.
  • Airtable Apps: Airtable gives users the ability to choose from over 50+ prebuilt applications that can help them bring their data to life and perform a vast number of operations.
  • Automation: Airtable can help businesses perform their operations faster and focus on the work that matters by creating custom notifications, orchestrate work via integrations, and automate redundant tasks.
  • Robust API: The official Airtable API allows users to connect their workflow to hundreds of third-party applications and services, or access their content programmatically.

Introduction to Microsoft Power BI

Image Source: https://o365reports.com/2016/10/12/office-365-adoption-activation-reports/

Microsoft Power BI is a collective group of services and Cloud-based applications that enables organizations to manage, and analyze data from different data sources easily with the help of a very user-friendly interface. 

Microsoft Power BI works on the following principles:

  • It pulls data from different data sources and helps users preprocess it efficiently. The data can be imported from various sources such as Text file, Microsoft Excel, numerous databases and Data Warehouses, etc.
  • Once data preprocessing is complete, Microsoft Power BI enables users to make interactive reports and dashboards by providing numerous advanced visualizations and an interactive interface. 

Microsoft Power BI exists in the following formats:

  • Windows Desktop Application known as Power BI Desktop.
  • A Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) known as Power BI Service. 
  • An Android and iOS application known as Power BI Mobile Apps.

More information on Microsoft Power BI can be found here.

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Understanding the Key Features of Microsoft Power BI

The key features of Microsoft Power BI are as follows:

  • Attractive Visualizations: Microsoft Power BI supports numerous detailed and attractive visualizations such as Line Chart, Stacked/Column Bar/Cluster chart, Ribbon Chart, Funnel Chart, Area Chart, etc.
  • Data Sources: Microsoft Power BI supports a wide variety of Structured and Unstructured On-premise or Cloud-based data sources including Microsoft Power BI Datasets, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Azure, MySQL, Oracle, JSON, Text/CSV, etc.
  • DAX Data Analysis: Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) is a library of operators and functions that can be combined to build complex formulas and expressions in Microsoft Power BI to perform analytics-specific functionality.
  • Customizable Dashboards: Microsoft Power BI provides users the ability to create custom and interactive dashboards using numerous visualizations that can then be used to derive meaningful insights from the data.

Understanding the Need for Airtable Power BI Integration

Airtable helps organizations solve their problems of not being organized enough. This is of paramount importance for quality communication and preventing sporadic thinking in organizations. Airtable is also a good tool for facilitating collaboration on projects in organizations. Since it centralizes data, Airtable gives you an opportunity to run your business from one place.

However, most Airtable users feel that its built-in data visualization features are not powerful enough and only offer partial insights. Hence, it is a common practice for businesses to export their Airtable data and load it into a Business Intelligence and Reporting tool of choice in order to perform an in-depth analysis of their data. One of the most popular Reporting tools available in the market today is Microsoft Power BI. Microsoft Power BI allows users to create powerful dashboards that they can use to extract insights from your data. Considering the functionality offered by Microsoft Power BI, businesses feel the need to set up Airtable Power BI Integration to analyze their Airtable data.

Ways to Set up Airtable Power BI Integration

Method 1: Manual Airtable Power BI Integration

This method involves setting up Airtable Power BI Integration using the Airtable API.

Method 2: Using Hevo to Set up Airtable Power BI Integration

Hevo provides a hassle-free solution and helps you set up Airtable Power BI Integration without any intervention in an effortless manner. Hevo is fully-managed and completely automates the process of not only loading data from your desired source but also enriching the data and transforming it into an analysis-ready form without having to write a single line of code. Hevo’s pre-built integration with Airtable along with 100+ Sources (including 30+ free Data Sources) will take full charge of the data transfer process, allowing you to focus on key business activities. 

Get started with Hevo today! Sign up for the 14-day free trial!

Methods to Set up Airtable Power BI Integration

Users can set up Airtable Power BI Integration by implementing one of the following methods:

Method 1: Manual Airtable Power BI Integration

Users can implement the following steps in order to set up Airtable Power BI Integration: 

  • Step 1: Log in to your Airtable account and select API Documentation from the Help section.
  • Step 2: Open the Authentication section from the left pane. 
  • Step 3: Copy the Airtable API key in the API Key box in the upper right corner and store it in a safe location.
  • Step 4: The data has to be imported into Microsoft Power BI now. Since Microsoft Power BI has no direct integration support for Airtable, the data will have to be imported as Web Data. The import from the Web section will require you to enter the URL of the API. The URL to be entered here will be in the following format:
https://api.airtable.com/v0/[Id of the Base] / [Name of the Table]? Api_key = [API Key].

[Id of the Base], [Name of the Tablea], and [API Key] have to be replaced with the necessary information.

  • Step 5: Click on Accept.
  • Step 6: Microsoft Power BI will now download the data from Airtable but initially show it as a package indicating that it has received a JSON file that contains data inside. You must select the List option to access the data contained in the JSON and then click on the To Table option to convert the downloaded JSON into a table format and hence, be able to manipulate the data or create visualizations.
  • Step 7: Airtable, through its API only sends a maximum of 100 records per API call. This means that when viewing the data in Microsoft Power BI, only 100 records will be available at a time. If your use case has less than 100 records, this step can be skipped but if it has more than 100 records,  then open the Advanced Editor from the View section in the top ribbon.
Image Source: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-bi/transform-model/desktop-common-query-tasks
  • Step 8: Paste the following code in the Editor and select OK.
Pagination = List.Skip(List.Generate( () => [Last_Key = "init", Counter=0],
		each [Last_Key] <> null,
		each [Last_Key = try if [Counter]<1 then "" else [Quelle][Value][offset] otherwise null,
		Quelle= try if [Counter]<1 then
			Json.Document(Web.Contents("https://api.airtable.com/v0/[put base id here]/[put table number here]?api_key=[put api key here]&view=[put view name here]"))
		else
		Json.Document(Web.Contents("https://api.airtable.com/v0/[put base id here]/[put table number here]?api_key=[put api key here]&view=[put view name here]&offset="&Last_Key)),
		Counter = [Counter]+1
		],
		each [Quelle]
	),1),
	#"Convert Table" = Table.FromList(Pagination, Splitter.SplitByNothing(), null, null, ExtraValues.Error)
in
	#"Convert Table"

Limitations of Manually Setting up Airtable Power BI Integration

The limitations of setting up Airtable Power BI Integration manually are as follows:

  • There is no in-built connector that can be used to set up Airtable Power BI Integration automatically. Users have to rely on the API to set up the connection. 
  • Airtable Power BI Integration using the Airtable API might be difficult for individuals without technical knowledge and businesses that do not have a skilled technical team.
  • The process of manually setting up Airtable Power BI Integration is lengthy and complex and hence, prone to errors.
  • It’s impossible to pull data from Airtable into Microsoft Power BI in real-time.

Method 2: Using Hevo to Set up Airtable Power BI Integration

Hevo helps you directly transfer data from Airtable and various other sources to Business Intelligence tools such as Microsoft Power BI, Data Warehouses, or a destination of your choice in a completely hassle-free & automated manner. Hevo is fully managed and completely automates the process of not only loading data from your desired source but also enriching the data and transforming it into an analysis-ready form without having to write a single line of code. Its fault-tolerant architecture ensures that the data is handled in a secure, consistent manner with zero data loss.

Hevo takes care of all your data preprocessing needs and lets you focus on key business activities and draw a much powerful insight on how to generate more leads, retain customers, and take your business to new heights of profitability. It provides a consistent & reliable solution to manage data in real-time and always have analysis-ready data in your desired destination. 

Hevo focuses on three simple steps to get you started:

  • Connect: Connect Hevo with Airtable and various other data sources by simply logging in with your credentials.
  • Integrate: Consolidate your data from several sources using Hevo’s Managed Data Warehouse and automatically transform it into an analysis-ready form.
  • Visualize: Connect Hevo with your desired BI tool such as Microsoft Power BI and easily visualize your data to gain better insights.

Check out what makes Hevo amazing:

  • Real-Time Data Transfer: Hevo with its strong Integration with 100+ sources, allows you to transfer data quickly & efficiently. This ensures efficient utilization of bandwidth on both ends.
  • Data Transformation: It provides a simple interface to perfect, modify, and enrich the data you want to transfer. 
  • Secure: Hevo has a fault-tolerant architecture that ensures that the data is handled in a secure, consistent manner with zero data loss.
  • Tremendous Connector Availability: Hevo houses a large variety of connectors and lets you bring in data from numerous Marketing & SaaS applications, databases, etc. such as Airtable, Airflow, HubSpot, Marketo, MongoDB, Oracle, Salesforce, Redshift, etc. in an integrated and analysis-ready form.
  • Simplicity: Using Hevo is easy and intuitive, ensuring that your data is exported in just a few clicks. 
  • Completely Managed Platform: Hevo is fully managed. You need not invest time and effort to maintain or monitor the infrastructure involved in executing codes.
  • Live Support: The Hevo team is available round the clock to extend exceptional support to its customers through chat, email, and support calls.

Conclusion

This article provided you with a step-by-step guide on how you can set up Airtable Power BI Integration manually or using Hevo. There are certain limitations associated with the manual method. If those limitations are not a concern to your analysis, then the manual method is the best option but if it is, then you should consider using automated Data Integration platforms like Hevo.

Hevo helps you directly transfer data from a source of your choice to a Data Warehouse, Business Intelligence tools such as Microsoft Power BI, or desired destination in a fully automated and secure manner without having to write the code. It will make your life easier and make data migration hassle-free. It is User-Friendly, Reliable, and Secure.

Pricing details for Hevo can be found here. Give Hevo a try by signing up for the 14-day free trial today.

Visualize your Airtable Data in Microsoft Power BI in Real-time Easily