Can We Change Data Type in Direct Query Power BI?


Angela Bailey

Can We Change Data Type in Direct Query Power BI?

In Power BI, Direct Query is a powerful feature that allows users to connect directly to their data source without importing it into the Power BI model. This feature provides real-time access to data and ensures that any changes made in the source are reflected immediately in the Power BI report.

Understanding Data Types

Data types play a crucial role in any data analysis process. They define the type of data stored in a column or field and determine how that data is interpreted and used by Power BI. Common data types include text, number, date/time, and boolean.

When working with Direct Query in Power BI, it’s important to note that the data types of columns are determined by the underlying data source. Power BI simply respects and follows these predefined data types.

The Limitations of Changing Data Types

Unlike when working with imported data or using Power Query Editor, changing data types directly within Power BI is not possible when using Direct Query mode.

This limitation exists because Direct Query mode relies on the underlying database engine for processing queries and retrieving results. As a result, any changes to the data type must be made at the source level rather than within Power BI.


While you can’t change data types directly within Power BI when using Direct Query mode, there are a few workarounds you can consider:

  • Modify Data Types at the Source: If you have access to the underlying database or data source, you can modify the data type there. For example, if a column is currently defined as text but should be treated as a number, you can modify its definition at the source level.
  • Use Calculated Columns: Instead of changing the data type directly, you can create calculated columns in Power BI that convert the data types as needed.

    For example, if a column contains numeric data but is treated as text, you can create a calculated column that converts the text to numbers using functions like VALUE or CONVERT.

  • Apply Data Type Formatting: While you can’t change the data type itself, you can still control how Power BI displays and formats the data. By applying formatting options such as number formatting or date formatting, you can ensure that the data appears in the desired format.

It’s important to note that these workarounds may have performance implications and should be evaluated based on your specific requirements and dataset size.


In Direct Query mode, changing data types directly within Power BI is not possible. However, by modifying data types at the source level, using calculated columns, or applying formatting options, you can achieve similar results and ensure your data is presented in a meaningful way.

Understanding the limitations of Direct Query mode when it comes to changing data types is crucial for effectively working with this feature in Power BI. By leveraging the available workarounds and making informed decisions about your dataset structure and requirements, you can harness the full potential of Direct Query in your Power BI reports.

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