Today’s blog will be about how to connect to APIs using Power BI. APIs can enrich your analyses with real-time dynamic data. Power BI actually makes it pretty easy to connect to data through APIs. This blog will provide a step-by-step guide on how to do so and any tips for efficiency.

Step 1 – API Documentation

Once you have found a suitable API online, before jumping into Power BI, it’s useful to define the data you need from the API. You should consider the endpoint, parameters, and authentication methods required to access the data. Understanding your data requirements upfront will streamline the integration process. The best way to do this is to read and understand the API documentation. The documentation provides a comprehensive guide to help you understand the API endpoints and requests, the API’s authentication and security protocols, request and response formats, and any relevant information on pagination, rate limiting, and quotas. Each API is different, so make sure you don’t rush reading the documentation!

Step 2 – Get Data

Now, launch Power BI Desktop, navigate to the ‘Home’ tab, and click on the ‘Get Data’ button. A dropdown menu will appear, offering various source options.

Step 3 – Web

In the ‘Get Data’ menu, select ‘Web’ from the list of available data sources. This option allows you to connect to APIs and web services

Step 4 – Enter API Endpoint

After selecting ‘Web,’ a dialogue box will prompt you to enter the URL of the API endpoint you wish to connect to. Paste the URL into the designated field and click ‘OK’ to proceed

Step 5 – Configure API Authentication (if necessary)

Depending on the API, you may need to configure authentication to access the data. Power BI supports various authentication methods such as Basic, API Key, OAuth, and more. Follow the API documentation to determine the appropriate authentication method and provide the necessary credentials.

Step 6 –  Load and Transform the Data

After loading the data, you can apply transformations and manipulate the dataset using Power BI’s query editor. Cleanse, filter, or reshape the data as needed to prepare it for analysis. Once you’re satisfied with the data structure, create visualizations and reports to derive insights from the API data. A tip here is that sometimes you will need to expand the fields to see the data. To do so navigate to the transform data window.
From here find this small expand icon on the field.
Click ‘Expand.’ Now, you should be able to see any data that’s been wrapped up in the field.

That’s it, its as easy as that!

Felix Ralphs
Author: Felix Ralphs