Connect to CSV files in Power BI Desktop

Connecting to a comma-separated value (CSV) file from Power BI Desktop is a lot like connecting to an Excel workbook. Both are easy, and this article steps you through how to connect to any CSV file to which you have access.

Get data from a CSV file

To start with, from Power BI Desktop select Get data > Text/CSV from the Home ribbon.

Screenshot of Get Data menu with Text/CSV selected.

Select your CSV file from the Open dialog that appears.

Screenshot of Open dialog where you can browse to a CSV file.

When you select Open, Power BI Desktop accesses the file and determines certain file attributes, such as the file origin, delimiter type, and how many rows should be used to detect the data types in the file.

These file attributes and options are shown in the dropdown selections at the top of the CSV import dialog window. You can change any of these detected settings manually, by choosing another option from any of the dropdown selectors.

Screenshot of the CSV import dialog window with the Delimiter menu selected.

When you're satisfied with the selections, you can select Load to import the file into Power BI Desktop, or you can select Transform Data to open Power Query Editor and further shape or transform the data before importing it.

View table and columns

Once you load the data into Power BI Desktop, you see the table and its columns, which are presented as Fields in Power BI Desktop, in the Fields pane, along the right of the Report view in Power BI Desktop.

Screenshot of Power BI Desktop window showing the Fields pane.

That's all you have to do. The data from your CSV file is now in Power BI Desktop.

You can use that data in Power BI Desktop to create visuals, reports, or interact with any other data you might want to connect with and import, such as Excel workbooks, databases, or any other data source.

Important

When you import a CSV file, Power BI Desktop generates columns=x as a step in Power Query Editor. The value x is the number of columns in the CSV file during initial import. If you subsequently add more columns and the data source is set to refresh, any columns beyond the initial x count of columns aren't refreshed.

Next steps

There are all sorts of data you can connect to using Power BI Desktop. For more information on data sources, check out the following resources: