Connect to data and view it on a dashboard


1. Overview

This walkthrough shows you how to add a new connection to a data source and display some data on a dashboard.

A SQL Server/Azure database is used for example purposes, but you can follow these steps for any data source.

2. Connecting to data

In order to create a data connector, you generally need to have some knowledge about the type of data source as well as the necessary permissions to connect and perform queries.

You also need to be a user with at least power user access.

2.1. Create a new data connector

A data connector lets you connect to a data source by choosing a data provider and setting various fields that are specific to that provider.

You can create a new data connector in Dundas BI from the main menu.

Create a new data connector
Create a new data connector

Click the Data Connector item to open the New Data Connector dialog. This is a scrollable dialog with a number of fields to set depending on the type of data provider you want to use.

New Data Connector dialog
New Data Connector dialog

2.2. Choose a file name and folder location

Items within your Dundas BI project are generally referred to as files. When you create a new data connector, the first thing you need to do is choose a folder location and give it a file name.

Click inside the Name box to open the Save dialog and enter a name for your data connector.

You can optionally change the folder Location within your Dundas BI project from the Data Connectors folder to a subfolder. To create a subfolder, right-click (or long-tap) an existing folder and choose Create Folder.

Save dialog
Save dialog

2.3. Select a data provider

You can connect to a wide range of data source types with Dundas BI. The data provider dropdown is set to Microsoft SQL Server by default, which is also used for connecting to Azure SQL and Azure Synapse.

Data provider choices
Data provider choices

Depending on the data provider selected, the remaining fields may be different.

Your administrator may need to install drivers on the Dundas BI server for certain data providers. For more information about supported data sources and their driver requirements, see Dundas BI - System Requirements.

2.4. Settings

Each data provider has its own settings for you to fill in, such as the server and database name when connecting to a database. Hover over the field (long-tap on touch devices) for a tooltip popup providing a description. Certain data sources may also have additional details available in the How To article subsection.

The following are some specific settings that are available based on choosing the Microsoft SQL Server data provider.

2.4.1. Authentication

There are a number of different authentication methods to choose from:

  • Server Windows credentials
  • Use SQL Server authentication
  • Specified Windows credentials
  • Impersonated Windows credentials
  • Active Directory credentials, for use with Azure

Server Windows credentials is the default setting.

SQL Server settings
SQL Server settings

2.4.2. Data Source

This is the name of your database instance (e.g., often this is just the server name), or its network/internet address.

2.4.3. Initial Catalog

This is the name of the database from your SQL Server instance that you want to connect to.

2.4.4. Advanced and other settings

There are typically other optional or advanced settings you can configure. Click through the expandable sections to access other settings, and hover with your mouse over each field to see a tooltip description.

2.5. Test the connection

Once you have set the required data connector fields, click Test connection as a quick way of verifying the settings you just entered.

Test connection
Test connection

2.6. Submit

Finally, click the Submit (checkmark) button at the bottom of the New Data Connector dialog to create the connector.

Submit button
Submit button

You'll see a message telling you the data connector was created and that a discovery operation was started. Discovery retrieves information about native data structures such as tables, stored procedures, and functions. You don't need to wait for the discovery operation to complete because it runs in the background.

Discovery notification in bottom-right corner
Discovery notification in bottom-right corner

Stored Procedures that don't output a value are not supported.

3. Viewing data

Now that you have a data connector providing access to a data source, you can display some data using a metric set or dashboard, for example. The quick walkthrough below shows a dashboard.

3.1. Create a new dashboard

Use the main menu to create a new dashboard.

Create a new dashboard
Create a new dashboard

Select the Blank template for your new dashboard.

Blank dashboard template
Blank dashboard template

The dashboard editor is displayed. It consists of a main menu on the left, a toolbar along the top, a status bar along the bottom, and the actual design surface with horizontal and vertical rulers. The white area within the design surface represents your dashboard and is generally referred to as the canvas. You can drag and drop items onto the canvas in order to compose your dashboard.

Dashboard Designer screen
Dashboard Designer screen

3.2. Find your data connector

Click the Explore window, which is docked on the right, to see all the items within the current project.

Expand the Data Connectors folder to see the data connector created previously. Further expand the data connector itself to see the native data structures discovered, including database tables and programmatic structures such as stored procedures and functions.

Data connector native structures
Data connector native structures

3.3. Drag a table of data to the canvas

Under your data connector, scroll down and locate a specific table or sheet of data you want to see. As an example, drag the table or sheet and drop it onto the canvas.

Drag database table to canvas
Drag database table to canvas

When you drag a table, the entire table of raw data will appear as a table visualization. Dundas BI connects live to data sources by default (other than data that has been imported such as a dropped Excel file).

This automatically creates a metric set you can use to analyze the data. You can also start by dragging individual columns containing the data you want visualized. For more details on using metric sets, see Metric set analysis tools.

3.4. View the dashboard

Click View in the toolbar to switch to View mode. This lets you interact with your dashboard, such as using the scrollbars on the table visualization. Click Edit in the toolbar to go back to Edit mode.

4. See also

Dundas Data Visualization, Inc.
500-250 Ferrand Drive
Toronto, ON, Canada
M3C 3G8

North America: 1.800.463.1492
International: 1.416.467.5100

Dundas Support Hours:
Phone: 9am-6pm, ET, Mon-Fri
Email: 7am-6pm, ET, Mon-Fri