If you use dataflows with Power BI Premium, you probably use linked and computed entities. There’s an overview post here, and an example of how to use these tools for data profiling here, but in case you don’t want to click through, here’s a quick summary:
- When adding entities to a dataflow, you use another dataflow as a data source
- This adds linked entities to your new dataflow, which are basically pointers to the entities in the source dataflow
- You then use these linked entities as building blocks for new entities, using union or merge or similar approaches
This approach is simple and powerful, but it may not always give you exactly what you want. For example, what if you don’t want the users who have access to your new computed entities to also have access to the linked entities your new dataflow references?
Let’s take a look at what this looks like. I’m using the dataflow I build for that older post on data profiling as the starting point, so if you’re a regular reader this may look familiar.
This is a simple dataflow that contains three linked entities and three computed entities. The computed entities use Table.Profile to generate profiles for the data in the linked entities. When you connect to the dataflow using Power BI Desktop, it looks like this:
As you can see, all six entities are available to load into Power BI Desktop.
What if you only wanted users to be able to read the profiles, without also granting them access to the entities being profiled? Why do dataflows give access to both?
The answer is equally simple, and obvious once you see it:
As with other dataflow entities, the linked entities are enabled for load by default. Removing these entities from the dataflow is as simple as clearing this setting.
Once this option is cleared for the linked entities, the dataflow will look like this, with only the three computed entities being included:
And as desired, only these entities are accessible to users in Power BI Desktop:
Hopefully this quick tip is helpful. If this is something that has been making you wonder, please realize you’re in excellent company – you’re not the only one. And if you have other questions about using dataflows in Power BI, please don’t hesitate to ask!
 Don’t feel bad – I didn’t want to click through either, and wrote this summary mainly so I didn’t need to read through those older posts to see what I said last year.
 As I’ve recently learned by having multiple people ask me about this behavior.
 Because I’m lazy.
 And Power Query queries in general.