Loading Multiple Files From A Folder Into Power BI

There are countless ways to load data into Power BI. 

When you’re learning Power BI, this trick for loading multiple files from a folder at the same time should be near the top of your list – it can save lots of time.

Read on to find out just how you can simplify this process for yourself.

Why Load Multiple Files From The Same Folder Into Power BI?

Imagine the following scenario: 

  • You have been asked to produce a dashboard using external data, for example, sales data or log files.
  • Your vendor does not offer an API or any way to connect to the data source directly. 
  • Instead, they have agreed to send you flat files regularly with daily or weekly data to create your report. 

Does this issue sound familiar? 

Most analysts have run into some variation of this problem in their careers.

Whether your organisation lacks a database process for this kind of work, or you just prefer doing things the solution, Power BI has you covered. 

As long as the files are identical, you can batch import them from a folder location.

How To Load Multiple Files From A Folder In Power BI?

Experienced analysts can do this in under a minute!

Select “Get data” from the top toolbar.

Under the options, select “Folder” and click “Connect”.

red selection showing get data and folder option

Enter the path of the folder where you have saved your files.

screnshot showing enter the path of the folder where you have saved your files

Your files will show up and give you three options. 

Load Data, Transform Data and Combine Data. 

Click on “Combine”, and two options will appear: 

Combine & Transform Data 

Combine & Load. 

If your folder contains only the files you want and nothing else, you can go ahead and select Combine & Load

If you need to filter out files or do any other transformation, you need to select Combine & Transform

In this example, we will be selecting Combine & Load.

red selection shows combine and transform data

A pop-up will ask you to review the combined files. 

It will show you sample data and ask you to give it the specifications for each file, for example, the delimiter type. 

You will just select “OK” at the bottom in most cases.

screenshot shows pop-up asking you to review the combined files

Just like that, you will have all of your files combined and can start to create your visuals.

Why Use Power Query To Filter Out Files?

The last section showed a simple example where all your files are the same, and you can just combine them. 

In some cases, you will have to filter some files out. 

Power query editor allows you to transform your data as you would in other circumstances. 

We want to combine the log files and ignore the .lock and .ini files in this example.

screenshot shows filtering some files out

You can remove the files that shouldn’t be in your data by filtering out a column. 

This will allow you to combine the files. As you can see, we have not ticked the .ini and .lock files, so Power BI will not upload them.

screenshot showing remove the files that shouldn’t be in your data by filtering out a column

You may need to create a custom column to achieve this in even more complicated examples.


1) Combining your data gives you an error or does not give you correct information.

Solution: Make sure your files are identical. Different numbers of columns, different column names or column types will all give you errors. 

2) The Combine option is not available when connecting to data.

Solution: The combine option will only be available if you select the “Folder” connector in the Get Data menu.

Final Thoughts

The Combine Files feature in Power BI is a powerful option to combine different files quickly. 

It is a simple process that allows you to visualise data (whether a report or a dashboard) across multiple files. 

While it will not be ideal in all scenarios, it is a fantastic choice when dealing with multiple identical files.

I you would like to know more about Power BI, try our article about Power BI relationships.

About Ben Richardson

Ben is a director of Acuity Training which he has been running for over 10 years.

He is a Natural Sciences graduate from the University of Cambridge and a qualified accountant with the ICAEW.

He previously worked as a venture capitalist and banker and so had extensive experience with Excel from building financial models before moving to learn SQL, Microsoft Power BI and other technologies more recently.