Archive - Blog Posts on How to

Killer Tips to Write Harder Measures - Level: Intermediate Background I was reading the questions at http://community.powerbi.com today and saw an interesting question.  In short the OP wanted to know if there was a way to identify (via a measure) if the row in a table had a colour =”Blue”, but also to check that there were no other rows with the […] Read More
DAX UNICHAR Function in Power BI - I first learnt about the new DAX UNICHAR function in Power BI by reading Chris Webb’s blog (which was also the inspiration for this article today).  One of the uses of the UNICHAR function is to be able to include non text characters inside visuals.  When you combine a logical set of these codes (icon sets) you […] Read More
Conditional Formatting in Power BI - Level: Beginners I blogged on conditional formatting in Power BI Table visual here when it was released in the May 2016 Power BI Desktop update. At the time of first release, the conditional formatting was pretty basic with only 1 formatting option available. Over time, Microsoft has improved this feature, and now, it is available in both Table and […] Read More
Using Variables in DAX - Level: Intermediate The variable feature in DAX has been around for more than a year and I have simply never got around to writing an article about it – I am changing that today.  Let me start off with some version information and syntax and then I will show you are real life example where I […] Read More
Power BI Accounting Format of Dollars - Level: Beginners As I often say, sometimes it is the little things that can make a big different for some people – in this case Accountants. I was teaching a Power BI class a few weeks ago and I was discussing how the number formatting options work in Power BI.  One of my students (Sheldon) […] Read More
How To Solve a Complex DAX Problem - Level: Advanced I was helping someone on Power Pivot Forum last week with a tricky calculated column question.  As an aside, you may know that I always advise beginners to keep away from calculated columns.  You mostly don’t need calculated columns because in most circumstances a measure is a better option to use (read more […] Read More
New Functions – GENERATESERIES, SELECTEDVALUE - Level: Beginners/Intermediate In the August 2017 update of Power BI Desktop Microsoft released the new What If feature (first demonstrated at MDIS in July).  This new What If capability uses two new DAX functions to complete a task that you have always been able to do manually.  You still can of course still do it […] Read More
Measure Dependencies in Power BI - Update:  Unfortunately after I released the latest version of my workbook in this article, something changed with Excel to stop the file working as designed.  At this stage I do not know what the issue is, but it seems to only affect the current channel versions of Excel.  I have just reinstalled the deferred channel […] Read More
DMV to Extract Measures from Power Pivot - I have written articles before about how you can extract measures from a data model using DAX Studio and also using Power Pivot Utilities.  These are both excellent tools in their own right and I encourage you to read up on those previous articles to learn more about these tools. Today however I am going […] Read More
The ALL() Function in DAX - Level: Intermediate In this article I am going to write about the ALL() function, show how it works and explain a common use case.  I will also cover the unexpected behaviour that occurs when using the ALL() function in Power BI Desktop – more on that later. For this article I will use my simplified copy […] Read More
Understanding Power Query Combine - Level: Intermediate Sometime late in 2016 Microsoft deployed a new “Combine” feature in both Power Query for Excel (Get and Transform) and also in Power BI Desktop (Get Data).  The new capability makes it easier to combine multiple copies of similar workbooks into a single table without hand coding M Functions, but unfortunately it is now […] Read More
Power Pivot Crashes–Another Update from Seattle - When I was at the Microsoft Data Insights Summit last week I took the opportunity to catch up with Howie Dickerman to get an update on how the bug fixing with Power Pivot for Excel is coming along.  I talked about this in my original blog here and then my previous update here.   And the […] Read More
How and Where to Get Help for Power BI - Level: Beginners/Intermediate Regardless of what stage you are at in your Power BI/Power Pivot/Power Query journey, at some stage you are going to need some help.  Believe me I am no different to you – we are all learning and we all need help sometime or another.  There are basically 3 options that I want […] Read More
How to Find Overlapping Pivot Tables - A client contacted me recently and asked me to solve a problem for them.  They have a large Power Pivot Excel workbook with lots of Pivot Tables.  All was good except sometimes when they refreshed the data, the newly loaded data changed the shape of some of the pivot tables causing at least one of […] Read More
New Power BI Reports from a Golden Dataset - Last week I wrote an article at PowerPivotPro.com explaining how to create a new report on PowerBI.com that connects to an existing dataset already loaded on PowerBI.com.  I then discovered (thanks to reader feedback) that Microsoft has already delivered a preview of a new feature called “Power BI Service Live Connection”. This new feature allows […] Read More
Quick Measures and Query by Example - 2 fabulous new updates again in the April update of Power BI Desktop.  Here is my quick review so you can see how great these things are. Quick Measures Quick measures are designed to help you get started with DAX, without knowing any DAX!  OMG I will be out of a job!! Once again this […] Read More
Uses for DAX as a Query Language - Level: Intermediate This is the final article in my series about DAX as a Query Language.  In my first article I introduced DAX as a Query Language and then in my second article I went in deeper to the specifics on how to use some of the more useful DAX query functions.  In this final article […] Read More
DAX as a Query Language Part 2 - Level: Intermediate In my last article I introduced DAX as a Query Language and explained why learning to query your data model can be useful.  I covered the basics about using a tool like DAX Studio to query a database and return a table of data as a result.  In this article I am going to […] Read More
An Introduction to DAX as a Query Language - Level: Intermediate I have written quite a few articles that contain embedded references to DAX Queries and DAX Table functions in the past.  Today I am writing an article that introduces the DAX query language from the beginning so you can learn how to use it and how it will help you to become a […] Read More
Relationships in Power BI and Power Pivot - Level: Beginners Power Pivot is a database that has been designed from the ground up to be optimised for reporting and analysis in Power BI, Power Pivot for Excel and SSAS Tabular.  The technology is essentially the same across all of these products so I will generically refer to Power Pivot in this article. Power […] Read More