Tabular Editor is a Power BI Tabular Modelling productivity tool developed by Daniel Otykier. I blogged about Version 2 of the Tabular Editor in this article here. The 3rd edition of Tabular Editor has just been released, and it is a major upgrade from version 2. TE 3 is not free, but in my view, the productivity benefits make it a must have piece of software for anyone that is regularly writing DAX in Power BI Desktop. I liken the experience of moving to TE3 to when I first switched from using a single monitor to using dual monitors for my job.
- Did the second monitor cost money? Yes.
- Could have talked myself out of the purchase based on the cost? – definitely.
- Once I started using a second monitor, did I have any regrets? Hell no!
One you see the benefits of a productivity tool, there is no turning back. I think Tabular Editor 3 is one such tool, so read on.
Disclosure: I have received a free edition of TE3 Enterprise as part of an MVP offer from Kapacity. I wouldn’t be without it and would definitely purchase the Desktop version for myself if I had not received the MVP sponsored version. I have also chosen to purchase the desktop version for Jason, my full time consultant/trainer.
5 Things I Love About Tabular Editor 3
Tabular Editor 3 has many important and useful productivity features that make the price (from US$100 per year) well worth the investment. This article covers 5 features that I love and that are great productivity boosters. Here is my top 5 list after my first few days using the tool.
- Edit measures with Intellisense.
- DAX Scripting
- Peek Definition
- Inline Measure
- Multi Screen Support
Actually, I also will show you DAX Formatter Integration, but this is available in TE 2 as well, so I won’t count it as one of my top 5.
Here is a brief summary of each feature. You can also go straight to the video at the end of this article to see the demo if you prefer.
1. Edit Measures with Intellisense
Tabular Editor 3 can be used to write and/or modify DAX formulas easily and quickly with Intellisense support. When you save a measure in Tabular Editor, it is immediately reflected in the Power BI Desktop data model – much faster than writing measures natively in Power BI (if you can believe that). The benefit gets greater for larger models with more measures. Each time a measure is updated in Power BI Desktop, every measure is re-validated before control is returned to you, the author. That is why you see that spinning “working on it” message for longer as your models grow and become more complex. TE 3 fixes that issue.
DAX Formatter Integration
I do love this feature, but it was actually included in Tabular Editor 2 as well. Any long DAX formula can be formatted directly from Tabular Editor 3 using the DAX Formatter API. The formatted measure can then be saved back in the Power BI data model.
2. DAX Scripting
DAX Scripting is a tool that will gather all the measures from a table and display them onto a single page (script) all at once. From there you can alter one or more of the measures before writing all your changes back to the model (by running the script). This is a very powerful feature that can be used for
- Modifications to many of the DAX formulas all at once.
- Debug your DAX issues more easily by seeing all the measures in one location.
- Copying measures from one Power BI data model to another.
3. Peek Definition
As its name implies, this feature allows you to quickly peek at the underlying formula inside a measure. Just right-click any measure to select Peek Definition to see the detail.
4. Inline Measure
Inline Measure can be used to instantly convert any measure embedded inside a DAX formula into the raw, underlying DAX code that makes up that measure. This is super handy if you want to flatten DAX formulas that contain one or more measures into the raw DAX code. Making such a change can make the formulas easier to analyse and also more performant in certain circumstances.
5. Multi Screen Support
TE 3 has full multi screen support, meaning it is possible to place different windows on different monitors. This means you can take advantage of 2 or more screens to give you maximum focus for editing your model. You can even keep Power BI Desktop visible on another screen while editing the model in TE3 (assuming you have enough screens).
I produced this short video demonstrating the above features of Tabular Editor 3.
What is your favourite feature?
I would love to hear from others what their favourite feature is. Maybe it is something that is already in TE 2 that you still love, or something that is new in TE 3. Let me know in the comments below.