Best Book for Learning the M Language

gil raviv sml
Late in 2018 there was a new Power Query book written by Gil Raviv called Collect, Combine and Transform Data Using Power Query in Excel and Power BI.  That’s a bit of a mouthful actually; maybe the title was influenced by the same people that call Power Query “Get and Transform” in the Excel menu?!   For those of you that don’t know who Gil is, he is a former Senior Program Manager at Microsoft responsible for the integration of Power Query into Excel. Gil’s background is an important factor as to why you should read this book – he has a depth of knowledge of how Power Query works, including the M language, far deeper than most.  Gil also has a great Power Query blog at his Datachant website.

What I Liked About this Book

There are now 3 great Power Query books that I have read (the others being by Chris Webb and Puls/Escobar) and they all good.  What I like specifically about this new book by Gil Raviv is the coverage of the M Language (more on that later).

The book uses examples from real world problems that can be solved using Power Query via the UI.  The examples are supported by sample workbooks that you can download and work through yourself.  In fact you will probably want to do this for some of the more complex examples as not every step in the process is shown as a screen shot in the book.  Completing the examples yourself will certainly help with your understanding and knowledge retention.  There is quite some breath of complexity starting from simple transformation and moving up to complex examples such us unpivoting nested tabular data of various sizes and nesting depth.

Best Book for Learning the M Language

I am really intrigued by the M Language. I am self taught and I learnt by turning on the formula bar in Power Query and analysing the code created by the Power Query UI.  There is very little formal documentation about the M language available anywhere.  I think this book does a great job at explaining how the language works and how you can modify the code generated by the UI to extend the UI driven capabilities of Power Query.  It can be read initially as a teaching guide and they used later as a reference guide.

You can purchase the book Collect, Combine and Transform Data Using Power Query in Excel and Power BI from Amazon.

Learn Power Query and the M Language from my Online Video Training

If you prefer instructor lead learning, I have a comprehensive online training course on Power Query and the M Language.  The course consists of 7.5 hours of video instructions and guides that will teach you how to use Power Query from the UI as well as using the M Language.

7 thoughts on “Best Book for Learning the M Language”

  1. Which of those 3 Power Query books is closest to the style of your own books?

    I ask because everyone has different learning styles – the best I’ve found for my learning style (for Power BI) is your books (which incidentally is why I follow this blog…), so – the Power Query book closes to that, is the one I’d probably want to get first.

    Thanks,

  2. Matt, Happy New Year !!! For All of You, yesterday I buyed from Microsoft Press store with a amazing 40% discount, I really excited for read and learn more about this book, I have to the others two book you comment, and of course yours two book ( I called the green and yellow book)

  3. It doesn’t really go into depth for that scenario, so if that is the sole purpose then I would say no. I have a few videos on the topic on my youtube channel linked in the menu on the top of the page

  4. G’day Matt,
    I’m looking for something that can give me instructions/training on web scraping using M. Is this book suitable?

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