Archive - Blog Posts on Beginners

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
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
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
When to Use SUM() vs SUMX() - Level: Beginners/Intermediate It has been 2 years since I first wrote an article about SUM() vs SUMX().  I decided to write a new article to refresh this topic and add in the things I have learnt over the last 2 years. SUM() vs SUMX() First let me start with an overview of both of these […] Read More
My MDIS Presentations - Level: Beginners/Intermediate As those that read my blog regularly would know, I have been at the Microsoft Data Insights Summit in Seattle Washington for the last 2 days. I had the privilege and pleasure of presenting two sessions at the event. For those that were not able to attend, here are the videos of my […] 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
Which to Use – Power BI or Excel? - Level: Beginners One of my regular blog readers (and graduate of my live training course) Phil Cross asked me last week if I knew of anywhere to find a comprehensive guide for Self Service BI users of when to use Excel vs Power BI to author new data models. I thought this would make a […] Read More
Power BI Skills – Thinking of Data in Tables - Level: Beginners One very important concept that Excel users often struggle with when starting on their Power BI and Power Pivot journey is that they need to learn to think about data in tables rather than thinking about data in cells.  In the spreadsheet world every cell can be a different formula or value, but […] 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
Best Practices for Power Pivot, Power Query and Power BI - Level: Beginners There are many best practices for Power BI, Power Pivot and Power Query.  I know these things so intuitively now that it is very easy to forget how I incrementally learnt these things along the journey.  Most of these things are not “right” vs “wrong” – they are more often simply “better”.  I thought there […] Read More
DAX Time Intelligence Explained - Level: Beginners I help a lot of people on forums who ask questions about time intelligence for DAX.  If you are just starting out then the chances are that you may not even be clear what time intelligence is and hence sometimes you don’t even know what to ask.  Often the question is something like […] Read More
Easy Online Surveys with Power BI Reporting - Level: Beginners I think today’s article will be of interest to my readers even though it is a little astray from my normally pure Power BI, Power Pivot and Power Query content. I will show you how to quickly and easily create an On-Line Survey that you can distribute to anyone that has an Internet […] Read More
How to Document DAX Measures in Excel - Level: Beginners I often get asked if there is an easy way to create documentation for DAX measures when using Power Pivot for Excel.  I am not a big fan of documentation for the sake of it, but I do see value in having “some” appropriate level of documentation.  I think a good balance of […] Read More
Power Pivot Crashes? – An Update - Level: Beginners Today Avi Singh and I met with Howie Dickerman from Microsoft to discuss the Power Pivot for Excel Add-In.  You can read the background to this meeting at my blog post last month.  Howie is the Program Manager assigned to Power Pivot for Excel and has a wealth of experience with Excel and […] Read More
When to Create a Lookup Table in Power Pivot - Level: Beginners Today I explain when it is important to create a lookup table and when it is fine to use native columns in a data table.  I have rated this topic as a beginner topic as it is a fundamental skill to learn on your journey to become a Power Pivot and Power BI […] Read More
Find Duplicate Files on Your PC with Power BI - Level: Beginners If you want to learn new skills using a new tool, then you simply must practice.  One great way to practice is to weave the new tool into you daily problem solving.  If you have something meaningful to do with the new tool, then you are much more likely to be motivated to […] Read More
Use Power Query to Manage Dropbox Space - Level: Beginners I got this dreaded Dropbox email recently as shown below. I needed to clear out some of the files I have loaded in Dropbox so I didn’t have to upgrade my account.  It occurred to me that I could make this process a lot easier by using Power BI to quickly show me […] Read More
Does the Power Pivot Excel Add-In Crash for You? - Level: Beginners I was chatting to Avi Singh the other day and we were comparing notes about the live Power Pivot training classes we both offer in Australia (me) and the USA (Avi).  One thing we both have in common is that the Microsoft Excel Power Pivot Add-In CRASHES a lot during training!  When I say “crash”, I […] Read More
Who Needs Power Pivot, Power Query and Power BI Anyway? - Level: Beginners One of the great challenges Microsoft has faced with its “new” suite of Self Service BI tools (particularly Power Pivot) is that most people that could benefit from the holy trinity (Power Pivot, Power Query and Power BI) don’t even know these tools exist, let alone how the tools can help them succeed in […] Read More
Shaping vs Modelling in Power BI - Level: Beginners Power Pivot, Power Query and Power BI are 3 products that are closely related to each other and were all built for the same purpose – enabling Self Service Business Intelligence.  I first learnt to use Power Pivot for Excel, then Power Query for Excel, and finally Power BI.  But there is a […] Read More