Archive - Blog Posts on Beginners

Pivoting Text Data Using Power Query - It is very common to need to transform data from one “shape” to another “shape” before it can be used inside Power BI for analysis (although many beginners don’t realise this).   One such example is shown below, where the data in the table on the left hand side needs to be transformed into the table […] Read More
Column Sub Folders are Better than Measure Sub Folders - I blogged about the various ways to use Measure tables and Measure Sub Folders in Power BI a few weeks back.  I discussed why measure tables may be required, and also a few reasons why you may choose not to use a measure table. I also mentioned some alternatives to using measure tables, including using a […] Read More
Measure Tables in Power BI - I often get asked about measure tables during my Power BI online training classes. This post will discuss the merits of measure tables versus storing your measures in the table where the data comes from. What is a Measure Table? A measure table is a dedicated table used to store some or all of the […] Read More
Grouping in Power BI Desktop Without Using DAX - Way back in Oct-2016, Microsoft released a feature in Power BI Desktop that makes the process of creating groups much easier for the average user. I was reminded of this feature by an article by Reid Havens a couple of months ago. I blogged about various other ways of doing this, including banded columns using DAX […] Read More
Conditional Formatting with a Text Field in Power BI - One of the things I like about my live, online training courses is that I get to hear great questions from the trenches from people learning DAX and Power BI.  Last week, John asked me how to apply conditional formatting with a Text field (not a numeric field).  I knew it could be done, but […] Read More
Query By Example YYYY-MM
Query by Example to Extract YYYY-MM from a Date Column - I was answering a question for a student in one of my online training courses this week. The question was, “Do you know of a way in power query to efficiently extract YYYY-MM from a Date column?” This can be done ‘manually’ with multiple steps including: Extract the Year into 1 column Extract the Month […] Read More
What is the Best Training for Business Analysts? - Updated Feb 2019.  This is an edited version of my original article which first appeared on my site in Feb 2016. The rate of change in the tools available to a Business Analyst has never been faster than it is today.  The market is changing so quickly that many Business Analysts (BAs) are only just […] Read More
When to Use SUM() vs SUMX() - Level: Beginners/Intermediate (Updated Oct 2018). This is a further (third) update/edit to an article I first wrote 3 years back and then updated a year back.  When I update my articles I simply change the original post with the latest data – that way only the current/latest version is available preventing people stumbling on old […] Read More
Using Variables to Write Measures - It’s pretty early in the morning here in Sydney Australia (just after 6 am actually).  I just finished a fun YouTube session with Avi Singh where I demonstrated my approach to using variables in DAX to help write more complex formulas.  Avi streamed the session live on YouTube, and it is also there available to […] Read More
How Query Folding Works - Level: Beginners Power Query is a product that allows business users to extract data from any source, cleanse and transform that data, and then load the modified data to a new location, typically into an Excel spreadsheet or a Power BI data model.  Power Query is very easy to learn, and most tasks can be […] Read More
My Supercharge Excel and Supercharge Power BI Books Available on Amazon - After what seems like a lifetime of waiting for the paperback book economy to tick its required boxes, both of my new books Supercharge Excel and Supercharge Power BI are now available to ship to most countries in the world from Amazon.com. This is a good opportunity for me to clarify how these new books […] Read More
Publish to Web is not Secure - Today I want to issue a warning to anyone considering using Publish to Web to share corporate data internally within an organisation. Publish to Web is a standard feature on all Power BI accounts (free and Pro) – I first wrote about it two years ago here.  This is a great feature that is designed […] Read More
Text Filtering in Power BI - There are lots of different ways you can filter data in Power BI including: Slicers (with various configurations) Cross filtering from any visual object The filters pane on the right hand side of your report Custom visuals designed specifically for filtering Most of these standard filters require you to select on a specific value from […] Read More
Extract Table Size from Power BI Desktop Using DAX Studio - I was explaining to one of my blog readers recently how to extract table size from Power BI Desktop using DAX Studio and thought it would be useful for others.  I have covered the basics of DAX Studio in the past so I wont cover this detail again here. The latest version of DAX Studio can be […] 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
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
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 – even I have learnt that way.  And over the last few years I have trained hundreds of candidates on Power […] 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