Blog

Rename Blank in a Slicer in Power BI - A common problem I see some people struggle with in Power BI is when a slicer contains a (Blank) record for some reason.  The cause of the problem is not obvious and hence it is not clear how to fix it.   This article describes what causes this to occur and also how to fix it […]
Importing XLSB into Power BI - I had a question from one of my online Power BI Training students just this week who was struggling to import data from a large *.xlsb Excel file.  I suggested she save the file as an XLSX file and try again – and that worked a treat.  But the question is why?  I had an […]
Moving Queries from Power BI Desktop to Dataflows - A few weeks ago I wrote an article introducing dataflows in Power BI and discussed why you should care about them.  There are a few questions that have been spinning around in my head since then, significantly: What implication is there to the Power BI Golden Dataset as a result of the new dataflows? Should I […]
Create a Planning View of Your Outlook Diary in Power BI - I was chatting to my wife the other day discussing all the things we want to do next year. It has long been a pain in the butt to get a high level (big picture) view of your Outlook diary to see what is happening (think forest, not trees).  In the past I have used […]
Power BI Dataflows, and Why You Should Care - Microsoft recently released a new feature in Power BI called “Dataflows”.  You may have seen it pop up in a recent release of Power BI Desktop under Home\Get Data\Power BI Dataflows (beta) as shown below. It is also visible when you log into PowerBI.com and go to an App Workspace as shown in 1 below.  […]
Power BI Training
Power BI is an Enigma, so What to Do? - Power BI is an enigma.  On the surface Power BI is an alluring product that promises to change your world of data analytics for the better – and indeed it can and will.  But sitting just beneath the surface, hidden from view, is the reality that there are many things you must learn if you […]
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 […]
Create a Power BI Slicer Panel - There is nothing worse than having a Power BI report that has 50% of the space taken up with slicers.  When this happens, you only get half the page to visualise the actual data.  But on the flip side, if you don’t have the slicers it can be harder for the report users to filter […]
Data Profiling in Power BI - Today Microsoft released the October 2018 update of Power BI Desktop.  One of the fabulous new features that has been released is the ability to get a visual profile of your data in Power Query BEFORE you load the data.  This new feature is typical of the type of development effort Microsoft is investing in […]
Visually Appealing Power BI Reports - One thing I often get asked is “How do I create good looking Power BI Reports?”.  This is a very good question and unfortunately the answer is not straight forward.  I like to think of the visual appeal as the “Art” of communicating data insights.  The other major consideration is “what and how” to communicate […]
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 […]
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 […]
My Presentations at the MS Summit and Portland UG - Evaluation contexts in Power BI DAX I was in Seattle, USA in the last week of July participating in the Microsoft Business Applications Summit. I love attending conferences like this and it was a privilege to present on a few topics over 3 days.  One of the presentations I gave was on the topic “Evaluation contexts […]
Power Pivot Global Interest - Way back in 2014 I decided to check out what Google Trends had to say about Power Pivot and Power Query global Interest. In case you don’t know, Google Trends will show you the relative frequency of people searching for certain words – it is a good indicator of interest in a topic.  I published […]
Extending Power BI With R Visuals - Level: Intermediate Matt: This is the second one in a series of articles from Parker Stevens. In this article he talks about using R with Power BI. If you missed his first article “Introduction to DirectQuery” you can read it here. Parker: Power BI comes with a ton of built-in features but eventually you might […]
Extracting Complex Data from Websites - One thing I did a long time ago was set up my own forum called PowerPivot Forum. This forum is open to anyone to join and to ask questions and/or help others. If I have any spare time (decreasingly so these days), I help people out on the forum too.  It occurred to me that the forum […]
Keeping Track of Changes on a Website with Power BI - Level: Intermediate A couple of weeks ago I posted a list of my ideas that I have created at ideas.powerbi.com and asked you to vote for them if you agree with the concept (please go back and take a look if you missed it).  I thought it would be interesting to keep track of the […]
Toggle Overlapping Time Periods using the Calendar Table - Level: Intermediate. I had a great question pass my way last week while I was at the Microsoft Business Application Summit. The problem presented by Matt (a different Matt, not me) was that he had around 200 measures already written, but wanted to be able to toggle the report pages between YTD and Full Year […]
Your Vote Makes a Difference - Microsoft has always been great at building and delivering world class robust commercial software, but it hasn’t always been great at listening to specific customer concerns about gaps in the software. All this has changed now, and Microsoft now has a clearly defined process to ask its customers what is important to them, and then […]
Phasing Income to Future Dates - Level: Intermediate I do lots of live training, face to face and online, and I always encourage students to bring along any business problems they would like some help with.  Last week I had a great problem that Debbie shared with me that I thought was worth creating this blog article.  I have modified the […]

Ten Things I Wish I Knew When I Started With Power Pivot.   Learn  Without The Pain!

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