The R Language

David Iseminger - Microsoft
2017-03-29

If you are into statistics then you probably already know about the R language – but if you don’t it may be worth looking at.

It is open source code that is built to handle statistics and big data. It has some limitations when used with Power BI but it can be used on its own.

This article looks at using visuals created with R in Power BI.

DAX Studio

DAX is the function and query language of PowerPivot and PowerBI. It has been around for a while, but it didn’t really have many editing tools until DAX Studio came around.

DAX Studio has been created by the SQLBI.com guys – the legends in PowerBI.

I saw a demo today at the Perth Modern Excel User Group at Microsoft Perth – its great.

Whilst it is a powerful editor, it is not just a code editor.

There are lots of options to allow you to optimise your DAX code. Lots of output options as well.

You can test and see how long it takes to run your DAX commands.

If you regularly use DAX in Power BI or PowerPivot then DAX Studio is a must have.

 

 

Hacking Power BI

Chris Webb
2017-04-11

Chris Webb’s BI website is a great resource on Power BI, DAX and Power Query and Power Pivot

This post shows how to hack DAX to display characters. Opens up some new possibilities.

 

Making Subtotals Bold

When you use the SUBTOTAL feature in the Data ribbon tab it automatically inserts subtotals in your list – see blog post on it here.

One problem with this is that is only makes the cell with the word Total bold – it doesn’t make the whole row bold.

If you want the whole row to be bold it isn’t hard to fix.

  1. Select the whole range involved.
  2. Use the grouping button 2 top left corner. See image below.
  3. Then hold the Alt key down and press the ; (semicolon key) – this selects just the visible cells.
  4. Then press Ctrl + b to bold it.
  5. Click another cell to reset the range and you are done.

Power Query M Language Editor

Power Query (Get & Transform) uses the M language to allow you to customise and build in flexibility to your queries.

Currently writing the M language is tricky to write. It is case sensitive and there is no built-in help to assist you using the language.

Apparently Microsoft is working on creating an M editor, but there is no time line on when it will be ready.

This article takes you through some steps to create your own editor using Notepad ++.

If you use Power Query a lot then this may be worthwhile.

Pasting a Filtered List in a Formatted Table

I have been recently working with some very large (500,000+ rows) tables. As part of the process I had to filter one Formatted Table, copy it and then paste it in another Formatted Table. Excel would sit there processing for a long time – but I found a technique to speed up the process.

After you copy the filtered list, simply paste it in a blank sheet. This is virtually instantaneous. Then copy that interim list and paste in the other Formatted Table – again almost instantaneous. Two quick pastes is a lot quicker than paste and wait.

In case you didn’t know, when you copy a filtered list, you only copy the visible cells – the filtered ones. The hidden cells are omitted from the copy.

So if you are experiencing delays in the pasting of a filtered list, just use an interim paste and then another copy to speed up your copy and paste.

For more information on Formatted Tables, check out the links below.

Format As Table in Excel Part 1

Excel Format as Table Part 2 [VIDEO]

 

Inserting Data into Formatted Tables

I was recently working with a large Formatted Table in excess of 100,000 rows with Power Query.

I was copying in new data to a temporary workings table and then manipulating it with Power Query to get the required output. The data was varying lengths. I found that if you pasted data into a Formatted Table that was a lot longer than the Formatted Table it can take a long time for Excel to process the paste (I am talking tens of thousands of extra rows).

To get around this delay I found that if you first expanded the Formatted Table using Insert Rows, the paste was virtually instantaneous. Inserting the extra rows was also very quick.

So if your Table has sufficient rows the paste is quick, if Excel needs to expand the table to fit the new data, it can be slow for large data sets. Make sure you insert sufficient blank rows to speed up the paste.

You can learn more about Formatted Tables at the two blog posts below. I have also covered the topic in numerous free webinars.

Format As Table in Excel Part 1

Excel Format as Table Part 2 [VIDEO]