Power BI Insights: Custom format strings; Writing DAX; New financial dataset

October 29 2020

Microsoft Power BI pros share their latest tips on custom format string, writing DAX and a newly released financial dataset.

Creating custom format strings

Microsoft MVP Matt Allington discussed how to apply custom format strings in Power BI Desktop, writing on the Excelerator BI blog. First announced back in February, the capability only recently became available. After users write a measure in Power BI Desktop they are redirected to the Measure Tools menu where the measures appear in the formula bar. A number of default formatting options are available in a dropdown, but by navigating to the More Number Formats option and the Custom setting, users will see a wide range of examples they could base a custom format string off of.

Allington noted that any font or coloring settings won't cut and paste from format strings. Users may need to "escape" some keyboard characters with a backslash if they want it to appear properly.

Writing DAX with Power BI Desktop

Gilbert Quevalliers, writing on Four Moo, explained how he recently tried to get pre-written DAX converted for particular project requirements. In Power BI Desktop, he selected the Performance Analyzer, clicked start recording, and adjusted the year-month slicer to get a DAX query. With DAX Studio open, he connected  PBIX file, pasted in the query and ran the results.

With the expected results loaded, Quevalliers modified variables for better results. He shared the end result of his efforts with DAX, noting that it took longer to write the blog than to make the changes.

Making sense of a new financial dataset in Power BI Desktop

David Eldersveld, writing on DataVeld, shared an insight from the October 2020 release of Power BI Desktop. Microsoft has added a sample dataset directly within the release, supplementing existing training datasets. According to Eldersveld, one of the key benefits is a financial dataset with 700 rows and 16 columns. It contains a variety of different categories such as segment, country, product and discount brand or date, month number, month name and year. He wrote:

The inclusion of the Financial dataset comes alongside a few other noticeable additions for newer users that are difficult to miss. Instead of an empty white canvas or blank Fields area, Power BI Desktop now includes helpful prompts to get started. These include canvas watermarks, in-visual hints, and more.

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