WiseOwl Training - Established 1992 Wise Owl Training

Established May 1992
30 years in business
Wise Owl Training
30 years in business
See 520 reviews for our classroom and online training
This blog summarises the (many) new features in Analysis Services 2016 (Tabular)
Part five of a five-part series of blogs

Microsoft have made lots of improvements to SSAS (Tabular model) - we particularly like the new DAX editor! This blog lists all of the most interesting changes, divided into 4 separate sections.

  1. What's new in Analysis Services 2016 (tabular model)?
  2. Improvements to editing DAX in SSAS 2016 (Tabular Model)
  3. Changes to the DAX language in SSAS Tabular 2016
  4. Bi-directional / many-to-many relationships in Tabular 2016
  5. Other improvements to Analysis Services 2016 Tabular (this blog)

This is part of a wide-ranging blog explaining the new features in every part of SQL Server 2016.

Posted by Andy Brown on 08 July 2016

You need a minimum screen resolution of about 700 pixels width to see our blogs. This is because they contain diagrams and tables which would not be viewable easily on a mobile phone or small laptop. Please use a larger tablet, notebook or desktop computer, or change your screen resolution settings.

Other improvements to Analysis Services 2016 Tabular

There are many other changes to SSAS 2016 apart from those already listed!  This page summarises the main ones (or at least, the one this owl thinks are the most interesting and useful).

Display folders

These were unofficially present in previous versions of SSAS, but seem to be official now.  Here's the sort of effect that you can create:

Display folders

You can use display folders to group measures into nested groups.


Here's the display folder setting for the Average quantity measure shown above:

The display folder setting

This measure will be in a measure group called Sales, and within that in a subgroup called Quantity.



You can provide translations for names and descriptions of (for example) Excel pivot table columns.  I have to confess that this is not something I'd ever want to do, but here's a sample dialog box for anyone who might:

Translation settings

You can import JSON files containing translations.

Calculated tables

You can now create tables based on the result of a DAX expression.  To start the process off, choose this menu option:

New calculated table

Choose to create a new calculated table.


You can then enter a DAX formula, and Visual Studio will display its results.  Here's an example:

Calculated table example

The table shows total quantity sold by geographical quadrant.

This is what the created table looks like:

The final table

The final table!

This is a nice idea, neatly executed, and will be useful for things like role-playing dimensions and storing filtered datasets.

Parallel partition processing

In previous versions of SSAS Tabular, creating partitions was slightly pointless because they were processed in sequence:

Partition menu

Partitions created within the same table using this menu were processed in sequence.


This limitation has now been removed, and single-table partition processing is multi-threaded.

DirectQuery improvements

I could never see the point of DirectQuery, but many of the restrictions that using it entailed have now been lifted.  In particular:

  • You can now use DirectQuery on a model containing calculated columns; and
  • You are no longer restricted to using SQL Server as a data source.

For a full list of improvements see this Microsoft site.

PowerPivot mode

When you install Analysis Services, there is now an extra mode called PowerPivot Mode:

PowerPivot mode

The new installation mode!

In actual fact this isn't that new at all - it just installs an instance of SSAS Tabular solely to support PowerPivot for SharePoint.

Support for R

When you install SSAS Tabular, you see this dialog box:

Installation of R

The installation software asks you to confirm that you want to install R.

We look forward to teaching R (it's on the list)!

This blog has 0 threads Add post