New features in the February 2018 update of Power BI Desktop
Part three of a nine-part series of blogs

You can now search for formatting properties, have slicers which work across pages and create quick measures, among other new features.

  1. Power BI Desktop - February 2018 update new features
  2. Search for a formatting property
  3. Quick Measures (this blog)
  4. Synchronising slicers across report pages
  5. Multi-select data points in a chart
  6. Overflow data labels
  7. Marking date tables as such
  8. Extra DAX functions
  9. Features still in preview as of February 2018

For a cumulative list of all of the updates to Power BI Desktop in the last few year or two, see this blog.  Our two-day Power BI Desktop course always uses the latest version of the software.

Posted by Andy Brown on 15 February 2018

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Quick Measures

The shy child that is Quick Measures has finally plucked up the confidence to emerge into society from preview!  The idea is that you don't need now to create custom measures for the most common calculations that you want to perform.

Using basic quick measures

For example, suppose you have these figures in a matrix:

Sales by region and year

Your sales in East Anglia (for overseas readers, this is a flat area in the East of England) are looking disappointing, but what percentage are they of total sales for each year?


You can see the answer to this by clicking on this drop arrow:

Changing aggregation

You can change the aggregation settings for the figure you're reporting on (in this case, the quantity of goods sold).


This allows you to choose to display sales as a percentage of the column total:

Percentage of column total

This basic measure has - I think - been available for some time.

This allows you to show that sales in East Anglia were every bit as bad as you had feared:

Percent of sales in report

Surely East Anglia has more than 4.47% of the population of the UK? Perhaps not ...

Advanced quick measures

Where things get interesting is if you choose to display a new quick measure:

New quick measure

Using the same drop arrow, you can choose to create and display a new quick measure, although for the example below I'll get to this point in a slightly different way.


For our example above, you might want to show sales in East Anglia (and other regions, for that matter) as a percentage of sales in London, the all-consuming capital of the UK:

Sales relative to London

Reassuringly, sales in London are exactly 100% of sales in London. The North-West and South-East regions actually have sales bigger than those in London.


Below is the outline for one way to show this matrix, using quick measures.

Power BI Desktop creates new measures using the DAX language.  The jury is still out on whether the introduction of quick measures means that most people can avoid learning DAX.

First, right-click on the table containing the sales quantity, and choose to create a quick measure:

New quick measure menu

Choose to create a new quick measure.


We'll create a measure to show total sales for the London region:

Choose filtered value

Choose Filtered value to show sales for a specific region.

You can now drag fields onto the quick measure dialog box to create your measure:

Quick measure box

Here we're choosing to show the total quantity of sales where the region name equals London.


When you click on your measure in the field well ...

London sales measure

Click on the measure you've just created ...


... you'll see the corresponding DAX formula:

DAX formula

... to see the DAX formula which created it.


To complete the example, what you now need to do is to create another measure manually:

Percent London sales

This is the measure which you can then display in your matrix.


The problem is that even though adding a quick measure cleverly creates a DAX formula on your behalf, you still need to understand the underlying process to be able to use the quick measure effectively.

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