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

By far the biggest new feature in the March 2018 update of Power BI Desktop is bookmarks (so big, in fact, that it gets a summary treatment in this blog and a separate, longer blog all to itself).

  1. Power BI Desktop - March 2018 Update - New Features
  2. Bookmarks
  3. Formatting columns of numbers or dates in a table or matrix (this blog)
  4. Suppressing display headers for visuals in published reports
  5. Features still in preview as of March 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 20 March 2018

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Formatting columns of numbers or dates in a table or matrix

When teaching Power BI Desktop, it has baffled me that it's not been possible to format a row or column of numbers without going back to the underlying data tables:

Formatting numbers

I want my total sales to have a thousands separator. How hard can this be to implement?

 

So now you can format numbers - sort of.  Select the table above and you'll see this category in the formatting toolbar:

Formatting change

You can choose a column from the drop list, and choose a display unit and the number of decimal places.

However, this still isn't what I want to do!

Effect of formatting

Better - but still nowhere near powerful enough, in my opinion.

 

So for now, I'd still resort to selecting and then formatting the number column in the underlying table, as shown below:

Formatting numbers properly

If you go back to Data view you have much more control over how the numbers look.

Like I said, it baffles me how Microsoft can introduce complicated new features like bookmarks, but not introduce proper Excel-style number formatting.  The most disappointing new feature for some time ...

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