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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
  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?


Thsi feature has been superseded by other changes to formatting numbers.  If you want to learn the latest version of Power BI, book onto one of our online or classroom Power BI courses.

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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