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A summary of the new features introduced in the September 2018 Power BI update
Part six of an eight-part series of blogs

The September update of Power BI finally breathes life into report page tooltips, which have been in limbo for a while. You can also copy data from Power BI reports by right-clicking, use some keyboard short-cuts for visual design, apply built-in themes, set fixed-width padding by column example and show categories on the X axis of scatter charts.

  1. Changes introduced in the September 2018 Power BI update
  2. Report page tooltips
  3. Copying values and records
  4. Keyboard short-cuts in Power BI Desktop
  5. Built-in themes
  6. Column From Examples now allows for text padding (this blog)
  7. Improvements to dot (scatter) charts
  8. Features awaiting in preview as of September 2018

For a cumulative list of all of the updates to Power BI Desktop since November 2016 see this blog, or have a look at the Power BI courses that we run.

Posted by Andy Brown on 21 September 2018

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Column From Examples now allows for text padding

I love the Column From Examples feature, and Microsoft clearly do too, as it gets frequent improvements over the months and years.  The latest allows you to do pad numbers so that they are all the same length.

For example suppose you want to pad month numbers so each is two characters long.  You could start by invoking Column From Examples:

Padding month number

First select the month number column and choose the ribbon option shown.

Type in 01 for the first row:

Example text

This is the example we're giving to Power BI - but is it enough?


Power BI guesses what you want to do:

Guessed formula

Power BI fills every row with text based on your suggestion.


However, for this particular example Power BI hasn't actually created the M formula I needed:

M formula

The formula will put a 0 in front of every month number.

It turns out that I need to arrange things so that I can give two examples:

Giving examples

I need to give one example of each type.


Things are now looking better!

PadStart function

This column now uses the PadStart function in M to pad the month number to two figures.

Watch out for Intellisense in M, currently lurking in preview!

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