A summary of the new features in the October 2018 update of Power BI Desktop
Part two of an eight-part series of blogs

Not an earth-shaking update, but lots of nice new features nonetheless to make your life easier, including a better DAX editor, the ability to search for text when filtering a visual and a clever new connector which guesses what you want to import from a website.

  1. Changes introduced in the October 2018 Power BI update
  2. Changes to the DAX editor (this blog)
  3. Filters are now searchable
  4. Explaining why an increase or decrease has happened
  5. Controlling exporting of data
  6. The Web by Example connector
  7. Other changes in the October 2018 update
  8. Features awaiting in preview as of October 2018

For a cumulative list of all of the updates to Power BI Desktop in the last few year or two, see this blog, or have a look at the Power BI courses that we run.

Posted by Andy Brown on 19 October 2018

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Changes to the DAX editor

Ok, so you may never create calculated columns or measures in Power BI, but if you do this is the new feature this month which will change your life!

Line numbers

The most obvious change is that the DAX editor now automatically shows line numbers.

I hate to be curmudgeonly, but I'm really disappointed by this update.  I want to be able to change the font size in the editor (having reached a certain age ...), and above all I want to be able to press ENTER on its own to start a new line.  The wait goes on, alas!

Notwithstanding the hint above, there are some great new short-cut keys, so I'll devote most of this blog to listing them!  But first ...

Better indentation

Or perhaps not better, but clearer:

Indentation lines

The vertical lines make it much easier to see which bits of your formula belong together.

Jumping to the next bracket

If you're on a bracket, you can press Shift + Ctrl + \ to see where its twin is:

Going to other bracket

Pressing the keys above for this example would take you to the end of the AVERAGEX function.

One nice thing about this is that it works both ways (if you're on a closing bracket, you can go to the matching opening one).

Moving and copying lines

Suppose that you want to change the order of the arguments in a DAX formula like the one shown above.  You could select some lines:

Moving lines

Select the lines, then hold down the Alt key and press the up or down arrows to move them ... up or down.

 

Here's the result of pressing Alt and Up arrow a few times:

Lines moved

I love this feature, but am not sure I'll remember the short-cut key combination!

 

To copy the lines hold the Ctrl key down at the same time (although the effect is weird).

Inserting lines

You can press the following key combinations to insert a line:

To do this Press this
Add a line break at the cursor Alt + Enter or Shift + Enter (you've actually been able to do this for some time).
Add a line below the current one Ctrl + Enter
Add a line above the current one Shift + Ctrl + Enter

Using the ALT key to make multiple changes 

If you hold down the Alt key and click, you get a new cursor:

DAX with multiple cursors

A portion of DAX with no less than 8 cursors displayed!

So what, you might reasonably think!  Well, suppose you want to change the table/field reference 'tblPurchase'[PurchaseDate] in each of the 3 lines above.  You could do this as follows.  First hold down the Alt key and click to put a cursor at the start of each line:

Three cursors

This nifty idea might now be beginning to make sense ... !

 

You can now use standard cursor movement keys to select the text:

Multiple selection

I've selected the same text on 3 lines by holding down the Ctrl key and pressing the right arrow.

 

Any text that you type in will replace the selected text:

Starting to replace text

Here I'm starting to choose a different table.

 

As with so many changes, this provides a feature which has been available for ages already in Visual Studio and SQL Server Management Studio.

Selecting multiple words 

Suppose you have a word selected:

Keyword selected

Here I've selected the word tblPurchase.

 

If you press Shift + Ctrl + L Power BI will select every occurrence of this word:

Same word selected

Whether this would ever be useful, I'm not sure!

 

Ctrl + F2 seems to do exactly the same thing, although Microsoft say that the first keystroke selects all occurrence of the current selection, and the second all occurrences of the current word.

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