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Useful short-cut keys for use in the DAX formula editor
DAX contains a number of incredibly useful hidden short-cut keys, allowing you to move lines, comment code and much more!

Posted by Andy Brown on 30 June 2021

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Useful short-cut keys for use in the DAX formula editor

Who knew DAX had so many useful undocumented short-cut keys?  Not us - thanks to XXL BI for bringing these to our attention. 

There's a longer list on their blog; this page just shows the ones which we think the average DAX programmer will find useful.

Commenting and uncommenting lines

This is something you can do in DAX Studio, but I didn't realise there was a short-cut key to do it in Power BI:

Commenting out code

Suppose that you want to comment out these two variables.

 

The magic short-cut key to press is Ctrl + / (this alternately comments out the code, then uncomments it):

Commented code

The result of pressing the above key combination once for our example.

 

Replacing multiple instances of the same word

This is so useful!  Suppose that you want to change the name of the TotalSales variable in the code fragment below to (say) AllSales:

Selecting multiple words

Start by clicking on any instance of the word you want to replace.

 

Having clicked in the word you want to replace, press one of the following key combinations:

Key What it does
Ctrl + D Adds each subsequent word into the current selection.
Shift + Ctrl + L Selects all occurrences of the word in the current formula.

Here's what pressing Ctrl + D twice in arow would give for the above formula, after initially clicking on the word TotalSales:

Selecting all the words

You can now type in your new variable name, and it will overwrite each of the selected words!

 

 Adding in text for multiple lines

In Visual Studio and SQL Server Management Studio you can use the Alt key to select multiple insertion points, but I never knew you could so something similar in DAX! 

Suppose that you want to change the variable names and formulae in the example below:

Original code

We want each variable to hold exactly half of the number of rows in each table.

 

You want your final code to look like this:

The final code

For the final code, we've prefixed each variable name by Half and added / 2 to the end of each formula.

 

To do this, position the cursor at the start of the first word:

Cursor insertion point

Click at the first insertion point.

 

Now press Ctrl + Alt + Down arrow to extend this selection point downwards:

Extended selection point

Anything you type in will be added to each line at the selection point.

 

You could then repeat the trick to add the / 2 to the end of each line.

Bringing back Intellisense

Although this may not be that useful for users of DAX, for trainers it'll be invaluable.  You often have to press the Esc key when training to get rid of Intellisense bubbles like the one shown below, because they tend to hide everything else in your formula:

Intellisense bubble

Power BI is suggesting ways to complete the function.

To get it back again, you can just press Alt + I:

Restoring intellisense

Pressing this key combination will bring the Intellisense prompt back up again.

 

Moving lines up and down

Suppose that you for the example below you want to move the second variable declaration before the first one:

Moving a line

Start by clicking within the line you want to move.

 

The keystroke to move this line up (or down) is simple!

Direction Key combination
Up Alt + Up arrow
Down Alt + Down arrow

Here's what you'll get if you press Alt + the up arrow 6 times for the above example:

Moving a line up

The line has been moved up 6 times.

 

You can hold down the Shift key (unusually; it's usually the Ctrl key) at the same time to copy a line up or down instead of moving it, but this is probably less useful!

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