Quick Calcs in the Power BI May Update

The Power BI Desktop May Update introduced Quick Calcs. In fact, there is currently only one calculation currently, percentage of grand total. However, it shows the direction of travel – I assume that there will be other calculations added in future months; e.g. percentage of parent and time related calculations; moving average, year-to-date and so on.  It removes a stumbling block for many (perhaps most) users so that they can access typical common calculations; if you know DAX then you can write a concise DAX function for any of these calculations, but many users will not want to learn DAX.  Quick Calcs are useful with the new tooltips feature, also introduced in the May update

You can create a quick calc from a context menu on a measure placed in the Values or new Tooltips area.

Quick Calc Context Menu

The ‘Show value As’ drop down in the Quick Calc dialog provides only one option ‘Percent Of Grand Total’

Quick Calc Dialog

The snapshot below shows the tooltips area with two measures; the ‘% GT PL’ generated by the quick tooltip and a manually created DAX measure for comparison ‘% GT PL DAX’ that generates the same result. This has the formula

% GT PL DAX = [PL]/ CALCULATE( [PL],  ALL(FirmHierarchy) )

Quick Calc InTooltips

And the tooltip shows the PL measure (as usual, since in the values area) but now also the two measures in the tooltip area.

Tooltip Detail

This is the first appearance of Quick Calcs and there are of course some improvements that suggest themselves. It would be helpful to be able to –

  • format the result, just like you can a normal DAX measure
  • rename the result, again just like you can a normal DAX measure.  The name is set to ‘% GT <original measure>’  and is sensible but of course may not fit in with the pattern that you use to name measures
  • put the calculation into the fields list so it can reuse it in other visuals
  • see the DAX underlying the quick calc; this would be a good way of learning some practical DAX