UPDATE: As of the April 2017 release of Power BI Desktop, there is a new feature called Quick Measures. These new Quick Measures represent a significant enhancement to Quick Calc. Create common DAX measures without knowing DAX!
In the Power BI Desktop update last May, Microsoft released “Quick Calc”. As a convenient feature that eliminates the need to write a custom DAX expression for a simple percent of total calculation, it was lauded at the time of release.
Even for SSAS tabular developers who have been writing DAX % of total calculations for years, Quick Calc is promising because it saves time and eliminates unnecessary measures. For anyone new to Power BI, it eases a training burden and helps answer the question, “Why would I need to write DAX for something this simple?”.
Back in May, dreams were born for additional DAX-free calculations. In that idealistic world, we would not need to write custom measures for things like running totals, period over period change, and more. Everything you had in Excel pivot tables would not be far behind % of Grand Total in Power BI:
It’s now been a few — wait…sorry, I’m not in the habit of doing basic calculations without DAX first.
Ok, thanks for your patience. It’s now been five months with no changes in Quick Calc functionality in Power BI Desktop, and it has yet to reach the online Power BI Service (without first being published from Desktop). Does Quick Calc have a future with the addition of more convenient built-in calculations? I hope so.
DAX is suitable for more complicated calculations, but if you are interested in expanding Quick Calc, here are some ideas that you can vote on from the Ideas forum:
- Expand the Quick Calc Functionality
- Percent Change, Percent Difference in Quick Calc
- Quick Calc in Power BI Service