Must-have (awesome) tools if you are an advanced Power BI developer

I think we can all agree that Power BI is an awesome tool. However, even an awesome software can use some improvements and that is why Power BI team gives monthly updates with all these new cool features.  For me, Power BI has two set of users: Business Users and Developers. Business users are mainly focusing on creating simple data models and analyzing/visualizing data. Whereas developers (or advanced users) focus on creating complex models/reports, handling the development cycle of  a project and improving/analyzing performance etc. For those advance users, in-built capabilities of Power BI are not sufficient in certain scenarios. To fill that gap, 3rd party tools have come to play. In this post I am going to discuss mostly used free 3rd party tools which I believe must-have if you are an expert Power BI developer.

DAX Studio

My favorite!!  If you are writing complex DAX calculations in your Power BI model, this is a must-have tool. This allow you to write, debug and analyze your DAX queries.  With IntelliSense and DAX formatter, it allows you to write queries easily and cleanly. But the coolest thing about this tool is amount of information it provides about the query execution such as Query Planning and Server Time. This information allows you to analyze the performance of your queries and enhance accordingly.

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Download link: https://daxstudio.org/

Main Features/Functionalities:

  • Query execution plan
  • Server timing
  • DAX function panel
  • IntelliSense for DAX
  • DAX query formatting
  • Load Power BI Performance data

Tabular Editor

This a nice tool if you want to develop/modify a Power BI model as an advanced user. If you are coming from SQL server analysis server background, this tool will help you to bring that knowledge into Power BI development.  However, be careful when you modify a Power BI model using Tabular Editor as this is designed mainly for SSAS tabular model development and hence might not be compatible with Power BI.  It is recommended you save your model as a Power BI template and then open using Tabular editor to modify it.

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Download link:https://github.com/otykier/TabularEditor/releases/tag/2.9.8

Main Functionalities:

  • Advance Power BI model features as calculation groups and translations
  • Viewing and organizing tables/fields/measures and relationships easily

Power BI AML Toolkit

If you have used or heard about BISM normalizer, this is an extension of it. This tool allows you to compare two PIBX files and shows the difference between two models. Most importantly, it allows you to push changes from one dataset to another in a single click. If you have premium capacity, this can connect to Power BI service and show the difference between local version and deployed version. Not only that, again if you have premium capacity, this allow you to update the data model in the service, only the changes (meta data) without reloading data. How cool is it?

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Download link:http://alm-toolkit.com/

Main Functionalities:

  • Compare two Power BI datasets for changes
  • Update one Power BI dataset from another
  • Export differences between two datasets to excel

Power BI Helper

Power BI helper allows you to understand a Power BI model. It extracts the meta data of a Power BI model and visualize in a nicely organized way so that you can understand impact and usage easily. Apart from that it can be used to document your Power BI model. If you put a description to each object inside the model, this tool can extract all meta data and description and will generate a documentation about the model.

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Download link: https://powerbihelper.org/

Main Features:

  • Model Analyzer
  • Model Advisor
  • Modelling Advisor
  • Export meta data as a document

Other tools

Vertipaq Analyzer

More detail : https://www.sqlbi.com/tools/vertipaq-analyzer/

DAX Formatter

More detail :https://www.daxformatter.com/

Covering all the features of these awesome tools from a single blog post is not a feasible task. Therefore, I suggest you try it out by yourself and see how much it helps to your day-today development tasks. At the same time, I will update this post if I come across anything new. Thank you very much for reading and stay safe!. Cheers!!

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