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TIP: Tools and Techniques for Providing PBIX Files with Your Forum Questions

Forum Members,

All of us who answer questions on the forum strive to provide prompt, clear, specific and accurate solutions. However , what frequently holds us back from doing so is insufficient information provided in the initial post. A perfect initial question includes all of the following:

  1. A clear explanation of the problem you are experiencing
  2. A mockup of the results you want to achieve
  3. Your current work-in-progress PBIX file
  4. Your underlying data file (to allow us to go into Power Query if necessary to transform your data and/or data model – often DAX questions really end up being data modeling solutions)

The one we typically have the most difficulty obtaining is the PBIX file, for a couple of reasons including:

  1. “My dataset is too large to send” - in this case, just try to reduce the data model down to only the the tables that are relevant for your question, and only a representative subset of records.

  2. “My dataset is confidential” – in this case you have two options, mask the actual data or create nonconfidential representative data.

The following video contains a number of simple techniques for masking names, dates and numbers in Power Query.

In terms of creating representative data, we have two tools that provide excellent options for you. The first is the EDNA Practice Dataset Tool, which creates a basic three year star schema dataset working backwards from today’s date, with a single Sales fact table, and a number of common dimension tables. The underlying dataset is also generated, and allows you to go into Power Query and transform the data and data model as needed to be representative of your situation.

The EDNA Practice Dataset external tool can be downloaded from this thread in the forum:

I also created the video below providing more detail on the installation and use of this tool. Note that to install this tool and most other PBI External Tools, you will need to have administrative rights to your machine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szBJSP5d2AA

Finally, if you need to create very specific data for it to be representative, we have recently provided another tool called Data Randomizer that allows you to create dummy data of very specific types and distributions.

It is available to download free in the Ultimate Power Bi Resource Pack on the portal.

Here’s a video on how use the Data Randomizer tool.

Given these options, you should be able to easily create a nonconfidential, representative dataset for nearly any question/scenario.

Doing so will help ensure you get the best possible support on the forum, and also will be greatly appreciated by those answering the questions and administering the forum.

Thanks very much, and feel free to give us a shout if you have any questions about the above.

– Brian

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