Change formatting of each individual value dynamically with Calculation Groups

July 27, 2021
Denis Selimovic
Calculation Groups, Data modelcomment 3Created with Sketch Beta.2 comments

This post is also available in: German

In September last year I had already written an article on how to dynamically adjust the values of a measure, for example in millions, thousands or without scaling:

Dynamic scaling of a measure in Power BI with DAX

The approach at that time with the FORMAT function had a big disadvantage, the value is always converted to a text with FORMAT. This means that the measure can only be used in tables, because bar and line graphics cannot display texts.

With old approach representation only possible in tables

In the meantime, however, there is a much better way to display a measure with dynamic formatting using Calculation Groups. With Calculation Groups I can also create the formatting dynamically via DAX and this is – like every DAX function – calculated individually for each row.

I use the same scenario as in the original article. If I have not selected any customers, I get high numbers and therefore I want to get scaling:

Scaling when viewing the total values

However, if I filter on a specific customer, then the values should be displayed without scaling, because the scaling is too high in the normal case:

Filter Customer
No scaling when viewing the details

Implement formatting via Calculation Groups

In this approach we need Calculation Groups, means from Power BI we start our Tablular Editor via External Tools:

Launch Tabular Editor from Power BI
Launch Tabular Editor from Power BI

Then we create a new Calculation Group with a right click on Tables and give it the name “Dynamic Scaling”.

image 1
Creation of new Calculation Group in Tabular Editor

Then we create a new Calculation Item by right-clicking in the current Calculation Group and give it a name of our choice:

image 2
Creation of a new Calculation Item

In the Expression Editor, we now simply enter the SELECTEDMEASURE() function, since we just want to return the value:

Function in Expression Editor
Function in Expression Editor

Dynamic formatting via DAX in the Calculation Groups

So far, this has not been particularly spectacular. But now it gets exciting, because we can not only change the value itself via DAX, but also the formatting. To do this, we change the Expression property in the Expression Editor to “Format String Expression”.

image 4
Change to Format String Expression

In the empty field we can now insert a DAX formula that returns the format string that will be used for the respective field. In our case, this is more or less the measure from the original article, but we only return the string itself:

image 5
Format string, which dynamically scales the measure

The exact code is:

VAR vFormat =
    SWITCH (
        TRUE (),
        vMeasure / 1000000000 >= 1, "€ ##0,,,.00 Mrd",
        vMeasure / 1000000 >= 1, "€ ##0,,.00 Mil",
        vMeasure / 1000 >= 1, "€ ##0,.00 Tsd",
        "€ 0.00"

After that, we save the changes we made in the Tabular Editor and switch back to Power BI. Here we get the message that the Calculation Group needs to be refreshed, which we confirm by clicking on “Refresh now”:

image 6
Refresh of the data model in Power BI

After that, we just need to add the Calculation Group wherever we want the dynamic scaling. The formatting adjusts automatically from then on:

dynamic scaling with calculation groups
Dynamic Scaling with Calulation Groups in Power BI


The advantage of this approach is that we only change the formatting, but not the value itself. This means we can still use the measure for all visuals like bar charts and the like. Another advantage is that the Calculation Group works for all Measures. So I don’t have to implement this approach again for each measure, I can use this kind of formatting for each measure on the whole data model from now on.