There are a lot of fantastic new features in the latest CTP 3 release of PowerPivot, which you can download here. This is a huge change for PowerPivot and really shows how the product is maturing into become a tool that can solve a variety of problems that it could not handle in its initial release last year. You can read up on all the change that in the latest release of PowerPivot here, but I thought I would write a series of blogs detailing each individually.
In this post I’d like to introduce you to the new Measure Grid object. The Measure Grid provides you a new way for creating Calculated Measures for your PowerPivot reports. Previously, anytime you wanted to create a Calculated Measure you had to be in the PivotTable Field List inside of Excel. You would right-click on the table that you wanted the measure and write the DAX formula to create the calculation. While this method is still available (and even has a few improvements of its own) today I want to focus on the new method for creating Calculated Measures.
The Measure Grid is different in that you will find it back in the PowerPivot window instead of your Excel PivotTable Field List. To access it you simply click the Measure Grid icon in the Home ribbon.
This will open the grid where you can begin to write your measure formula. The DAX statement written here is exactly the same as it was done previously but you provide the measure name in front of the formula like so:
This will add the unformatted results of your formula into the Measure Grid within a single cell. To fix things like formatting you simply right click in the Measure Grid and apply the appropriate formatting after clicking Format. You can also delete the measure or provide a description of the measures intent for other users.
As you can see the Measure Grid can also create KPIs but I’ll save that for another blog because it will require a much lengthier description. While this new PowerPivot may seem like a minimal change I think it’s a great change because it allows the developer of the PowerPivot model to segment out his/her thinking. The PowerPivot window can now be used for all modeling and calculations and Excel can be just for building reports. Like I said this does not prevent you from still creating measures in Excel as well like you would have done previously in PowerPivot.