Power BI Quick Measures are pre-made templates for creating DAX Measures that enable Power BI developers to write complex formulas in a matter of seconds. They’re extremely easy to use, and great for both beginners new to creating DAX measures and seasoned Power BI developers looking to save some time when creating dashboards.
Power BI includes a number of quick measure templates for some of the most common calculations, such as running totals, rolling averages, and month over month changes.
We’ll highlight how to create Quick Measures and explore the future of Quick Measures in the era of AI.
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What are Power BI Quick Measures?
Quick Measures in Power BI are pre-built DAX (Data Analysis Expressions) formula templates that perform common calculations effortlessly. Users drag and drop fields from the data panel into a template, similar to setting up a visual, and Power BI automatically generates the formula for a new measure.
After creating a Quick Measure, it is identical to any other measure that you would create by typing in formulas manually. This means that you can use the formula that a Quick Measure produces, or you can use it as a starting point to modify it further, or copy and paste it for use in other measures.
Some of the benefits of quick measures include:
- Ease of Use – drag and drop templates are easier than learning the required DAX formulas.
- Accuracy – Pre-defined formulas reduce the potential for error in writing long formulas.
- Speed – It is quicker to drag and drop compared to writing long complicated formulas by hand.
- Error Handling – Some of the Quick Measure formulas include built in error handling, such as when a calculation fails due to blank or null values.
Now that we know what they are, and the benefits let’s look at how to use them.
The Difference Between Power BI Measures and Quick Measures
Power BI Measures and Quick Measures are two different methods to create DAX formulas. When creating a New Measure, users manually type DAX into a formula editor. Quick Measures are templates that users drag and drop fields into that automatically generate DAX formulas.
The code created is the same or similar to what a developer would manually create, it’s just a faster no code method of creating formulas to complete common calculations.
How to Create Power BI Quick Measures
To create a Quick Measure in Power BI, navigate to the Home section of the Power BI Ribbon in the Report View and click on the Quick Measure button. This launches the Quick Measure builder as a panel on the right side of the screen. Use the drop down to select the measure type and drag and drop the required fields to populate.
Here it is in more detail.
First, launch the Quick Measure Builder by pressing the Quick Measure button on the Power BI Home Ribbon. It’s next to the regular Measure button.
Select a Calculation from the drop-down menu in the Calculations section to view a formula template related to setting up that specific calculation.
In the example below, we chose to create a Year-to-date total. The Quick measure panel provides a Base Value and a Date box that you can drag and drop fields into.
After setting up the fields, click the Add button at the bottom, and a new DAX measure will be generated in the formula bar to the top left.
Press the check mark to the left of the formula bar to accept the formula and a New Measure will be created.
Note: You can either rename the measure prior to clicking the accept check mark, or you can accept it as-is, and double click the measure name in the data panel to rename it. After the formula is created, you can edit it like you would with any other DAX measure.
Tip: You can hover your mouse over the “i with a circle around it” to the right of a field description to get more information on what type of field Power BI wants you to enter. There are some specific requirements for date fields and date hierarchies.
The Future of Quick Measures with Power BI Copilot
As the world embraces the use of AI, and large language models continue to improve their skills with writing formulas and computer code there will likely be less and less reasons to use Quick Measures in the future. Microsoft recognizes this and has been integrating an AI formula builder directly into Power BI.
If you launch the Quick Measures panel, you’ll notice that there is a section to the right of Calculations called, “Suggestions with Copilot”
This section allows you to describe a measure that you want, and Power BI will automatically try to determine which fields should be used and suggest DAX code and a preview of a calculations like in the example below.
In our testing, suggestions with Copilot did a pretty good job at creating formulas with simple data models that didn’t contain a lot of different fields and for relatively straight forward calculations. After typing in our request it took a few moments for an answer to come back.
We still prefer using tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT or Anthropic Claude as a more full featured language model to explain the formulas being generated, why they work, and how to use them but Suggestions with Copilot hold a lot of promise and will likely be the future of business intelligence.
If you don’t see the option available when you click on Suggestions with Copilot, check out our guide on How to Enable and Use Power BI Copilot.
Drawbacks of Power BI Quick Measures
If you’re new to Power BI, you should avoid the over-reliance on Quick Measures and features like Copilot. While they’re super-fast and convenient, there are also a number of times that we’ve used them in reports and the formula doesn’t quite work right or they break when a dataset changes.
Having an intermediate understanding of DAX and some of the most common formula syntax will help you in the long run. Quick Measures are in many cases a starting point and additional DAX knowledge is needed to customize calculations and fix errors when they appear.
Power BI Quick Measures offer a streamlined, efficient approach to creating DAX formulas. For people new to Power BI they’re a life saver, and for seasoned developers they can save a lot of time. Measures and Quick Measures are both ways to create formulas in Power BI. The normal method is manual and requires typing out the formula, while Quick Measure provide a template that accepts dragging and dropping fields to insert them into pre-defined formulas that cover many of the most common Power BI DAX use cases.