Formatting data is a crucial aspect of data visualization, and when it comes to financial reports or business analytics, presenting values in a currency format is essential for clarity and impact. Power BI, a powerful business intelligence tool, offers a range of formatting options to transform your measures into currency values, enabling you to communicate monetary information effectively.
In this blog post, you will find ways to format measures as currency in Power BI, exploring various techniques and best practices to ensure your dashboards and reports convey the financial insights with professionalism and precision.
Format Measure as Currency in the Report Page
A measure in Power BI is a custom calculation that you can create to summarize or analyze your data.
When you create a measure in Power BI such as the Sales Total Measure being created in the above image, you can format it as Currency in the Format pane. This will format the measure based on Power BI’s regional setting.
Alternatively, you can use the dropdown in dollar sign icon to select a currency that best describes your data.
When you add the measure to any visual, for instance, a card visual, the values will carry the formatted currency.
Format Measure as Currency in the Model Page
The Model page in Power BI is the page that provides a comprehensive view of the data model used to create reports. The Model page displays all the tables, columns, and relationships in the data model. This view can be especially helpful when your data model has complex relationships between many tables.
If you create a measure and didn’t add formatting instructions in the process, you can easily add formatting instructions to the measure in the model page.
To format measures in the model page, follow these steps:
- Identify the table containing the measure you want to format. It’s generally good practice to have all your measures on one table.
- Find the measure you want to format and click on it.
- After you click on the measure name, the Properties pane will appear on the right side of the Power BI window.
The Properties pane in the Model page of Power BI displays the properties of the selected object, such as the name of the selected column or measure, the table and folder where it belongs, and the formatting settings.
From the Properties pane, you can edit the properties of the selected measure.
- In the Format, select Currency. From the Currency format section, you can select the currency format that best suits you.
Format Column as Currency in the Data View
The Data view provides a way for you to inspect, explore, and understand data in Power BI. In Data view, you’re looking at your data after it has been loaded into the model.
In the Data view, you can format a column as currency so that when you use it in a visual, it will carry the formatting.
You can format a column in Data view in the Formatting pane.
The first thing you need to do is to select the column you want to format. You can do this by clicking on the column header or any cell in the column. This will open the Column tools tab where you can add formats to the selected column in the Formatting pane.
To format the column as currency, select Currency in the Format section, chose a currency using the dollar ($) symbol and set the number of decimal places.
When you use the column in a visual, the values will be formatted appropriately.
There are a few important points to consider regarding formatting columns as currency in Power BI.
Firstly, applying the “Fixed decimal number ($)” format to a column in Power Query will not automatically format it as currency. Despite its name, “Fixed decimal number ($)” is a data type in Power Query that limits the display to no more than four digits after the decimal point. It is primarily used to format floating-point numbers and does not inherently format the column as currency, despite featuring the dollar sign.
It’s worth noting that Power Query does not support currency data types. Consequently, you can only format columns and measures as currency from within the Power BI window.
Another important consideration is that measures in Power BI do not inherit the formatting of the column(s) from which they are derived.
To illustrate this, let’s take an example of a measure created using the Sales column, which is formatted as currency.
However, when the measure is used in a visual, it appears as a regular number without the currency formatting applied. Fortunately, you can easily remedy this by explicitly applying the currency format to the visual containing the measure.
This highlights the fact that measures, although dependent on columns, do not necessarily inherit all the properties of the underlying columns.
Understanding how to format measures and columns in Power Bi can greatly improve your data visualization. By formatting measures appropriately, you can communicate monetary information better, making it easier to get valuable insight from your data.