M language in Power Query stands for Mash-up, reflecting its core function of connecting and combining data from diverse sources. M code is the underlying language driving Power Query’s data transformations.
When you carry out data transformations in the Power Query’s UI, it generates a corresponding M code in the background. M is a functional programming language primarily composed of functions used to evaluate and produce results.
It boasts an extensive library of predefined functions which gives you the flexibility to create your own custom functions. This makes it a versatile tool for data integration and manipulation.
When using Power Query for data transformation, understanding and viewing M code is crucial, especially if you’re familiar with its syntax. M code offers the same capabilities as the UI but with more flexibility and options for fine-tuning data transformations.
In essence, M code provides an efficient means to achieve any transformation performed through the UI, making it an essential skill for optimizing and customizing data processing tasks. In this article, you will learn the various ways you can view M language syntax in Power Query.
View M Code from the Formula Bar
The Formula Bar in Power Query is a critical component of the Power Query Editor interface. It provides a text-based platform for creating, editing, and viewing M code. It features syntax highlighting, IntelliSense, and a function library, making it efficient for constructing and modifying M code.
To view the M code in the formula bar, first go to the APPLIED STEPS tab and click on a step.
Click on the dropdown arrow to reveal the M code that’s used to return the values in the step.
The APPLIED STEPS tab records every transformation carried out on the data. And it’s very dynamic. You can rename, delete, and move up and down. So, if you want to see the M code for every step, you just click on the step and go to the formula bar.
View M Code Using the Menu Ribbons
The menu ribbons in Power Query offers convenient functionalities for effortless data transformation. It also provides options to effortlessly view the M code.
View M Code from the View Ribbon
You can view M code using the Advanced Editor button in the View tab.
View M Code from the Home Ribbon
Also, the Home menu ribbon has an Advanced Editor button you can use to access the Advanced Editor window.
The Advanced Editor window in Power Query is a robust feature that provides you with direct access to M code. It offers full control over the code, allowing users to create, edit, and delete code segments for custom data transformation logic.
Within the Advanced Editor window, you are presented with a comprehensive view of all the M code syntax that drives all the transformations carried out on the selected data/query. This is unlike the formula bar where you only see the M code for a specific transformation step.
View M Code from the Queries Pane
The Queries pane in Power Query is a crucial interface element that displays and organizes all queries in a session. It allows you to efficiently manage queries by renaming, grouping, and organizing them into folders.
You can also access query details and easily navigate between queries, ensuring a structured and organized data transformation workflow.
You can view the M code for a specific query by right-clicking on the query of interest and selecting Advanced Editor.
View M Code from Copy and Paste
Another way you can view M code from the Queries pane is to copy a query.
Then paste it into a text editor, preferably your Notepad. The M code syntax for the selected query will display just as it will be in the Advance Editor window.
In your data transformation journey with Power Query, understanding M code is pivotal. In understanding M code, one of the first steps involves knowing where you can find the M code syntax.
For this, there are several methods at your disposal, from the user-friendly Formula Bar to the advanced capabilities of the Advanced Editor and the organizational prowess of the Queries pane.
The true benefit lies in your ability to wield M code, offering precise control and flexibility unmatched by the graphical interface alone.
By embracing M code, you empower yourself to tailor data transformations, automate tasks, and optimize processes, thus enhancing your data analysis endeavors not only within Power BI but also in Excel.