Power BI – Model View in a Nutshell

Power BI has improved the Model view a lot in the last few monthly updates. In this article I will highlight the key benefits of some of the new features that make the Model view quite strong from modelling point of view and makes the life of a report developer easier in many ways.

Here is a screenshot of the Model view from Power BI Desktop:

We have the following sub-views here:

  • Model View with table structure showing any relationships if there are any.
  • Properties Pane
  • Fields Pane

Let us start with few updates that we see here.

1. When we hover over the table in the Model view, it gives us key insights around what’s the table name, when was it last updated and what’s the storage mode for this dataset: (knows as Card Tool-tips)

2. There are options on how you can modify these tool-tips for your table as shown below:

You can select what kind of information you want to display in these tool-tips.

“Pin Key Field on top of card” is quite useful here. This is a way allows you to select the main unique ID that serves as a primary key for the table.

3. The following icon shows us whether this table is hidden in the reporting view or not: (Currently, it’s not hidden)

If we hide the table, the icon changes to the following along with the same hidden icon against all the columns and metrics that reside in this table: 

4. The new icons have been introduced recently to identify columns, measures, calculated columns, numeric columns, categorised/text columns, etc. 

Icon update details can be found here: https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/power-bi-november-2020-feature-summary/#_Toc55467054

5. When there are errors in any of the calculations the following icon appears:

6. Collapse and Expand option works well to see the view of the table in different ways: 

When we Collapse the view, we end up seeing only the significant fields from the table.

7. Clicking on the 3 dots besides the table, gives us multiple options:

I find “Select Columns” and “Select Measures” very useful. When you opt for these options, you get all columns/measures highlighted in model view along with the highlight under the FIELDS pane. 

8. When we select a table in the model view, it shows us the key properties of the table: 

9. The parameter based tables are now identified by a new icon as shown below: 

10. The custom hierarchies in the tables have got interesting icon which really works well for the type of layers that an hierarchy holds: 

Apart from the different view options, Model view also gives some functional capabilities.

1. Suppose I want to delete multiple measures in one-step from my table. I can select multiple measures using CTRL key and delete them in a single click (Same is valid for columns as well):

2. I can change data-types, decimal places, currency formats of multiple measures/columns in a single click in a similar way as above.

Just select all the measures/columns to which a same data-type needs to be given, then under Properties –> Format given them a data-type of your choice:

3. We can even handle Data Category here in the model view for demographic, images, etc. type of data under Advanced option. 

4. Handling date formats is also available here along with Custom  date formats which I find quite helpful specially when I am working on the initial model creation steps in Power BI: 

These are the summary elements that I personally find very useful in Power BI’s Model View environment.

Hope this helps everyone out there in understanding the basic capabilities that Model View  provides in Power BI. Don’t forget to leave your comments.


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