How To Use The Virtual Grouping Feature in Power BI

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Did you know there is a way to create groups virtually in Power BI? I was so happy when I discovered this, as it allows you to quickly and effectively create another grouping dimension in your datasets or data tables. The Power BI team has made it so easy to implement and edit as well.

You may have already run into a problem before where you wanted to group your customer set into segments, or your store network into regional groups. You can already do this inside a calculated column, as you may know. However, sometimes you have many different segments – you might have 15-20, for example. In a calculated column, that’s a lot of nested IF statements…

What you actually have is the opportunity to set up a group virtually using a simple point and click.

As a side note, while I do say “virtual”, the column is actually physically inserted into your table once you’ve set it up, but I think that “virtual” is a good way to think about it as you don’t have to write any logic inside a formula to create it.

I recommend using this technique inside your lookups table. When combining these groups with your data models, you can very quickly create a range of filters across your calculations that ordinarily would not have existed in your raw table at source. This is one of the quickest ways to add additional insight into your data without having to write any DAX formula.

Once you try this feature out you’ll see that there are some limitations. If you wanted to create a group based on a calculation, then this feature doesn’t help too much, and you’ve got to learn DAX. I go into many grouping techniques, like dynamic and static groups, in my online course, Solving Analytical Scenarios w/DAX in Power BI. Definitely check it out to learn more about the opportunities there.

All the best implementing this great feature in your models.

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