Friday, December 31, 2021

Closing Out On 2021

Well, this has certainly been an interesting year, to say the least.. 
I thought I'd write up my findings of 2021, and have a little look into the future as well.
And of course also for you all to keep me accountable for the goals I set in this post.


Let's start with the best topic.. 😁 I managed to write a whopping 6 (six!) blog posts this year, of which 4 are from this month.. That is actually the lowest for one year since I've started blogging in 2011.
My goal for next year is definitely to blog more, and more consistent! I think I already made a great start this month.


While I had some great speaking engagements online in 2021, with 7 presentations in total the number is not that high. But the winner is definitely Power BI Next Step in Copenhagen, the first (and for me only) in-person event in 2021! It was great to be back and physically meet and see friends again. Also, the road trip with Marc (@MarcLelijveld | b) & his girlfriend was quite fun.
I also have some plans for new presentations, and even have an in-person (new) presentation planned at DataGrillen!


This was certainly the highlight of 2020 and 2021, because on July 1st 2021, I received the great e-mail that I was (re-)awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional in the Data Platform category for the 2nd consecutive year.
I've already learned so much from all the conversations and e-mails with other MVP's. And of course the direct links to the (Power BI) product teams are amazing!
Thanks again to Jan Mulkens, Marc Lelijveld and Rishi Sapra for supporting me on this track.


While I do read a lot of blog posts to keep up with all the news in the Power BI and Power Platform world, I think I didn't actually finish any books this year. I do have 3 books still in progress at the moment which I started recently. I want to read a bit more and also more regularly next year.
I also managed to do 2 exams in the first week of 2021: I passed both DA-100 and PL-900 in one day! 🥳


Just over 2 years ago I started as a member of the local athletics club, with training on a running track once a week. That helped me a lot in getting more regular in running. In 2020 I ran 1250 km, which was way more than I ever did. However, my goal for 2021 is set to 1800 km! And I managed to beat that 1800th km on this final day of the year! 🎉

I also wanted to get a half marathon under 90 minutes, but that didn't go as planned. I got stuck at just over 92 minutes. That's a nice goal to finish next year!

The motivation of my fellow runners on Twitter (#runhappy) helped me a lot, so THANK you!

So, What's Next?

2022 will also bring about another big change. As you already may have noticed, next month will be my last month at Van Lanschot Kempen.
On February 1st I will join Powerdobs as their Unit Lead Power BI! It's a small consultancy company, located in Den Bosch, focused on the (Azure) Data Platform and Power BI.
So out of my comfort zone, back into consultancy. More focus on Power BI, but also the connecting parts on the Azure data platform, so I wouldn't be surprised if there are going to be some posts and/or certifications around that.

I wish everyone the best, a happy new year, and good health for you and your loved ones in 2022!


Friday, December 24, 2021

Power Query Trick: Remove (Only) Leading/Trailing Zeroes From Text

Just before the holidays start, I'd like to share this little trick I came across in Power Query.

I recently had the need to remove zeroes (but it can be any character) from the beginning of a column.
Turns out there's a perfect function for that :-)

The documentation isn't totally clear about this, but for the 2nd parameter (trim) you can add a character you want to have trimmed. The description only mentions whitespace, but you can enter any character in that parameter.

On a side note, I got this nice documentation page inside Power Query by using the #shared function, which I blogged about here.


And in case you might need it, there's also a Text.Trim and Text.TrimEnd function:

Now onto an example, I created a text column with some values via Enter Data:

I have some combinations of text, numbers, leading and/or trailing zeroes and spaces.
For my 1st example I used Text.TrimStart to remove (only) leading zeroes.
I added a custom column and used the UI to add it like this:

This gives me this nice result:

Only zeroes at the start are trimmed, no spaces or zeroes at other places. Great, exactly what I needed!

I also had a look at the other functions and their workings I mentioned:

In case you want to test it yourself, I put the M code I used in my GitHub.


I hope you found this one useful, let me know if you already use this or are going to in the future!

This (hopefully) might not be my last post of the year 😀, but just to be sure:

Merry Christmas 🎄🎅, a great new year 🎆 and happy holidays to you all!

Friday, December 3, 2021

My Favorite Power BI Desktop November Updates

It's already 2 weeks ago that it came out, but I'd like to highlight a few of my top additions to Power BI Desktop in November, being:

  • The New Format Pane
  • Page and Bookmark Navigators
  • The Scorecard Visual
  • The new Google Sheets Connector

New Format Pane

The first one being the introduction of the New Format Pane.
Because it is still in preview, you have to explicitly enable this feature in the options: File > Options and settings > Options > Preview Features > New format pane.
I especially like the merged font settings, but there's a ton of new features there, so be sure to check out the blog post (Introduction of the New Format Pane (Preview)) for all the updates. Also be aware there's a few known issues mentioned at the bottom of that blog post.

Page and Bookmark Navigators

O. My. God. Page and Bookmark navigators is going to save everyone so, much, time!
For example, creating page navigation is now just a click (ok, actually 3 clicks) away. This not only creates a bookmark and button for every page, it also keeps them in sync, it matches the order of your pages, deleting a page will update the bookmarks.
Next to that, there's also a ton of formatting and padding options. Just awesome!
The only thing I'd love to see added, is the fact that the page navigator would replicate to all your pages and also keeping it in sync after that. Alright, I guess I'll head over to 😀

Scorecard Visual

This month's update also brings the new Scorecard visual in Power BI Desktop.
This will let you create a Scorecard and goals right inside Desktop.

Picture taken from the Power BI blog post

Just be aware that as of now, the visual might not behave as expected in Power BI Desktop yet. Creating a scorecard from Desktop isn't working yet, but the Power BI team is working on a fix (to the service) and it should be deployed very soon.
This is of course tied to all the updates in Power BI Goals this month, which was also covered more extensively in this blog post last month: More easily integrate goals into all your business processes.
Updates include (a.o.):
  • Goal level permissions
  • Power Automate integration
  • Moving goals in your scorecard (drag & drop)
  • Adjusting columns in the scorecard view

New Connector: Google Sheets

Starting this month you can now easily connect to a Google Sheet with this new connector. You only need the Google sheet URL, authenticate through OAuth and you're done! And the Power BI team listened to you, because it was the most upvoted connector-related idea on the ideas site.

Wrap Up

And if you really, like really, want to keep those pie charts in your reports, you might wanna check out the update to the Pie and donut chart rotation. 😆 If you're not sure why I'm saying this, go read this paper by Stepen Few: Save the pies for dessert

That's all for now. Go download the November update of Power BI Desktop and play with all the good stuff! Let me know what you think are the best added features.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Finding (and Keeping) Motivation Is Hard - You Are Not Alone

Hello, and welcome to my new blog.
All jokes aside, it's really been a while since I last wrote published a blog post..
I just didn't have the power or motivation to finish any post.
I'm even wondering if I do have it now.
I did start quite a few posts, but they very soon became a bit too long, or I lost attention.
And after one or 2 writing sessions I just stopped and moved on, to the next post I wouldn't finish.
That's been going off and on for about a year I guess.
I wrote published 2 posts in 2021 so far, that says it all.

After finishing the actual Power BI post and this prelude, I decided to split them up into 2 separate posts.
This post has become more of a motivation/#pbifamily post, the second part is about the November 2021 Power BI Desktop update.
This does mean you'll have to wait a bit longer for an in-depth Power BI post. But that actually gives me the chance to create another post in a very short time frame. 😀

But... We're all in this together

Going to Power BI Next Step in September, and all the fun and learnings I had, really did get my attention and created some sparks for new energy on writing and speaking, even on new topics. But as you have guessed, that also didn't quite come through all the way.

I guess doing a major home improvement project also doesn't help, right?
Eventually, it turned out really great, I'm writing this blog post out of my new office! The office is not quite finished all the way yet, and there's still a lot of work to do before everything is finished, but a major step up already!


I also get a lot of help from and inspiration for running in these times, from all my buddies at #runhappy:

Thank you for that, Erin, Bradley, Thomas, Wolfgang, Ben, Jim, Michael, Kasper, Craig, Magnus, Leslie, Lynn, Koen, Monica, Taiob, Mohammad, and others that occasionally join!

It's important to get new energy, in whatever way you do that. I love to go running 150k+ per month and have regular stand-up or lunch walks, but do whatever suits you. Just make sure you go away from your screens once in a while every day. Go play with your kids/dog/cat/spouse for a few minutes 😉

You are not alone

Luckily I know I'm not alone in this, .
This tweet from yesterday actually sparked my interest in writing a new blog post:

That's why I do think that December can be a turnaround. Let's at least try, right? 😃

The End

I wrote this post almost in one go (alright, I was distracted a few times when searching for the tweets I wanted to embed 😀).
It's nowhere close to anything I've ever posted.
Way out of my comfort zone.
But if it helps only one person, I'm happy.
And if not, it actually helped me already.

If you need motivation/help/anything: reach out.
Leave a comment here, on Twitter, on LinkedIn, in real life, whatever suits you.

Have a great day! 💛

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