Power BI Sidetools, a free external tool

Power BI Sidetools is a free Power BI external tool intended to increase productivity during reports development in Power BI desktop.

Transfer DAX and M formulas to files

Power BI Toolbox

With just one click, you can transfer M and DAX formulas in a folder named like your report. The very first use case will be probably to save your different versions in backups. Right click on your report name and select “Send to/Compressed folder”.

View your DAX and M formulas in Visual Studio Code

Power BI Toolbox

With just one click, you open Visual Studio code to view your DAX and M formulas.

Visual Studio Code is a lightweight but very powerful free source code editor created by Microsoft. Its functionalities are really amazing :

  • Powerful editing capabilities including advanced search and replace across multiple files, compare files, …
  • Flexibility splitting the editor to display multiple files simultaneously
  • Themes
  • Snippets (reuseable pieces of code)
  • Plugins
    • syntax highlighting and/or intellisense (DAX, M , R, Python, SQL, Json … )
    • GIT functionalities
    • Collaboration
  • And much more …

Discover VSCode with videos : https://code.visualstudio.com/docs/getstarted/introvideos#VSCode


  • Extract files from the downloaded ZIP file and launch Setup.exe. As the software is not signed, you will get a warning window. So click on the link and click on “Execute”
  • Download Visual Studio Code from Microsoft website : https://code.visualstudio.com/download
  • Install plugins in Visual Studio Code :
    • Power Query / M language or Power Query M language
    • DAX for Power BI

Some functionalities of Power BI Sidetools depend on XMLA end point access. As it is really a preview feature in Power BI desktop, at the moment, I recommend you use it on copies of your reports.

It’s just a beginning …

You probably have a question right now : will it be possible to modify DAX and M formulas within Visual Studio Code ? The reply is … yes … most probably.
Please stay tuned to discover more functionalities coming soon. You may subscribe to to be aware of new content clicking here.