Power BI Sidetools

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.

Easily export data to Excel

Export to Excel

Export your Power BI desktop data into Excel with only one click. Then you can setup pivot tables, add theme & graphics, macros and do whatever you want. You can even generate a paginated report. Next time you will open this file from Power BI Sidetools, it will be refreshed and you will keep all the setup you did previously. Super quick and super efficient in few steps :

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
    • Azure management
    • Color picker
    • And much more …

Discover VSCode with videos :

Visual Studio Code docs : Introductory Videos

Microsoft ignite : Empowering Ops with VS Code


Download Power BI Sidetools from it’s GitHub repository

  • 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 a preview feature in Power BI desktop, at the moment, I recommend you use it on copies of your reports.

Have a look at this article from Microsoft to know more about external tools limitations : https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-bi/create-reports/desktop-external-tools


Do you have comments, propositions for new functionalities, bug report ? Please create an issue in GitHub :

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.