In April 2016 a bunch of fantastic features added to Power BI Desktop. Some of these features like Query Parameters, Power BI Templates and new drill action to see records quickly grasped my attention. I wrote about Query Parameters before. You can learn how to use Query Parameters in Power BI Desktop here or some more complicated use cases like Query Parameters and SQL Server 2016 Dynamic Data Masking (DDM) here.
Another cool feature is adding Synonyms to the model. Power BI Synonyms can significantly improve the Q&A and query experience. With synonyms we can now add some other forms of names for our tables, columns and measures in Power BI Desktop model which makes using Q&A even easier for our customers to find what they are looking for. The customers don’t know all table, column or measure names. Defining common separate list of names for tables, columns or measures makes Q&A much more useful.
For instance, we can add the following synonyms:
Note: The following tables and columns are from AdventureWorksDW.
|Original Name||Object Type||Synonym|
|FactInternetSales||Table||Internet Sales, InternetSales|
|OrderQuantity||Column||Order Quantity, Order Qty, ord qty|
|SalesAmount||Column||Sales Amount, Sales Amt, Internet Sales Amount, Internet Sales Amt|
|TaxAmt||Column||Tax Amount, Tax Amt|
How it works
It’s easy to setup synonyms in Power BI Desktop. Switch to relationship view then click “Synonyms” from “Modeling” tab from the ribbon. Then simply enter the synonyms.
After we publish a Power BI Desktop model to Power BI Service, the synonyms will play a great role in Q&A so that when the customer types “ord qty” the Q&A engine will recognise it as “OrderQuantity” and displays the results. It’s really cool isn’t it?
But, let’s think a little bit out of the box. What if we add some translations as synonyms? Hmm. I think it would be really great that a Spanish customer can type Spanish column names in Q&A rather than English. I added some translations to FactInternetSales columns and DimDate columns.
Thanks to Google translate for French and Spanish translations. Sorry French and Spanish guys if the translation looks funny.
Now I publish the model to Power BI Service. To do so, just click on “Publish” from “Home” tab from the ribbon.