Empowering Power BI: Unleashing the Potential of External Tools 

Power BI, a powerful suite of business analytics tools by Microsoft, is a robust data visualization and analysis platform. However, integration with external tools has become imperative to unlock its full potential and address specific business needs. From advanced analytics to data preparation and visualization, these external tools seamlessly extend the functionality of Power BI, offering a customized and comprehensive approach to business intelligence. Let’s embark on a journey to explore the diverse external tools that empower organizations to extract actionable insights and drive informed decisions through Power BI. 

How are these external tools integrated with Power BI? 

  • Business intelligence professionals and developers create free tools leveraging Power BI and Analysis Services APIs to extend and integrate with Power BI Desktop’s data modeling and reporting functionalities. 
  • These tools are locally installed and integrated into Power BI Desktop via the External Tools ribbon. 
  • The External Tools ribbon offers convenient access to potent tools installed on the local computer and registered with Power BI Desktop. 
  • When initiated from the External Tools ribbon, Power BI Desktop shares the name and port number of its internal data model engine instance along with the current model’s name to the tool. 
  • Consequently, the tool establishes an automatic connection, ensuring a seamless user experience. 

Key external tools empowering Power BI

Here is a compilation of widely used external tools with Power BI. Each tool offers distinct functionalities like modeling, documentation, version control, and performance optimizations, allowing users to select based on their specific requirements. 

External Tools Functionality 
DAX Studio – Performance analysis tools such as Query Plan Analysis and Server Timings 
– Advanced DAX querying and debugging capabilities 
Tabular Editor – Advanced modeling capabilities for manipulating tabular models 
– Scripting for automation and customization 
– Version control integration 
ALM Toolkit A comprehensive suite of tools for managing the application lifecycle of Power BI projects, including database comparison, code merge, version control, and deployment management. 
BRAVO User-friendly interface for analyzing data models, formatting DAX expressions, managing dates, and exporting data. 
DAX Formatter DAX code formatting and optimization for improved readability and performance 
DAX.do Online platform for writing, testing, and sharing DAX expressions in a collaborative environment 

DAX Studio 

  • DAX Studio is a powerful tool for working with Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) in Microsoft Power BI, Analysis Services, and Power Pivot for Excel. 
  • It provides a comprehensive environment for writing, editing, executing, and analyzing DAX queries and expressions. 
  • The features include query execution, syntax highlighting, code formatting, query plan analysis, server timing analysis, and advanced scripting capabilities. 
  • It is widely used by Power BI developers, data analysts, and BI professionals to streamline DAX development workflows, optimize query performance, and troubleshoot DAX-related issues. 
  • DAX Studio is the tool that assists you in finding query bottlenecks. 

The main features of DAX Studio are

  1. Query Builder  
  1. Format Query 
  1. Load Power BI Performance Data 
  1. ‘All queries’ Server Traces  
  1. Query Plan Traces 
  1. Server Timing Traces 
  1. Import, Export, and View Metrics 
  1. Export Data 
  1. View As(Impersonate user) 
  1. Run Benchmark 

Tabular Editor

Tabular Editor is a powerful open-source tool designed to work with tabular models in Microsoft Analysis Services, Power BI Desktop, and Power BI Service. It provides an intuitive and efficient environment for managing, editing, and deploying tabular models. It is available in two versions: 

  • Tabular Editor 2: This version is an open-source tool tailored for manipulating and managing various aspects of tabular models, including measures, calculated columns, display folders, perspectives, and translations. 
  • Tabular Editor 3: This commercial version offers advanced features such as an enhanced DAX editor, improved user interface, and dedicated customer support. 

Key features of Tabular Editor include

  1. Model Editing: Tabular Editor offers a rich set of features for editing tabular models, including creating, modifying, and deleting tables, columns, measures, relationships, hierarchies, and partitions. 
  1. Scripting: Users can write and execute powerful scripts using the Tabular Object Model (TOM) scripting language to automate repetitive tasks, customize model behavior, and implement advanced logic. 
  1. Version Control: Tabular Editor supports integration with version control systems like Git, enabling collaborative development and managing changes to tabular models across teams. 
  1. Metadata Exploration: Users can explore and analyze the metadata of tabular models, including object properties, expressions, dependencies, and annotations, facilitating comprehensive understanding and documentation of the model structure. 
  1. Performance Optimization: Tabular Editor provides tools for optimizing model performance, such as partition management, calculation evaluation, and query optimization, helping users improve query response times and overall model efficiency. 
  1. Deployment: Users can easily deploy tabular models to different environments, including Analysis Services instances, Power BI Desktop, and Power BI Service, ensuring seamless integration with existing data analytics workflows. 

ALM Toolkit

  • ALM Toolkit (Application Lifecycle Management) for Power BI is a third-party tool. 
  • It modifies the model files for Power BI Semantic Model, Template, and BIM files. 
  • It allows changes to be made to existing semantic models published in the Power BI Service. 
  • ALM Toolkit is based on the source code of BISM Normalizer. 
  • BISM Normalizer provides similar features for Tabular models. 

The main features are

  • Database Compare: ALM Toolkit enables you to compare tabular models or databases, identifying differences in object definitions, metadata, and data. This feature allows you to understand changes between different versions of your model or database, facilitating efficient version control and deployment processes. 
  • Code Merging: With the ALM Toolkit, you can merge changes from different versions of tabular models or databases. This feature helps you consolidate modifications made by multiple team members or across different branches of development, ensuring that changes are integrated seamlessly while minimizing conflicts. 
  • Easy Deployment: ALM Toolkit simplifies the deployment of tabular models or databases to different environments, such as development, testing, and production. It provides intuitive tools for packaging, deploying, and configuring models, streamlining the deployment process and reducing the risk of errors. 
  • Source Control Integration: ALM Toolkit seamlessly integrates with source control systems, such as Git or TFS (Team Foundation Server), allowing you to manage version history, track changes, and collaborate effectively with team members. This integration ensures that changes to tabular models are tracked, audited, and backed up, providing a reliable source of truth for your BI projects. 
  • Reuse Definitions: ALM Toolkit enables you to define reusable components, such as measures, calculated columns, and hierarchies, which can be shared across multiple tabular models or databases. This feature promotes consistency, standardization, and efficiency in model development, allowing you to leverage existing definitions and best practices across your organization. 
  • Self-Service to Corporate BI: ALM Toolkit supports a self-service BI approach by empowering business users to create and manage their tabular models while providing governance, oversight, and control to IT departments. This enables organizations to balance the agility and flexibility of self-service BI with the security, scalability, and manageability of corporate BI solutions. 

Overall, ALM Toolkit offers a comprehensive suite of features for managing the application lifecycle of tabular models or databases, including comparison, merging, deployment, version control, reuse, and governance, facilitating efficient and collaborative BI development processes. 


BRAVO is a tool developed by SQLBI, designed to enhance the user experience and productivity of Power BI developers. It offers various features to streamline Power BI development processes and improve the overall efficiency of creating and managing Power BI reports and models. 

Some key features of BRAVO include

  • User Interface Enhancements: BRAVO provides enhancements to the Power BI user interface, making it more intuitive and user-friendly. It offers improvements in navigation, layout, and usability, helping developers work more efficiently. 
  • DAX Formatting: BRAVO includes features for formatting DAX expressions within Power BI reports. This helps ensure consistency and readability of DAX code, making it easier to understand and maintain. 
  • Date Management: BRAVO offers functionality for managing dates within Power BI reports. It includes tools for creating and managing date tables, defining date hierarchies, and performing date calculations, simplifying the process of working with dates in Power BI. 
  • Export Data: BRAVO allows users to export data from Power BI reports to external formats such as Excel and CSV files. This feature facilitates data analysis and sharing, enabling users to work with Power BI data in other applications. 
  • Model Analysis: BRAVO provides tools for analyzing and optimizing Power BI data models. It includes features for identifying model issues, optimizing model performance, and improving data model design, helping developers create more efficient and effective Power BI solutions. 

Overall, BRAVO is a valuable tool for Power BI developers, offering a range of features to enhance the development process and improve the quality of Power BI reports and models. 

DAX Formatter

DAX Formatter is a tool developed by SQLBI that assists users in formatting Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) code in Power BI, Analysis Services, and Power Pivot. DAX Formatter helps ensure consistency and readability in DAX expressions by automatically applying indentation, line breaks, and proper spacing to the code. 

Key features of DAX Formatter include

  • Automatic Formatting: DAX Formatter automatically formats DAX code according to predefined formatting rules. This helps standardize the appearance of DAX expressions, making them easier to read and understand. 
  • Customizable Formatting Rules: Users can customize the formatting rules applied by DAX Formatter to meet their specific preferences or organizational standards. This allows for flexibility in formatting DAX code according to individual or team preferences. 
  • Online Tool: DAX Formatter is available as an online tool on the SQLBI website, allowing users to format DAX code directly within their web browser without the need for any additional software installation. 
  • Integration with Other Tools: DAX Formatter can be integrated with various development environments and tools used for Power BI and Analysis Services development. This includes integration with Tabular Editor, Visual Studio, and other popular development environments. 
  • Syntax Highlighting: DAX Formatter provides syntax highlighting for DAX expressions, making it easier to identify different elements of the code and understand its structure. 

Overall, DAX Formatter is a valuable tool for Power BI developers and analysts working with DAX expressions. It helps improve code quality, readability, and maintainability by applying consistent formatting standards to DAX code 


DAX.do is an online tool developed by SQLBI that provides a platform for writing, editing, and testing Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) code. It offers a range of features designed to enhance the DAX development experience for Power BI, Analysis Services, and Power Pivot users 

Key features of DAX.do include

  • Online DAX Editor: DAX.do provides an online editor where users can write and edit DAX expressions directly within their web browser. The editor includes features such as syntax highlighting, auto-completion, and error checking to assist users in writing DAX code efficiently and accurately. 
  • DAX Function Reference: DAX.do includes a comprehensive reference guide to DAX functions, providing detailed documentation and examples for each function. This allows users to quickly look up information about specific DAX functions and understand how to use them effectively in their expressions. 
  • Query Execution: DAX.do allows users to execute DAX queries against sample data sets to test the behavior and results of their expressions. Users can input DAX queries and view the results in a tabular format, enabling them to validate their code and troubleshoot any issues. 
  • Sharing and Collaboration: DAX.do enables users to share DAX expressions and queries with others by generating shareable links. This allows users to collaborate on DAX development projects, share code snippets, and seek assistance from the community. 
  • Integration with DAX Formatter: DAX.do integrates with DAX Formatter, allowing users to format their DAX code according to predefined formatting rules. This helps improve the readability and consistency of DAX expressions. 

Overall, DAX.do is a valuable tool for DAX developers and analysts working with Power BI and Analysis Services. It provides a convenient online platform for writing, testing, and sharing DAX code, helping users streamline their DAX development workflow and achieve better results in their BI projects. 


In conclusion, we’ve explored several essential external tools and their capabilities tailored for Power BI development. Each tool serves distinct purposes, and our selection depends on specific needs and requirements. It’s worth noting that there are additional tools beyond those discussed here, such as DAX Guide, Analyze in Excel, Power BI Report Builder, Measure Killer, and SQL Server Profile, each offering unique functionalities to further enhance Power BI’s capabilities. 

For More Details, Diggibyte Technologies Pvt Ltd has all the experts you need. Contact us Today to embed intelligence into your organization.

Author: Team PowerBI

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *