How to use regular charts on dynamic pivot tables in Excel

There are many good reasons not to use Pivot charts as described in this article i.e. – one I would like to add is the bug when using “invert if negative”: The inverted colour will disappear once you refresh your data.

If you use Power Query to create the pivot for your chart, a regular chart will be created on it: Gone are the restrictions that come with the Pivot-Chart and it will also adjust dynamically to new or deleted rows and/or columns.

How to create your regular charts on dynamic pivot tables:

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Visualize query dependencies in Power BI with Sankey diagram

Edit 7th August 2016: You’ll find an easier “OneInAll”-approach in the PowerBI forum here. Thanks to David Moss for reporting an issue with the solution below.

PBI-file with new query:,

How to use:

Old post:

This week we got a new Sankey diagram. It has some advantages when visualizing dependencies between items/nodes, one being not to cut the labels. Time to share a tool that I use a lot when working with complex M-queries (in Power Query or Power BI). It shows how the queries are connected with each other:


Sankey diagram default

Left stand the queries who fetch the source data, parameters and/or user defined filters, then you see how they get transformed until to the right you see the queries that deliver your end-results. Especially when working with codes that has been written by someone else I find it very useful to get a quick oversight of what’s happening – as an excellent complement to the documentations 🙂

You can also move the nodes around to improve readability:


Sankey diagram with adjusted nodes

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Happy Spreadsheet Day! (Or how to escape Excel-hell)

When reading horror-stories about Excel-hell describing how dangerous it is to use Excel in corporate environments, I cannot help but to think of this hilarious video describing the fatal consequences of acting without common sense: Just don’t do stupid things with it.

Although Excel comes nearly for free (in relation to what value it delivers) this doesn’t mean that you don’t need to invest in applying proper techniques (like in any other profession). There’s training and best practices for every different need.

But the best thing about Excel seems largely unknown still: Since the invention of Power Query it has never been easier to be save around Excel than before: A magic tool that can solve many of the problems that cause Excel hell: Repetitive tasks: The little adjustments and extensions that pile up when you use your workbook again and again and are often performed without realizing the (meanwhile complex) context of all the standard-Excel-elements involved: Power Query will prevent this mess. It will help you organize and automize your repetitive tasks in Excel.

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Report Design with Power Query (1): Cascading Time Granularities

Cascading Time Granularities

When the client is not happy with the pivot report layout options on cubes in Excel, my usual reaction is “OK no problem, then we’re going to use cubefunctions instead”. This went well until recently: My client told me that he wanted a report like above: Years totals first, followed by quarters & months totals, but with growing number of years! All nicely close together, no gaps. Normally I don’t mind cubereports with dynamic table length (will blog about this later), but this is basically 3 dynamic reports under each other (yes they are still alive and will probably stay 😉 ):


So it was time to test what Chris Webb has talked about in this blogpost: Using Power Query as a report authoring tool in Excel. The idea was to use Power Query’s append-function to attaching 3 different report: Year, Quarter, Month. They could then have different lengths, the append-operation would seamlessly stitch them together. The connection to the cubedata was easy enough, thanks to his brilliant step-by-step guide. But then there were some challenges to solve:

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Waterfall Chart using Power Query

How to create a Waterfall Chart using Power Query?

Target is a chart like above: Starting point, several movements & then an ending sum. Every movement starts at the end of the previous movement, upsides in green colour, downsides in red.

The source data for this kind of charts are normally missing the last line like this example with a P&L:


So this makes it always a bit clumsy to integrate in an automatically refreshing reporting package, especially if the number of lines/bars to report is dynamic.

So here comes the Power Query solution: Fully automatic & dynamic – calculation & charting.

Simply update your source data (Table: “Sourcedata”) & the rest will be done automatically. In this simple example the order of the Sourcedata-table will be kept in the chart.

Refresh the query or check “Data – refresh all” – done.

You can use this as it is – just prepare your table accordingly (fill in your numbers manually, create links or a power query to your source data… however), no need to adjust the query or even have a look at it.



But if you’re interested in how this works, just read on 🙂

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