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I know I’ve been a bit quieter than usual.  I’ve been off learning…  a lot.  Which means that a number of things are piling up that I’d like to share.

Rapid fire today.

Notepad is a great formula editor

NotePad 

This pains me to admit since I worked on the PowerPivot formula editor, but…  I’ve been cheating on my own creation.  With Notepad, of all things.  Does that mean I’m slumming?

Never Underestimate the Impact of a Bad Childhood

Wait, how did that picture get in here?  How is that remotely relevant to slumming?  Some sort of typo I guess.  (Nazi garb…  ugh).

And did I just compare the PowerPivot formula editor to Sandra Bullock?

Turns out that Notepad lets me do a number of things that I find myself needing:

  1. Indenting the formulas – I’ve been doing a lot of complex stuff lately.  Readability has become crucial.
  2. Saving formulas – sometimes when I get something done and know I’m going to want to re-use it, I save it in a text file.
  3. Find and replace – when re-using a formula, most of the time the column names need to be changed.  How cool is it to do that automatically rather than manually?
  4. Bigger font size – better readability.

And the formula editor in PowerPivot supports copy/paste, so you can move back and forth between it and Notepad without issue.  (Somehow I think Jesse’s life might not be so smooth).

Anyway, I highly recommend it.  (Notepad, I mean).  And if anyone has another editor that they’ve tried and liked, let me know.

SharePoint Saturdays – more proof that SharePoint is exploding

SharePoint Saturday Attendees

What are these people doing on a Saturday morning, sitting in a lecture hall?

They are attending a “SharePoint Saturday” in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  These events are held every couple of weeks in a different location – I see them talked about all the time in Twitter but this was my first time attending one.  Wow!  200 people spent an entire Saturday, unpaid, listening to SharePoint talks?

Do you see what I am talking about when it comes to the SharePoint community?  Ignore SharePoint at your own peril.  Customer-wise, it’s the hottest thing going from MS.

And of course, the gratuitous shot of yours truly delivering the keynote speech, and my PowerPivot session where people were literally sitting in the aisle.

KeyNote robsession

Clearly the SharePoint audience has great taste 🙂

On a completely serious note, I will say that the SharePoint audience “gets” PowerPivot better, on average, than the Excel or BI audiences.  They see the value of the whole system more readily than the other groups, who often tend to view it through their existing lenses.

Surprising?  Perhaps.  But true.

(Note that this was my first-ever keynote speech, and I was introduced as “the most famous person we could find” – best intro ever!  There’s a joke to be made here about how scrappy the SharePoint community is, something to do with small budgets…  that said, they arranged a luxury suite at the Pistons game, and a huge limo to take all of the speakers to the arena!)

Two weeks after the event and I’m still shaking my head in (happy) disbelief.

Rob Collie

Rob Collie

One of the original engineering leaders behind Power BI and Power Pivot during his 14-year career at Microsoft, Rob Collie founded a consulting company in 2013 that is 100% devoted to “the new way forward” made possible by Power BI and its related technologies. Since 2013, PowerPivotPro has rapidly grown to become the leading firm in the industry, pioneering an agile, results-first methodology never before seen in the Business Intelligence space. A sought-after public speaker and author of the #1-selling Power BI book, Rob and his team would like to help you revolutionize your business and your career.

This Post Has 6 Comments
  1. I would have to agree with you on the editor. Have similar issues with SSIS and other programs that try and provide an editor windows. I still cannot believe that Microsoft has not done something with notepad yet though after all of these years. It was great to see that calculator and mspaint final got an upgrade in Windows 7. I swap out the Windows notepad with notepad2. This provides line numbers which is always nice along with different scheme you can select along with indenting, font settings, and zooming capabilites. There are instructions on how to replace the Windows OS on the site and they have a x64 flavor as well and no install is required. http://www.flos-freeware.ch/notepad2.html. If you are looking for something that is a little more heavy duty then I switch over to Notepad++. More features and tab support so you can have multiple files open and work on them. This one has support auto completion along with a few other features. http://notepad-plus.sourceforge.net/uk/site.htm. Maybe some day Microsoft will go ahead and upgrade notepad like calculator and mspaint, it is long overdue, but there are other alternatives and they are free.

  2. “And if anyone has another editor that they’ve tried and liked, let me know.”

    You might give Notepad++ a go (http://notepad-plus.sourceforge.net/uk/site.htm
    ). It’s free…and comparing it to Notepad is like comparing Word to WordPad.

    Features of Nopepad++ include multi-level undo, spell check, syntax highlighting for multiple languages, zoom control and so on. It supports user defined syntax highlighting, and I’ve created custom highlighting for DAX. I’ve sent you a message with example screenshots.

    “I will say that the SharePoint audience “gets” PowerPivot better, on average, than the Excel or BI audiences. They see the value of the whole system more readily than other groups, who often tend to view it through their existing lenses.”

    Interesting observation. Both groups (Excel users, BI pros) have traditionally worked outside the SharePoint environment (myself included), so that might be part of the problem.

    1. Wow, that’s now two votes for Notepad++, and both from highly respected individuals. I will definitely have to check it out 🙂

      Yeah, I think the SharePoint audience, by necessity, is quite accustomed to bouncing around a lot. Comes with the turf of working on a broad horizontal set of services like SharePoint – picking up brand new business themes all the time is par for the course.

  3. i’m not sure if this is true, but i heard rob had everyone chanting, “end the fed” at the end of his powerpivot presentation 🙂

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