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Excel 2019: Portable Formulas

June 20, 2019 - by Bill Jelen

Excel Portable Formulas. Photo Credit: Sheldon Nunes at

If you have the full version of Power Pivot, you can use the DAX formula language to create new calculated fields. From the Power Pivot tab in the Ribbon, choose Measures, New Measure.

Give the field a name, such as Variance. When you go to type the formula, type =[. As soon as you type the square bracket, Excel gives you a list of fields to choose from.

Note that you can also assign a numeric format to these calculated fields. Wouldn’t it be great if regular pivot tables brought the numeric formatting from the underlying data?

Defining a new calculated field or Measure. The formula is =[Sum of Revenue]-[Sum of Budget]. You can specify the formula is Currency with 0 decimal places.

In the next calculation, VariancePercent is reusing the Variance field that you just defined.

The formula for VariancePercent is [Variance]/[Sum of Budget]. This one is formatted as a Number, Percentage, with 1 decimal place.

So far, you've added several calculated fields to the pivot table, as shown below.

The pivot table shows Budget, Revenue, Variance, Variance Percent.

But you don’t have to leave any of those fields in the pivot table. If your manager only cares about the variance percentage, you can remove all of the other numeric fields.

In this version of the pivot table, all of the intermediate calculations are gone, leaving only Variance Percent.

Note that the DAX in this bonus tip is barely scratching the surface of what is possible. If you want to explore Power Pivot, you need to get a copy of Power Pivot and Power BI by Rob Collie.

Thanks to Rob Collie for teaching me this feature. Find Rob at

Title Photo: Sheldon Nunes at

Bill Jelen is the author / co-author of
Excel Insights – A Microsoft MVP Guide to the Best Parts of Excel

There are fewer than 100 Excel MVPs worldwide. 24 of them have contributed to this book. Written, edited, reviewed and printed by Excel MVPs, this is practical Excel passion undiluted, with each MVP highlighting some of their favorite topics.