What is Tabular Editor in Power BI?


The External Tools ribbon in Power BI helps with easy access to external tools that have been installed locally and registered with Power BI Desktop. When launched from the External Tools ribbon, Power BI Desktop passes the name and port number of its internal data model engine instance and the current model’s name to the tool. The tool then automatically connects, providing an easy connection experience.

There are n number of external tools which can be integrated with Power BI Desktop but here in this blog, we will talk about everything about Tabular Editor.

What is Tabular Editor

The Tabular Editor is a tool that makes your work with the Power BI Desktop data model more effective.

It can directly write to Power BI Desktop file – so if you change something in Tabular Editor, you can save it in Tabular Editor, and the change appears in Power BI. And vice versa.

Tabular Editor lets you easily manipulate and manage measures, calculated columns, display folders, perspectives, and translations in Analysis Services Tabular and Power BI Models.

A Bit Background

Tabular Editor was created in 2016 by the Danish Principal Architect and Microsoft Data MVP Daniel Otykier, working for Kapacity. He has worked with the MS BI stack for 12+ years and being a C#/.Net developer for 15+ years.

As Microsoft changed from XMLA to JSON in 2016 so Tabular Editor is only available from the 2016 SQL Server Analysis Server as it is also built around the JSON Metadata. It is based on the programming language C# and more specifically the WinForms Application.

Tabular Editor was originally designed for SSAS. But as Power BI Desktop runs on SSAS, it works perfectly for Power BI as well. With the July 2020 version of Power BI, it is now possible to fully integrate Tabular Editor and Power BI as well. 


  • Power BI Desktop Version – July 2020 or newer
  • The latest version of Tabular Editor 

How to get Tabular Editor

Tabular Editor is available in two different versions:

  • Tabular Editor 2.x (free)
  • Tabular Editor 3.x (commercial with 30 days free trial) 

You can download the latest version of Tabular Editor from https://tabulareditor.com/downloads. 

Use Cases of Tabular Editor

  1. Quick and friendly User Interface
  2. Calculation Groups
  3. Scripting
  4. Best Practices Analyzer
  5. Create Custom KPI
  6. Object Level Security 

Challenges with Tabular Editor

  • There is no diagram view in Tabular Editor, so hard to understand if you are new to the relationship view.
  • Good to know some DAX before.
  • Good to know the difference between Calculated Columns and Measures. 

These are all the basic concepts about Tabular Editor, we hope you get an idea about the tool.


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