What Scripting Language Does Power BI Use?


Larry Thompson

Power BI is a popular business intelligence tool developed by Microsoft. It allows users to create interactive visualizations, reports, and dashboards from various data sources. One of the essential aspects of Power BI is its scripting language, which enables users to perform advanced data transformations and calculations.

What Scripting Language Does Power BI Use?

Power BI uses a scripting language called M. M stands for Power Query Formula Language, which is the language used in Power Query, an ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) tool integrated into Power BI.

M is a functional programming language designed specifically for data transformation and manipulation. It allows users to perform complex operations on their data sources before loading them into Power BI for analysis and visualization.

Key Features of M

M provides several features that make it powerful and versatile:

  • Data Transformation: M allows users to transform their data by applying various operations such as filtering, sorting, grouping, merging, and pivoting.
  • Data Type Handling: M has built-in functions to handle different data types effectively. Users can convert data types, remove null values, or handle missing values using these functions.
  • Data Source Connectivity: M supports connectivity with various data sources such as databases, spreadsheets, web services, and APIs.

    Users can fetch data from these sources using M’s connectors and perform necessary transformations.

  • Error Handling: M provides robust error handling capabilities. Users can define custom error messages or handle specific errors that may occur during the data transformation process.
  • User-Defined Functions: M allows users to create their own custom functions for repetitive tasks. These functions can be reused across different queries, making the data transformation process more efficient.

Using M in Power BI

In Power BI, users can access the scripting editor by selecting the “Edit Queries” option from the “Home” tab. The scripting editor provides a user-friendly interface with various options to transform and clean the data.

Users can write their M scripts in the scripting editor, where they can see a preview of the data transformation steps being applied. They can also use the built-in functions and connectors to simplify their script-writing process.

Once users have written their M script, they can apply it to their data source by clicking on the “Close & Apply” button. Power BI will execute the script and load the transformed data into the dataset for further analysis and visualization.


M is a powerful scripting language used in Power BI for data transformation and manipulation. It provides various features that enable users to perform complex operations on their data sources. By leveraging M’s capabilities, users can ensure that their data is clean, structured, and ready for analysis in Power BI.

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