Skip to main content
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Find everything you need to get certified on Fabric—skills challenges, live sessions, exam prep, role guidance, and more. Get started

Working with tabluar editor cause creation of display folders "format string measures"

Hello, I worked with the new function "External Tools" / "Tabluar Editor" to create calculation groups within my model - following a blog post of SQL BI . com . Afterwards I have in EACH table containing DAX measures a hidden display folder called "Format String Measures", which I cannot control (neither from PBI desktop nor from Tabluar Editor). The real problem is a side effect, which is, that I'm loosing the control over the measure formatting in PBI Desktop (Menu "Measure tools" / "Format" field is greyed out).
So what did I do wrong? How can I again format my measures in PBI Desktop?

Status: New
Community Support



You may take a look at Display custom format strings.

Regular Visitor

Have the same issue☹️

all measure are dupplicated in @"Format String Measures" shadow folder

Advocate I

Same issue over here 😕

Frequent Visitor

Yep, came searching for a solution because I also just ran into this same issue.  

Regular Visitor

I can't unhide it and delete it.  I can't change the name of the folder.  It changes the formats of my dates. 

Please help!!  


This is not an issue related to Tabular Editor. It is a behavior triggered by these conditions and it happens also if you use Analysis Services:

  1. Create a calculation group
  2. Assign the Format String Expression property to at least one calculation item

When this happens, for each measure in the model the AS engine creates a new hidden measure with a "_" prefix and a " FormatString" suffix. For example:

[Sales Amount] --> [_Sales Amount FormatString]

[# Quantity] --> [_# Quantity FormatString]


Power BI displays these measures in a hidden "Format String Measures" folder where the measures are available with their original name, without prefix, suffix, and ignoring their Display Folder property.

Because this is a behavior of the internal AS engine, if you don't want to see that folder (which is hidden, so report user would not see that anyway), you should ask to Microsoft a setting to hide that folder in Power BI.

Advocate II

Hi Marco,


many thanks for providing these insights! You're really a guru 😉 


As it seems that also other PBI users are wondering about this behaviour in PBI Desktop (and I assume I see in the history of the idea here only the "peak of the iceberg") indeed I will reach out to MS asking for hiding these particular folder in PBI Desktop to avoid this kind of confusion - let's see what happens.


Cheers & best regards,



Frequent Visitor

@marcorusso - Tabular Editor has been a great addition, so thank you.


I've had a similar experience to the others in this thread - where I find it gets tricky is where you might have for example Week-on-week change, which for some measures might be a percentage difference and for others an absolute difference.  In that instance, SSAS will assign one format type and override the underlying measure formats.  Is there a way around that?  Thank you

New Member

@marcorusso Do you have any idea why using a calculation group with a format string expression would result in the data category setting being disabled for measures? I have a measure that I am trying to categorize as a Web URL, but this setting is disabled unless I remove the calculation group.


My guess is that using the format string expression results in all measures being classified as a variant data type, which is incompatible with any data categorization. Is there any way around this while still being able to use calculation groups with format string expressions?


It seems due to the Variant data type decay of measures (it doesn’t have anything to do with the dynamic format strings).

You should see the same thing even without calculation groups if you create a measure such as
IF(1=2, 123, "ABC")