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Announcing smart rename support in the data model for Excel 2016

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We are pleased to introduce a new Excel 2016 feature that improves the analyst’s workflow—smart rename support in the Power Pivot data model.

Now in Excel 2016, when you rename a table, column or DAX measure in the data model, the rename is seamlessly propagated through the workbook and all the affected objects in the workbook adjust to use the new name. Smart rename support in the data model significantly improves the scenarios when the user renames a table, column, calculated field, measure or hierarchy in the Power Pivot window.

Specifically, the following enhancements have been made:

  • Affected DAX calculations now adjust to use the new names. This saves the user from manually finding and fixing the invalid DAX formulas.
  • Affected PivotTables and Fields Lists now adjust to use the new names. This saves the user from manually rebuilding the PivotTables.
  • In a similar manner, the affected PivotCharts and Fields Lists adjust to use the new names. This saves the user from manually rebuilding the PivotCharts, as the renamed objects were removed from the PivotChart before.
  • And last but not least, the affected Slicers and Timelines adjust to use the new names. This saves the user from re-creating the Slicers and Timelines, as the affected Slicers and Timelines disappeared from the workbook before.

A live demonstration is better than a thousand of words, so let’s see the new experience in Excel 2016:


Smart rename support for Cube functions and Named Sets in the workbooks is not supported at this stage.

We hope that you’ll love the new experience, and we will be glad to hear your feedback.

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2 comments
  1. Nice feature.

    However sometimes I need the formulas and model elements not to rename automatically. E.g.:
    – I have Column1 and all formulas using Column1
    – I need to add a new column Column2 and get all existing formulas to point to that new Column2 instead of Column1.
    – Up to now, I would rename Column1 to ColumnOld and I rename Column2 to Column1.
    Now, all formulas point to the new column.

    Is this scenario not possible anymore ? Is there an alternative I am not aware of? If not, would be nice to have the choice. (In my case, I believe I use the scenario described above more than the rename scenario)

    Thank you.

    • Hi Sebastien,

      We implemented this feature based on a strong customer feedback we got.

      You can still achieve what you want as follows:
      1) Create a new Column2.
      2) Copy the old formula from Column1 to Column2.
      3) Type the new formula in Column1.

      This way you will have Column1 with a new formula, and Column2 with an old original formula. The end result is the same as in your example.

      Guy.

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