#powerquery – How to handle different decimal separator when importing csv files

Recently I have been working on a project where the solution should import a csv file exported from a SQL server. For some reason sometimes the data comes with a , (comma) as the decimal separator and other times with . (dot) as the decimal separator.

This meant that when importing the different files, I had to find a way to dynamically change the culture code setting when importing the file.

Let’s try and open the SalesWithDot.csv file in Power BI Desktop

As my Power BI Desktop uses Danish settings and danes uses , as a decimal separator Power BI desktop will think the values is 30.000 instead of 300 etc. – and we have to tell Power Query that the source is from another Culture – so I click Edit

As we can see from the documentation Table.TransformColumnTypes – the function has an optional parameter called Culture –

And by adding “en-US” to our formula bar we can have the right value in the SalesValue column

But when we use this when importing a file where the sales value is formatted with a , as the decimal separator and we use the same culture value (“en-US”) then we have the problem.

And by changing the culture to da-DK it shows the right values

So how can we make Power Query dynamically determine which local to use ?

In this case I know that the column SalesValue will either contain a comma or a dot – and by checking the first value of the file imported I can select which culture to use – this can be done like this

The step before we “Changed Type” is called “Promoted Headers”

To check whether the Sales Value contains a comma – we can use the Text.Contains function

And we can refer to the first value in the SalesValue column like this

#”Promoted Headers”[SalesValue]{0}

Then

Text.Contains(#”Promoted Headers”[SalesValue]{0}, “,”)

Will give us true if the cell has a comma in the cell before its changed to a decimal value.

When we know this we can change the

= Table.TransformColumnTypes(#”Promoted Headers”,{{“Product”, type text}, {“SalesValue”, type number}, {“SalesUnits”, Int64.Type}}, “da-DK”)

To

= Table.TransformColumnTypes(#”Promoted Headers”,{{“Product”, type text}, {“SalesValue”, type number}, {“SalesUnits”, Int64.Type}}, if Text.Contains(#”Promoted Headers”[SalesValue]{0}, “,”) then “da-DK” else “en-US”)

The if statement will then use the da-DK culture if the SalesValue contains a comma.

And in the example file with the dot

You can download an example file here.

Hope you find this useful – Power On!

4 thoughts on “#powerquery – How to handle different decimal separator when importing csv files

  1. Pingback: Power BI Report Background, Power Query, updates and more... (July 9, 2018) | Guy in a Cube

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