Skip to main content

Power BI Desktop November 2019 Feature Summary

Headshot of article author Amanda Cofsky

The November update has major updates in several areas of Power BI Desktop. There’s a new, modern ribbon that aligns Power BI Desktop with Office and adds more functionality. We’re also adding a new visual, the decomposition tree, which is one of the most requested ideas on AI functions integrated into Power Query allows you to take your data transformations to the next level, and of course we have incremental improvements across the entire product.

Desktop Download button

Here’s the complete list of November updates:





Data connectivity

Data Preparation

Template apps

For a summary of the major updates, you can watch the following video. 


Modern ribbon (preview)

Continuing our journey to modernize the editing experience for all our users, this month we are previewing a new ribbon. If this ribbon looks familiar to you, it is because we are now using the same ribbon that you see when using Office 365.

This new ribbon has several benefits compared to the previous ribbon:

  • Improved look and feel and organization
  • A themes gallery, where you can more easily see what colors will be applied

  • Dynamic ribbon content based on your view, so you no longer have many disabled buttons in the data and modeling view

  • A single line ribbon when the ribbon is collapsed, which allows you to save space while working

  • The ribbon won’t occasionally freeze, for those who had that issue with the previous ribbon

There are also a lot of benefits to come with this update as well. The new ribbon allows us to, in future updates:

  • Use more flexible and intuitive controls for features, for example a visuals gallery in the ribbon
  • Add the black and dark grey Office themes to Power BI Desktop
  • Improve accessibility, on par with Office’s ribbon

Hopefully, it’s obvious from the list of future additions we want to do, but this is just the first of more updates that will come for the ribbon. Make sure to let us know what else you’d like to see added or changed in our ribbon!

We also have a dedicated blog post just on our ribbon updates, so make sure to check that out.

Watch the following video to learn more about the new ribbon:


Decomposition tree visual (preview)

We are very excited to announce a preview of one of the most and longest requested features for Power BI, a decomposition tree visual. A decomposition tree can use to perform root-cause analysis by viewing how individual categories in a group contribute to the whole. The visual lets you decompose, or break down, a group to see its individual categories and how they can be ranked according to a selected measure, such as by sales amount.

Once you turn on the visual through the preview tab of the Options dialog, you’ll see the new visual option in the visualization pane.

Once you add the visual to your page, you’ll see two buckets in the field well. The first, Analyze, is where you’ll put the numeric field you want to break down, in my case Sales Amount. The second bucket, Explain by, is where you’ll put all the possible fields you’d want to break your numeric field down by.

One of the interesting difference in the decomposition tree, compared to other visuals, is that you get to pick dynamically which of the fields in the explain by field well you want to look at and in what order. This means that the initial view you’ll have is just the numeric value with a small “+” next to it.

Clicking on this plus will allow you to either pick a specific field from the provided options to break down by or let the visual decide which field to use, depending on if you’re looking for the highest or lowest value.

As you expand on different fields, you’ll see a path forming in your tree. If the tree expands beyond the dimensions of the visual, you can pan and zoom with your mouse to get a better view.

As you go further down the tree, you can look at the headers and the darkened lines to get a reminder of what part of the tree you’re exploring.

If you pick either high or low values to expand on, you’ll also see an lightbulb next to the header to remind you that Power BI is picking the field for you dynamically and it’ll update and change as your data refreshes. The connecting line is also dotted, as another visual cue.

Like our other built-in visuals, you get all the good features you’d expect, such as support for:

  • Cross-highlighting
  • Picking up theme colors
  • Formatting options

  • Bookmarking

When you save your report, the visual will remember what configuration it was in and reopen to that format, but your consumers will be able to explore and configure the visual as much as they want to find new insights.

If there are specific levels you don’t want your users to change, you can lock them using the lock icon near the header (you won’t have this option for AI driven levels).

Make sure to try out this visual while it is in preview and let us know what else you’d like to see added!

Watch the following video to learn more about the decomposition tree:


Conditionally format button formatting

This month’s conditional formatting update for formatting are all button related. You can now dynamically set formatting for the following properties:

  • Button text font color
  • Button text
  • Icon line color
  • Outline color
  • Fill Color
  • Button tooltip (under the action card)

As a remainder, you can tell a property can be conditionally format-able by looking for the three dots on hover.

And once a property has been dynamically set, it will be replaced with an fx button.

Watch the following video to learn more about dynamic button formatting:


ArcGIS Maps for Power BI update

The ArcGIS Maps for Power BI visual has several updates this month. The visual now has support for connecting to ArcGIS Enterprise servers using built-in authentication. You can also now geocode up to 3500 points as a free user and 10,000 as a ArcGIS subscriber. Lastly, if you’re an ArcGIS subscriber you now get full Esri Technical Support for ArcGIS Maps for Power BI.

New xViz visuals

There are two new visuals in the xViz suite this month! As a quick reminder, the xViz suite is an all in one visual suite. There are currently 9 visuals in the package, all with free and pro features. If you decide to license the pro features, you get access to the advanced capabilities for all the visuals for one price.

Advanced Gauge

The Advanced Gauge visual allows you to easily compare an actual value, such as your key business indicators, against a target value. There are a lot of customization and configuration options available for this visual. Your gauge can either be a full or semi circle, with the added ability of showing two different metrics in the same gauge. Some other configurations include:

  • Conditional formatting options for the gauge fill color
  • Set a fill and/or needle indicator for the current value
  • Control the colors for the target indicator
  • Set a min/max value
  • Axis and number formatting, including tick control

Check it out on AppSource.

Watch the following video to learn more about the advanced gauge:

Hierarchical Filter

The Hierarchical Filter visual is a slicer visual that supports hierarchies, advanced formatting, search, and even displacing a metric of choice. Each node of the slicer allows you to expand and collapse it for optimal navigation and allows you to easily single and multi-select categories to filter by.

Some of the advanced formatting options for this visual include:

  • Conditional formatting support for both the categories of the slice and the optional metric
  • Search support with two different search types
  • Setting the default expansion level
  • Full text and background formatting, including unique formatting for hover and selected value
  • Advanced number formatting

Try at this visual from AppSource.

Watch the following video to learn more about the hierarchical filter:

ZoomCharts Drill-Down Waterfall Visual

The ZoomCharts Drill Down Waterfall visual is a new addition to the family of ZoomCharts custom visuals and
is equipped
with all ZoomCharts signature features – interactive drill down, smooth animations and rich customization options. The visuals are optimized to work on both desktop and mobile devices providing intuitive user experience.

The ZoomCharts Drill Down Waterfall visual introduces more freedom and flexibility when it comes to visualizing increases and decreases, and totals. Some of the key features of this visual include:

  • Subtotal display and calculation – add and display subtotals straight from the dataset or calculate them automatically;
  • Column sequence – set the display order for columns (change values)
  • Display of the total – turn on or off the total column; have it calculated dynamically or make it data driven
  • Advanced formatting options – customize increases, decreases and totals separately (colors, outlines, column widths, connectors, value labels and more)
  • Touch-driven slicer – filter the report page by using the visual itself (no need for external slicers)
  • Touch-driven drill down – touch or click any column to drill down into it; long-press it to select the column

Some common use cases for the Drill Down Waterfall include total profit and loss decomposition in accounting and finance, monitoring stock movement in inventory management, understanding campaign contributions to lead volume in sales and marketing, and viewing changes in staff numbers in human resources.

Download from AppSource.

Watch the following video to learn more about ZoomCharts Drill-Down Waterfall visual:

Financial Reporting Matrix by Profitbase

The Financial Reporting Matrix by Profitbase visual is geared towards easily building financial reports. The visual is a matrix with many of the formatting options you’d expect in a financial report. Some of the features of this visual include:

  • Sub and grand total controls
  • Line formatting
  • Sticky column and row headers
  • Conditional formatting

Learn more on AppSource.

Watch the following video to learn more about the financial reporting matrix by Profitbase:


The Distribution visual by Inservit allows you to see an indicator for each categories of the field you put into the visual, much like the legend of a visual. You can use these indicators as a way to filter the report. The indicators have a lot of formatting options, including:

  • Ability to show or hide the category and data labels
  • Change the indicator border and share
  • Swap the orientation between horizontal and vertical
  • Conditional formatting for the indicators, and border

Find this visual on AppSource.

Watch the following video to learn more about the distributions visual:


The Tree visual by CK Corporation allows you to visual your hierarchical data in an easy to use tree structure. All you need to do is give the visual a parent id and child id, and it will automatically figure out the tree structure. If there are multiple levels to the tree, you can expand nodes by hovering over them and clicking the plus icon. You can also use various formatting features, such as:

  • Switching between horizontal and vertical orientation
  • Set the default expansion level
  • Customize the labels
  • Change the node and line styles
  • Set conditional formatting for the nodes

Download it from AppSource.

Watch the following video to learn more about the tree visual:

Data connectivity

LinkedIn Sales Navigator connector (beta)

LinkedIn Sales Navigator lets you access the power of LinkedIn’s 630M+ member network to help sales professionals find and build relationships with prospects and customers. If you’re using this feature, you can now pull your data into Power BI using our new connector. You need to have a LinkedIn Sales Navigator Enterprise plan, and be either an Admin or Reporting User on the Sales Navigator Contract to connect to this data.

Edit SAP variables experience now generally available

Back in August, we released a preview of our Edit SAP variables experience, to allow report consumers to edit SAP variables in the Power BI service with their DirectQuery reports. This month, we’re excited to announce that this experience is now generally available and also supported in Shared workspaces. Read our documentation to see how to set this experience up.

Vena connector

Vena’s finance process management software accelerates and improves budgeting, forecasting, planning, financial close management and consolidations, and more, by connecting people and enterprise data, resulting in better planning, better decisions making, and an elevated role for finance. The Vena Power BI connector easily connects Vena data to Power BI. Enable faster analysis, greater insights, and better decisions by enabling access to self-service enterprise data analytics.

SiteImprove connector

SiteImprove offers a comprehensive cloud-based Digital Presence Optimization (DPO) software. Create higher quality content, drive better traffic, measure digital performance, and work towards regulatory compliance – all from one place. The connector gives access to SiteImprove’s digital insights data to monitor your websites performance for accessibility, SEO, analytics, quality assurance, and much more to help you and your team to create higher quality content, drive better traffic, measure digital performance, and work towards regulatory compliance. Find out more at

Product Insights connector

Product Insights is a new Dynamics 365 product which allows you to collect signals from your products and services, and gain valuable insight into customer usage, in real-time. The connector accesses aggregated signal data (metrics) from Product Insights. Find out more at

Web By Example connector – support for extracting links

We’re glad to announce a significant enhancement to the Web By Example connector, allowing you to extract links (src/href attributes) as part of the Web By Example experience.

In the example below, we’re leveraging this new capability in order to extract information about Power Query Books (including Author, Title and URL) from the Power Query resources page:

Watch the following video to learn more about the updates to the Web by Example connector:

Data preparation

AI functions in Power Query (Preview)

After introducing AI functions in the Power BI service earlier this year, we’re now releasing these features in Desktop as well. You can extract insights from your text and image data with models for text analytics and vision, and access all your Azure Machine Learning models directly in Power BI Desktop. You’ll notice new buttons show up in the Power Query editor once you have the ‘AI functions’ option enabled in the preview settings.

Text analytics can help you detect the language of a text column or field, score its sentiment, or extract key phrases. Detect topics in images with the image tagging function, or run new data through your own Azure ML models. The results of each function are added as a new column to the query.

 For functions that return multiple values – currently this is true for Key Phrase Extraction and Image Tagging – the results are returned both as a comma separated column and as new rows for each separate key phrase or tag.

Text analytics and vision models are Premium only features. In the setup window you can choose which capacity to use while editing the report. When you publish the report to a Premium workspace, we will use the capacity related to that workspace for any data refresh. Text analytics and vision functions can’t be refreshed in non-Premium workspaces.

Template apps

LinkedIn Sales Navigator for Sales Operations

The LinkedIn Sales Navigator for Sales Operations template app allows sales operations personnel to see aggregated information about how effectively a sales team uses Sales Navigator. It enables sales operations personnel to identify and analyze things like:

  • Who is using LinkedIn Sales Navigator
  • How many LinkedIn profiles match search criteria
  • The Social Selling Index across all users

To use this template app, you must:

  • Have a LinkedIn Sales Navigator Enterprise plan
  • Be an Admin or a Reporting User on the Sales Navigator Contract (Note: A reporting license on the Sales Navigator contract does not take up a seat on that contract)
  • Be a Power BI user

The LinkedIn Sales Navigator for Sales Operations template app is available for download from AppSource.

Watch the following video to learn more about the LinkedIn Sales Navigator template app:

That’s all for this month! We hope that you enjoy these updates for the month. Please continue sending us your feedback and don’t forget to vote for other features that you’d like to see in the Power BI Desktop. For any preview features, you can always give us your feedback in our active community. You can also download the .pbix file I used, and if you’re looking for a similar design for your reports, I was using the Microsoft layout from PowerBI.Tips.

Desktop Download button