Today we announced that Power BI will be generally available July 24th. Through the course of the preview we have added many exciting new features and capabilities, a full list is here at the bottom of this blog post. In July we will make the updates shown below, rounding out the preview and we will make Power BI generally available on July 24th. We would like to thank all of you that have provided feedback through the course of this preview, we take your feedback seriously so please continue to tell us what you think. 

Power BI Desktop

Power BI Desktop – currently known in preview as the Power BI Designer – is a powerful new visual data exploration and interactive reporting tool available for free at It provides a free-form canvas for drag-and-drop exploration of your data and an extensive library of interactive visualizations, while streamlining report creation and publishing to the Power BI service. The Power BI Desktop will be enhanced to include:

  • New visualizations including matrix, area, waterfall, and donut charts.
  • New visualization formatting such as color setting, titles, labels, and legends.
  • New data source support has also been extended to include Zendesk, Intuit Quickbooks Online, AppFigures, GitHub, Twilio, and SweetIQ.
  • Direct connection to SQL Server Analysis Services tabular models for data exploration. These and other new features will be available later this month.

Power BI web authoring and data exploration enhancements

The Power BI service has been enhanced with increased web-based authoring capability making it easier to create and format visualizations for dashboards and reports though the browser

Power BI visuals open source project

Customers are no longer limited by the visualizations provided by their software vendor. Microsoft is opening its commercial grade visualization framework and visuals built on D3.js, enabling customers and partners to easily extend and build custom visuals. Along with the visualization framework we are also delivering a test suite and tooling. All of this is available today as an open source project on GitHub at In the future, customers will be able to bring these custom visuals into Power BI for use in their dashboards, reports and content packs.

Power BI Content Packs are changing how you connect to data

Power BI make it easy for users to visualize and analyze their data in minutes, providing pre-built solutions for popular services as part of the Power BI experience. A subscriber to a supported service can quickly connect to their account from Power BI and see their data through live dashboards and interactive reports that have been pre-built for them.  We have released content packs for 16 popular services such as, Marketo, and Quickbooks Online. We have announced that over the coming months we will extend this support to include content packs and integrations for Adobe Analytics, comScore, Azure Mobile Engagement, Sage, SpaceCurve, tyGraph, CircuitID, Sumo Logic, SQL Sentry, Zuora, Planview, Insightly, Troux, Inkling, and others.


In addition, at GA we will introduce Organizational Content Packs which allow users, BI professionals and system integrators to build their own Content Packs to share purpose built dashboards, reports and datasets within an organization for others to consume and gain business insights.

Team collaboration and enhanced Excel support

Power BI will provide support for Groups, enabling team collaboration and sharing of Power BI content across work groups. With this, teams now have the ability to collaborate and work on the same set of dashboards, reports, and datasets. Power BI will also provide full Excel support enabling users to both import Excel workbooks to build Power BI dashboards and reports, as well as view these workbooks through Excel Online as part of the Power BI experience.


Direct connectivity to Apache Spark

Today Power BI users can connect directly to SQL Server Analysis Services, Azure SQL Database, and Azure SQL Data Warehouse, querying live against these data sources. Power BI now extends this support to Apache Spark for Big Data scenarios. Now Power BI customers can directly access Big Data with connected dashboards and reports that query live to the data from the popular Apache Spark open source framework.

New Power BI mobile app for Android

A Power BI mobile app for Android phone is now available, adding to the existing mobile support for iPhone, iPad, and Windows devices.

Other features added in preview

The full list of updates we’ve rolled out since preview and will be adding before general availability includes:

  • Globally available and localized to 44 languages
  • New visuals – Tree Map, Combo Chart, Funnel, Gauges, Area Map, Waterfall, Donut, Area Chart, Matrix and others.
  • Significantly enhanced Power BI Desktop (renamed from Designer)
  • Native touch optimized mobile apps for iOS, Android and Windows
  • Rich control over visual coloring, including conditional formatting in Reports
  • Visual formatting and customization  in Reports (Title, Background Color, Legend, Data Labels, and X/Y axis for Cartesian charts)
  • Support for Hyperlinks in Reports and report tables
  • Report publishing directly from Power BI Desktop to the service
  • New styling, look and feel
  • Simple and categorized Get Data Experience
  • A dozen ISVs delivered content packs for Power BI, providing rich, out-of-the-box reports and dashboards for a variety of popular business services (Acumatica, appFigures, Google Analytics, MailChimp, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, QuickBooks Online, SQL Server Database Auditing, SweetIQ, Twilio, UserVoice, Visual Studio Online)
  • Four direct query sources enabling users to build Power BI reports and dashboards without the need to move data (Azure SQL Database, Azure SQL Data Warehouse, SQL Server Analysis Services, Spark on Azure HDInsight)
  • Easy import of CSV files
  • Support for connecting and refreshing from on-Premises data sources
  • Enhanced data modeling in Power BI Desktop  (Calculated Columns, Data Categorization, Smart DAX Formula Editor, 12 new DAX functions)
  • Enhanced data transformation and mashup capabilities in Power BI Desktop with ten new transformation functions
  • Direct report exploration over Analysis Services tabular model from Power BI Desktop
  • Building and publishing Organizational content packs
  • Power BI Groups to enable collaboration on a jointly owned set of datasets, reports and dashboards
  • Browser rendered Excel reports in Power BI
  • Power BI REST API
  • Support for real time dashboards over massive data streams through Azure Stream Analytics
  • Open source Power BI visualization stack to enable Developers to starting building custom visuals
  • Developer samples and test bed for getting started quickly using the REST API
  • New community forum site at
  • Many, many more small but impactful enhancements sprinkled all across the product

Thank you for trying the Power BI preview. On July 24 your preview account will be converted to a Power BI free account. Note that if you are currently using features available in Power BI Pro they will be disabled but you are free to upgrade your account to Power BI Pro at any time. More information on Power BI and Power BI Pro is available here.