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Power BI Desktop May 2019 Feature Summary

Headshot of article author Amanda Cofsky

We have an exciting release this month. On top of incremental improvements for several of our recent released features, such as the key influencers visual and our new filter pane, we also have a new performance analyzer pane. This new pane lets you get a behind the scenes view of what’s happening when your report is loading, which can help you optimize your report and improve your end user’s experience.

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Here’s the complete list of May updates:





Data connectivity


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


Performance analyzer pane

When one of your reports is running slow, it can be difficult to know what you can do to improve it. To help with this, we’re introducing a new performance analyzer pane in Power BI Desktop. As an analyst, you can use this pane to see where the time is being spent.

You can open this pane through the View tab in the ribbon.

When you first open the pane, you’ll see an empty pane, and all you need to do is select Start Recording to see what queries are being run.

Once you start recording, any action that runs a query, such as changing a page, refreshing the visuals, or cross-highlighting, will populate the pane with information. You’ll see each visual logged in load order with its corresponding load duration.

You can expand a specific visual’s log to see how the time was spent divided out in three different sections:

  • DAX query – The length of time it took for Analysis Services to run the query
  • Visual display – How long it took for the visual to draw on the screen (including anything like retrieving web images or geocoding)
  • Other – Covers time that the visual spent preparing queries, waiting for other visuals to complete, or doing some other background processing

You’ll also see data for how long your DirectQuery source took to return a result if you’re in that mode.

You can also select copy query to add the specific DAX query we ran for that visual to your clipboard.

You can also export all the query information to a JSON file to analyze in other tools.

Lastly, if you want to dig into one slow loading visual specifically, while the performance analyzer is running, there will be an icon in the visual header that will let you refresh just that specific visual to see the stats in the pane.

The Performance analyzer is currently available in Power BI Desktop only and doesn’t show all the time spent for R, Python, or Key Influencers visuals.

Watch the following video to learn more about the performance analyzer pane:

Filter pane improvements

Sorting filter cards

The most common request we’ve heard for our new filter pane experience was for the ability to customize the sort of the filter cards within the pane. With this update you can do just that. You can drag and drop filter cards within the section it resides in (report, page, or visual) to change the order of the filter cards.

You can also change the sort direction from the “…” menu next to the header of a given section of the filter pane.

Theming support

Additionally, you can now also theme all the formatting options available for the filter pane and cards. Here’s an example theme formatting just the pane:

     "name": "FilterPaneTheme",
     "visualStyles": {
         "*": {
             "*": {
                 "outspacePane": [{
                     "backgroundColor": {"solid": {"color": "#999999"}},
                     "foregroundColor": {"solid": {"color": "#374649"}},
                     "transparency": 50,
                     "titleSize": 35,
                     "headerSize": 8,
                     "fontFamily": "Arial",
                     "border": true,
                     "borderColor": {"solid": {"color": "#374649"}}
                 "filterCard": [
                     "$id": "Applied",
                     "transparency": 0,
                     "backgroundColor": {"solid": {"color": "#AFB5B6"}},
                     "foregroundColor": {"solid": {"color": "#374649"}},
                     "textSize": 15,
                     "fontFamily": "Arial",
                     "border": true,
                     "borderColor": {"solid": {"color": "#ffffff"}},
                     "inputBoxColor": {"solid": {"color": "#C8C8C8"}}
                     "$id": "Available",
                     "transparency": 40,
                     "backgroundColor": {"solid": {"color": "#CCCCCC"}},
                     "foregroundColor": {"solid": {"color": "#ffffff"}},
                     "textSize": 10,
                     "fontFamily": "Arial",
                     "border": true,
                     "borderColor": {"solid": {"color": "#123456"}},
                     "inputBoxColor": {"solid": {"color": "#777777"}}
         "page": {
             "*": {
                 "outspace": [{
                     "color": { "solid": { "color": "#000000" }}

Watch the following video to learn more about the filter pane improvements:

Table and matrix keyboard navigation

A couple of months ago, we added support for interacting with the majority of visuals for keyboard and screen readers, and we are excited to announce that this month we are extending that support to the table and matrix visual. Now when your focus is on a table or matrix, you can use the ctrl + right arrow key to move focus inside to the first cell of the visual.

While your focus is on a cell, the screen reader will read off the relevant information, and you can use the follow keyboard shortcuts to navigate:

  • Arrow keys – Move your focus up/down/left/right on cell
  • Space or Enter – Select cell
  • Shift + Right arrow – Expand an expandable header
  • Shift + Left arrow – Collapse an expandable header
  • Context key or Shift + F10 – Open context menu

Watch the following video to learn more about table and matrix keyboard navigation:

Line data label position control

When you have a line or combo chart with multiple lines overlapping with each other, it can sometimes be hard to tell which data label corresponds to which line. To help with this, we’ve added a new position control for data labels so you can set the labels to specifically show above or below its corresponding line. Take for example, the below line chart showing the average net satisfaction and likelihood to purchase again. Many of the data labels for the first several months are showing near each other with the automatic layout.

To help differentiate between the two, you can now customize the position so the labels for the PurchAgain line show below it and the labels for the NSAT show above it.

Once you do that, it’s a lot clearer which label goes with which line.

Watch the following video to learn more about the line data label updates:

KPI visual Indicator text size control

As a small formatting improvement this month, we’ve updated the KPI visual to support changing the text size of the Indicator. We know this has been a big pain point for some people, so we are happy to finally be able to add support!

Watch the following video to learn more about the KPI visual update:


Key influencers visual improvements

Binning support

The key influencers visual now supports binning of numerical columns added to the “explain by” bucket of the field well. For example, if I add the UnitCost field to the Explain by bucket to see if it affects the likeliness of my customer satisfaction of a product being 7, I can see specific ranges of cost within the influencers list. In my specific example, I can actually see that when my unit costs is between $152.26 and $152.92, there’s a high likelihood of my NSAT being 7.

The visual’s ML model will decide how to bin the data to find the most influential segments of your data. It will also decide to not bin a numeric column if it detects a strong linear relationship between the column and the target of the analysis. In this case the visual will instead show a scatter chart demonstrating the correlation.

Formatting options

We’ve also added several formatting options to the key influencers visual this month. The Analysis visual colors are used for the bubbles section on the left half of the visual and the primary color used for the selected influencer in the drill visual on the right half.

You can also control the drill visual’s secondary color and reference line color.

Mobile support

Lastly, we are excited to announce we’ve also added mobile support for the Key Influencers visual. If you have this visual in a report, it should be visible and interactive, just like our other visuals, when viewing it in any of our mobile apps.

Watch the following video to learn more about the updates to the Key Influencers visual:


Disable auto-date tables for new reports

If you don’t want to use Power BI’s auto-generated date tables, and instead, for all your reports want to use your own date tables, you can now turn off the feature in the Options dialog under Global > Data Load > Time intelligence. Checking this box means that for any new files, we don’t automatically create any hidden date tables.

Watch the following video to learn more about turning off auto-date tables:

Update to the ALLSELECTED DAX function

The ALLSELECTED DAX function has been extended to support multiple arguments, just like the ALL function.


ArcGIS maps for Power BI updates

ArcGIS Maps for Power BI is Esri’s integration into the Power BI world. It provides all Power BI users with the ability to create beautiful and insightful maps with their data. It is embedded within Power BI, which means you don’t have to go to an app store to use it. To get started, just click the globe icon () and start visualizing and analyzing your data spatially to make smarter decisions.

This month, the visual has a major update that allows you to geocode with more accuracy! The first and most important step when you are analyzing data spatially is geocoding. It converts your addresses and place names into coordinates on a map. Esri’s geocoding engine provides precise, accurate and reliable results for over 135 countries in key markets of the world including North America, Europe, Australia, Israel, India, Brazil and Japan. To achieve this, Esri works with international distributors and partners in countries with complex addressing systems including Japan, Thailand, India, and Israel to provide the most up-to-date data.

However, geocoding can fail if addresses in your data are misspelt. For example, if your data has “Los Angleles” instead of “Los Angeles”, you will not get any results. To help you deal with such situations, the visual now has the added ability to easily spot addresses that fail to geocode for any reason as “errors”. You can then simply copy these errors out of the visual and return to your data source to find and fix these errors.

In addition, the Esri team has also added a much faster map loading experience when you add a map visual to the report.

To learn more about ArcGIS Maps for Power BI, you can visit their Get Started page for step-by-step instructions. For quick demos, check out their YouTube page. You can also join the ArcGIS Maps for Power BI community to find answers to all your questions, share ideas, and get the latest updates.

Watch the following video to learn more about the ArcGIS maps for Power BI improvements:

Mapbox updates

The Mapbox team has been working to add even more value to their visual and have recently added four major features geared towards enterprise wide deployments.

Map label position control

The Mapbox visual now has the option to plot the map location labels above or below the data visualized on the map.

This adds more control and flexibility into the map and allows you to decide whether you want to give more emphasis to your own data or to the native mapping data.

You can control this option through the Label position dropdown in the Viz Settings card of the formatting pane.

Legend support

You can now add a legend to your map for Choropleth, Cluster, and Circle Layer types.

The option can be found under each layer card in the formatting pane.

Adding a legend to your map makes it easier for your end users to understand the scale and distribution of the data you’re mapping.

Improved color gradient control

You can now set the minimum, center, and maximum value to correspond with their associated colors, where any value above the maximum or below the minimum will be that same color. This allows you to better account for outliers and irregular distributions of data, preventing the gradient colors from being heavily skewed.

Raster tile source / WMS layer support

Lastly, you can now also add WMS and Raster layers, such as weather, to your Power BI Report.

You can set this up through the Raster card of the formatting pane.

Find this visual on AppSource.

Watch the following video to learn more about the Mapbox visual improvements:

ValQ – Modern Digital Planning

ValQ is more than just a Value Driver Tree visual, it’s a whole platform geared towards helping executives and decision makers model, visualize and analyze various business scenarios and make effective decisions based on their data. This can be used by anyone from a CFO to an analyst for a wide variety of use cases, such as planning, sales forecasting, headcount planning, and supply chain optimization.

With this visual, you can show the relationships between your KPIs and drivers in a decision tree format and then simulate any drivers in parallel to see the impact immediately. ValQ supports 3 different modes to build out your tree. The first mode, geared towards beginners, is called a dynamic tree and is entirely built on the data coming from your model. You can start building a tree in this mode by selecting “Create a Simple Dynamic Tree” from the left pane once you’ve added data to the visual.

When building out the visual this way, the first fields you need to add to the visual are your measures, which will go in the Value bucket. The first field in the value bucket will be what you are measuring and simulating changes on, and the second is the benchmark you are comparing against. The Category bucket are the different categories you want this data broken out by and will be the nodes of the tree. Lastly, you’ll add a time dimension to the Time Period bucket, which will allow you to see the trends for your two measures over time.

Now you can expand and collapse the nodes of your tree by clicking on the carets on the right edge of each node. As the tree grows you can zoom and pane to get the best view of the data.

You can also simulate what-if scenarios by dragging the slider you get when hovering over a node.

When you do this, all the nodes higher in the tree will update to reflect your change.

As you change more and more leaf nodes you can see all the applied changes on the top of the visual You can also remove them easily here as well using the trash can icon.

When you click on nodes of the tree, you get a detailed pop-up giving you more information about that node. It includes information since as the trend, a waterfall chart showing on the simulated changes impact the results, and a comparison of the measures you are comparing in the visual.

You can also click on a button for any node and see the data for that node across the time period and how those numbers are impacted by the simulation.

You can also click the pencil icon from that dialog to edit the simulation manually as well.

The pane on the left allows you to save multiple different simulations and compare them. You can also set the simulation period, change how the values are displayed and change the visual’s layout.

When you compare multiple scenarios, you can see the differences between each scenario and quick jump to that scenario from this view.

You can also visualize the same data as a table well with sparklines if that’s easier for you navigate.

You can also use the yellow pencil icon to open and close more editing options, which include things like changing the status bar colors and adjusting the colors of the tree itself.

There are two other modes to build out your tree as well.

The second mode allows you to build out a tree from scratch, which allows you to build the tree node by node, configuring each one, either based on the data from your model or any custom calculation you want.

Alternatively, in this mode you can use the “Quick Edit” option that allows you to edit all the nodes in one view.

The third mode, Import an Advanced Model, allows you to either import a tree that you exported from a previous tree visual or import data from an Excel template (which you can get by emailing The template is similar to the “Quick Edit” experience you can get through the second mode and is an easy way to build out the constraints and guidelines for the tree. It’s ideal for an analyst who can sit with a business user, write up the requirements in the Excel template, and just import it to automatically get a tree that meets your needs.

The visual comes with sample trees you can test out, and Visual BI, who made the visual, is adding more getting started content to their website as well.

Ready to try ValQ out? Download the visual from AppSource.

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

Advanced Graph Visual

The Advanced Graph in-app purchase custom visual by ZoomCharts is a sophisticated network visual that lets you define and visualize one or multiple bi-directional links and format them as you choose. Some uses of this visual include analyzing money flow, managing and monitoring IT infrastructure, and analyzing social connections.

Some of the core features of this visual include:

  • Automated graph structure – The visual builds a graph structure by identifying relationships between objects with the size of the nodes based on the value for each node.
  • Force feedback layout – The nodes repulse each out and links act as “springs”, resulting in a more efficient and beautiful layout compared to standard network graphs.
  • Rectangular section – Active rectangular section mode by long pressing to select many nodes to examine closer.
  • Customize links and nodes – You can match your corporate style through a variety of formatting options.

Check this visual out on AppSource.

Watch the following video to learn more about the Advanced Graph visual:

Craydec Control Charts

The Craydec Control Charts in-app purchase visual lets you analyze and track your processes and see whether they are in control. This visual also helps you predict the performance of your processes. This type of visual is commonly used as part of the Statistical Process Control (SPC) and is widely used in process improvement paradigms.

Find this visual on AppSource.

Watch the following video to learn more about the Craydec Control visual:

Walkers Animated Pictogram

The Walkers Animated Pictogram by Wishyoulization lets you go beyond simple bar graphs to created animated pictographic bar charts. Using a fun, creative visual such as this can be great for building a more meaningful connection to the emotion behind the data and for making your reports more lively and animated.

Try out this visual on AppSource.

Watch the following video to learn more about the Walker Animated Pictogram visual:

Treemap Bar Chart by MAQ Software

The Treemap bar chart visual displays the breakdown of hierarchical data using color coded proportionate rectangles. A good use case for this visual is breaking down your profit across several different categories at once as countries, regions, and cities.

Some key features of this visual include:

  • Switch between a bar chart and column chart
  • Add total values and data labels for all categories
  • Tooltips with additional insights
  • Animations to examine the visual at the granular level
  • Cross-highlighting support for legend values, axis values, and the bricks
  • Support for bookmarks, report page tooltips, and drillthrough

Download this visual from AppSource.

Watch the following video to learn more about the Treemap Bar Chart visual:

Data connectivity

Essbase connector: Support for Native Query (MDX)

With this month’s release, we’re enhancing the Essbase connector to add support for providing Native Queries (MDX) when using Import mode. Native Queries can be specified as part of the Essbase connector dialog. Note that you will need to specify your Essbase Server and Application name in order to execute native queries.

Intune Data Warehouse connector

The Intune connector allows you to connect to your Intune Data Warehouse to build reports and provide insight into your enterprise mobile environment with Power BI Desktop. This connector connects to version v1.0 of the Data Warehouse.

Tenforce connector

TenForce is a software solution able to provide an integrated overview of a company’s operational reality on a global scale. Mapping all relevant workflows, processes, and actions, TenForce helps its users to smartly plan, track and manage their work, mitigate risk, ensure regulatory compliance and augment their efficiency by a factor 10. The TenForce (Smart)List connector allows users to connect to their TenForce installation, consume its data while respecting privileges, and analyze the results all from within Microsoft Power BI.

Roamler connector

Roamler is an online platform where qualified workers get paid to perform curated and standardized tasks in Retail, Home Installations and Healthcare. These tasks vary from On Shelf Availability audits to installing smart Thermostats. This connector allows you to unleash the task data and visualize it like never before.


Automatic query cancellation for Power BI Desktop

To improve the performance of reports with slower models, Power BI Desktop now automatically cancels obsolete visual queries in four scenarios:

  1. When the visual generates a new query and a previous query hasn’t finished, the previous query gets canceled. This is common when changing filters, multi-selecting in slicers or cross-highlighting.
  2. When you hide a visual, a running query on that hidden visual gets cancelled
  3. When you change pages in a report, any running queries on the previous page get cancelled
  4. When you close a report, any running queries get cancelled

This is the first version of this feature, so there are a few scenarios not supported yet:

  • Automatic query cancellation in the Power BI Service, Report Server, and Embedded
  • Automatic query cancellation when using an On-premise Data Gateway

We plan to invest further in these query cancellation scenarios, so stay tuned for future updates!


That’s all for this month! We hope that you enjoy these updates and all the updates of the past year. 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.

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