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Power BI Report Server January 2020 Feature Summary

Like always, we are happy to announce a new version Power BI Report Server for January 2020! This release brings in a bunch of exciting features such as buttons conditional formatting, data profiling enhancements, and more formatting settings for KPI and table visuals! Keep reading to learn more about the new features and many other new capabilities in this release.

 

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Here is the complete list of updates:

Reporting

Analytics

Data preparation

Other

Reporting

Export data from a visual

We would like to start with a major ask from our community. We are happy to announce that with this release you will be able to export data from a visual the same way you can do it today in the Power BI service.

To export the data, just like in Power BI, select More options (…) from the upper right corner of the visualization and then choose Export data. You will be presented a dialog box with the different options to export including which data you want to export (summarized or underlying data depending on how the visual was created) and the file format.

 

 

After that, depending on which browser you are using, you might be prompted to save the file or you might see a link to the exported file at the bottom of the browser.

Setting a table column or matrix value as a custom URL

We are introducing a new conditional formatting option that allows you set a table’s column or matrix’s value as a custom URL. You’ll find this new option under the conditional formatting card in the formatting pane.

 

 

Once you turn it on, you’ll be able to pick a field to use as the URL for the column.

 

 

An exciting aspect about this feature it’s that it was done by a Power BI Contributor, James Dales. Contributors are members of the Power BI community that work in the Power BI code base to add new features of choice. Thank you, James, for contributing to Power BI!

 

 

KPI visual formatting settings

As part of his contributions to Power BI, James also added a ton of formatting options for the KPI visual. The KPI visual itself has been around for a while, but when compared to other Power BI visuals, the formatting options were a bit limited before.

The new KPI formatting options include:

  • Indicator text formatting (font family, color, and alignment)
  • Trend axis transparency
  • Goal and distance text formatting (label text, font family, color, and size)
  • Distance text formatting (label text, positive direction, font family, color, and size)
  • Adding a date label with formatting (font family, color, and size)

 

 

Some of these new formatting options can also be conditionally formatted.

  • Indicator font color
  • Goal font color and Goal Distance font color
  • The good/bad/neutral status colors
  • Date font color

Analytics

Conditional formatting for buttons

You can now dynamically set formatting for the following button properties:

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

As a reminder, 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.

 

 

Load more for Analyze insights

When running the Analyze feature to find insights in your data, such as Explain the increase, we only run the ML models for a period of time to show you insights in a timely manner. However, if there’s a lot of data to analyze, you can now choose to continue to run the analysis after the initial timeout.

 

 

You’ll be able to use the play button in the top right of the flyout to continue running the analysis. After each continuation, the insights shown will update to include the top 10 most relevant insights.

 

 

New DAX function: Quarter

We have a new DAX function, Quarter. The Quarter function returns the quarter corresponding to a specified date.

Data preparation

Data profiling enhancements

We’re introducing a couple of significant enhancements to our Data Profiling capabilities within the Power Query Editor, including:

  • Multiple Grouping options for the Column Profile pane value distribution visual, specific by column type, in addition to the existing “By Value” criteria:
    • Text: By Text Length (number of characters).
    • Number: By Sign (positive/negative) and Parity (even/odd).
    • Date/DateTime: By Year, Month, Day, Week of Year, Day of Week, AM/PM Time and Hour within a day.
    • And more for other data types (Logical True/False), etc.

 

  • Filter options: Not only can you now leverage several type-specific grouping criteria within the Colum Profiles distribution pane but also we’ve enabled filtering from within the callouts for each of the values in the distribution chart when the grouping criteria is applied. For example, you can easily exclude all values that fall in a given Month right from the Data Profiles pane for a Date/DateTime column.

 

Other

New file format: .pbids

We are releasing a new file format: PBIDS, to streamline the “Get Data” experience for report creators in your organization. It’s recommended that admins create these files for commonly used connections to help the getting started experience for new report authors.

When an author opens a .PBIDS file, Power BI Desktop will launch and prompt for authentication to connect to the data source specified in the file. Then the navigation dialog will pop-up and the user will need to select the tables to load into the model. They may also need to select the database(s) if one was not specified in the file. From there the user can start building visualizations or revisit “Recent sources” to load a new set of tables into the model.

For the admin to create this file, they will need to specify in the file the required inputs for a single connection and they can specify the mode of the connection. The “mode” can be either “DirectQuery” or “Import”. If “mode” is missing/null, the user that opens the file in Desktop will be prompted to select DirectQuery or Import.

Here is an example of a PBIDS file for a SQL Server connection:

{

  “version”: “0.1”,

  “connections”: [

    {

      “details”: {

        “protocol”: “tds”,

        “address”: {

          “server”: “<<server-name>>”,

          “database”: “<<db-name (Optional)>>”

        }

      },

      “options”: {},

      “mode”: “DirectQuery”

    }

  ]

}

And here’s an example for a SharePoint list. Please note that the URL must point to the SharePoint site itself and not to a list within the site. The user will get a navigator which allows them to select one or more lists from that site which will each become a table in the model.

{

  “version”: “0.1”,

  “connections”: [

    {

      “details”: {

        “protocol”: “sharepoint-list”,

        “address”: {

          “url”: “<Sharepoint Site URL>”

        }

      }

    }

  ]

}

More examples can be found in our documentation page.

 

Performance improvements for modeling operations

We have made a performance improvement in the Analysis Services engine to speed up modeling operations (such as adding measures or calculated columns, creating relationships, etc.) when the model satisfies the following conditions:

  • Contains a lot of calculations
  • Uses any of the UseRelationship or CrossFilter functions
  • Uses any of the Today, Now, Random, etc. volatile functions

While the actual improvement will be highly dependent on the model, we have seen 20x performance improvement for some customers when doing things like opening the file and adding a measure.

 

That’s all for the January 2020 release of Power BI Report Server! We hope that you enjoy these updates. Please continue sending us feedback and don’t forget to vote for other features that you’d like to see in the Power BI.

 

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