Skip to main content

Power BI September 2021 Feature Summary

Headshot of article author Jeroen ter Heerdt

Welcome to the September 2021 update; time flies and it’s Fall already! Here, in the Pacific Northwest, the first leaves have turned red and started falling. In this update, we have exciting new things for buttons, line charts, and DAX functions. Also, Insights is new this month and we have added some new capabilities for Goals. There is more to explore; please continue to read on.

Desktop Download button




Data connectivity and preparation





Paginated Reports

Ideas forum updates

Check out the video below for this month’s summary:




New formatting options for buttons

We’re incredibly excited to announce that we’ve updated the buttons in Power BI to now include a lot more formatting options, including new shapes, custom icons, and more!

Before we dive into the details of the new formatting options, we want to thank Ethan Netz, the contributor that worked on adding these new capabilities to buttons!

Ethan Netz – Medium

Previously, buttons were only available in the Rectangle shape. Now with this release, you have a lot more shapes to choose from:

  • Arrow
  • Chevron Arrow
  • Pentagon Arrow
  • Heart
  • Hexagon
  • Isosceles Triangle
  • Octagon
  • Oval
  • Parallelogram
  • Pentagon
  • Pill
  • Rectangle
  • Right Triangle
  • Rounded Rectangle
  • Speech bubble
  • Tab: Single Corner Rounded
  • Tab: Single Corner Snipped
  • Tab: Top Corners Rounded
  • Tab: Top Corners Snipped
  • Trapezoid

While Rectangle is still the default shape for buttons, you can change to shape by navigating to the Shape tab of the Format button pane:

In addition to new shapes available for buttons, this release also includes new formatting options such as:

  1. Custom image or icon for your button

You can find this option by navigating to the Icon tab of the Format button pane and selecting the Custom option for Icon:

Once you add your image you can also customize the Image fit:

2. Easy icon placement options

You can find these options in the Icon placement dropdown of the Icon tab:

If you select the Custom option, you can control icon’s vertical and horizontal alignment:

3. Control Icon margin (padding)

4. Customize and fix the Icon size

By default the Icon size is set to Auto, meaning that as you resize the button, the icon size will automatically change in size.

However, now you have the option to set a fixed Icon size (in pixels):

5. Drop Shadow effects

6. Glow effects

7. Button Shape rotation and Text rotation

Toggle total columns in waterfall charts

We’ve heard your feedback, and you can now turn off total columns in your waterfall charts! You will find this new toggle in the Y axis card in the formatting pane. Turn it on, and the totals of your waterfall charts will be removed. Note that if you have a breakdown field, your visual will have subtotal columns but not a total column, so you will not see this option in the formatting pane. Please continue sending us your feedback and ideas!

Line chart series labels

This month, we’ve included a new option to create and format series labels in your line charts. Using the series labels option in the formatting pane, you can turn on and format labels that appear on the left or right sides of your series categories in line charts. These supplement the legend in providing clarity on which lines are associated with which categories. Let us know what you think, and if you would like to see additional formatting options or controls for this new chart element!

Sensitivity label support for Power BI template files

In Power BI Desktop you can create and use templates to create new reports. MIP sensitivity labels enable you to properly classify Power BI files.  Now you can also apply a MIP label to Power BI template files (.pbit). Upon export to Power BI template, a MIP label and protection set on a Power BI file (.pbix) will be applied on the new template file. When a new report is created from the template file, the label will be applied too.



Insights preview

The Insights feature helps users easily find and explore insights such as anomalies, trends, and KPI analysis in their data as they interact with and consume their reports. It proactively notifies a user if there are interesting insights in their reports and provides explanations for the insights. It works out of the box on any report so consumers can automatically get insights without any setup or configuration by the creators. Insights is supported for reports in Premium and Premium Per User (PPU) workspaces. You can also use this capability in non-premium workspaces if you have a PPU license.

When you open a report, Power BI automatically runs insights analysis and shows you toast notifications if there are Top insights in your data. Top insights are those that are noteworthy based on factors like recency, significance. For example, a huge anomaly in the previous day or steep trend in the last week.

Clicking on See Insights on this toast, opens up the insights pane.

You can also click on Get insights in the action bar at any time to see insights about the current report page.


Selecting More options (…) in the upper-right corner of a visual and then Get insights shows you insights about just that visual.

The Insights pane currently shows you three types of insights – Anomalies, Trends, and KPI analysis.

Clicking on the card shows you more details about the insight and possible explanations.

Please check out this blog and documentation for more details. We greatly appreciate any feedback in terms of what you liked about the feature and how we can improve it! If you have any feedback for the team, please comment on our community post.




Shortcut expression for CALCULATE now supports aggregation functions

We have made it easier to write filters for the CALCULATE and CALCULATETABLE functions. You can now use aggregation functions in the filters when they are used in Boolean (True/False) expressions. Please note that the newly supported syntaxes improve the readability of the DAX expressions but don’t impact performance when compared to their more verbose equivalent expressions. Below are some examples of the newly supported syntax:

CALCULATE([Total Sales], DimProduct[UnitPrice] > MEDIAN(DimProduct[UnitPrice]))


New parameter for XIRR function

In certain situations, the XIRR function (a financial function that can be used to calculate the internal rate of return) is unable to find a solution and returns an error. Starting with this release we’ve added a fifth and optional parameter that enables you to specify an alternate result which will be returned instead of an error whenever the XIRR function cannot find a solution.

Making it easier to format based on a user’s locale

The FORMAT function enables you to convert a value to text according to a specified format. This month, we’re adding the ability to specify a locale. For example, if you wanted to show a date in the English / Great Britain locale you could write:

FORMAT( dt”2010-12-03T12:30:59”, “General date”, “en-GB” )

This returns 03/12/2010 12:30:59, where the day precedes the month, and the time is written in 24-hour format.

If you wanted to show a date in the English / United States locale you could write:

FORMAT( dt"2010-12-03T12:30:59", BLANK(), "en-US" )

This returns 12/3/2010 12:30:59 PM, where the month precedes the day, and the time is written in 12-hour format. Note that this second example does not specify a format string alltogether.

If you specify a format string that is not locale-dependent such as “mm/dd/yyyy” that format string will be used, and any locale specified will not be used. Hence, the following will return 12/3/2010 even though “en-GB” is specified as the locale:

FORMAT( dt"2010-12-03T12:30:59", "mm/dd/yyyy", "en-GB" )

As another example, consider the following:

FORMAT( 123456.78, "###,###.##", "nl-NL")

This returns 123.456,78 as in the Netherlands (nl-NL locale) the comma is used as the decimal separator and the thousand separator is a dot, whereas switching the locale to “en-US” returns 123,456.78 as in the USA it’s the other way around.

Note that these examples leverage the new way of expressing datetime values in DAX introduced last month. Of course, you can pass in a column reference or use the date functions to provide the date and time. Please refer to the documentation for more information about what format strings and locales you can provide as the second and third parameter respectively.

Data connectivity and preparation


The Power BI Connector
in Power Automate 

We are happy to announce that the Power BI Connector in Power Automate is now in general availability. This connector allows Power BI users to use Power Automate to perform actions within Power BI including refresh a dataset, perform exports on Power BI reports or perform an action when a data driven alert is fired. Over the coming months, we will add additional actions to the connector so stay tuned.

AssembleViews (GA)

This connector is now generally available.

Azure Databricks (Connector Update)

This update adds support for export and import of PBIDS files

Bloomberg Enterprise Data and Analytics (GA)

This connector has been updated. Please find below notes from the Bloomberg team.

“This connector is no longer considered in “Beta.” In addition, our recent update changed the entry field from a single-line to a multiple-line entry so users can see their full BQL query.”

DataVirtuality (Connector Update)

This connector update adds a mapping for string data type with large size to allow usage of that data type in Direct Query Report Visuals. It further improves comfort for handling of unencrypted connections in create connection process.

Exasol (Connector Update)

This update contains the following changes:

  • DSN support
  • Limited Kerberos authentication support
  • Implicit authentication is now also possible


Vena (GA)

This connector is now generally available and has made error handling improvements.



Power BI Goals: automated status rules preview

One of the important attributes of a goal defined within Power BI scorecards is its status.  With this new release, scorecard authors will be able to automate status updates based on rules that govern that goal or subgoal.

Users will be able to precisely set when goals are on track or falling behind.  Scorecard authors will be able to set up rules that automate statuses based on the value, percentage of target met, date conditions, or a combination of the three.

Once those rules are set, you can assign the priority by simply dragging them into place.

Power BI goals: improved filtering preview

With this new release, we have incorporated improved filtering capabilities. Now, you can easily view all the goals labelled as a particular status by clicking on the summary cards, making it easier than ever to see at a glance what’s at risk and what’s on track.

We have also included a keyword search, making it easy to search for specific goals and see how they’re doing at a glance, without losing context of the parent/child relationships.

Please check out this documentation for more details. We greatly appreciate any feedback in terms of what you liked about the feature and how we can improve it!  If you have any feedback for the team, please comment on our community post.

APIs to determine who has access
to what Power BI artifacts preview

We have a new set of APIs that allow you to programmatically retrieve user and permission information for most Power BI assets (reports, dashboards, datasets, dataflows, workspaces, and capacities). They can help Power BI administrators support access review audits, understand oversharing risks, and see who has access to Power BI assets. For this Public Preview, we are releasing two types of APIs. The first one requires you to supply an asset identifier and will output the users and groups that have been granted access to the asset. The second one is an extension to the Scanner Admin API to that adds users or security groups with their access levels for one or more workspaces.

When you need to spot check access rights for a particular asset, such as a report, a dashboard or dataset, to assess potential data leakage risk, you want to leverage the Who has Access to an Asset API, such as the GetReportUsersAsAdmin API. When your infosec team asks you perform an access review audit across the entire tenant or multiple workspaces, the scanner API with user permission extension will come in handy. It gives you user access information for various Power BI assets across all your workspaces.

To learn more about these APIs, please read up on this blog post!

Service Principal support
for read-only Admin APIs 

To better support the security constraints of some organizations, we added service principal support for the scanner Admin APIs. Service principal is an authentication method that can be used to let an Azure AD application access Power BI APIs. This gets rid of the need to maintain a service account with an admin role. To allow your app to use the Admin APIs, you only need to give your approval once as part of the tenant settings configuration. We made this a Public Preview feature last December and are happy to announce GA now. The difference for GA is the added support for new Admin APIs to determine who has access to what Power BI artifacts. For more information on how to enable Service Principal and a complete list of APIs that can be supported, please refer to this document.



Goals now available in Power BI Mobile apps

Now while you’re on the go, you can monitor your goals and scorecards and even check in progress, directly from the mobile app!

A new Goals hub has been added to the app, making it possible for you to view your scorecards and closely monitor your assigned goals. With the mobile app’s new Goals hub, you can stay on top of your targets from anywhere at any time.

To keep your goals up to date, you can update values using either Quick check-in or New check-in.

Read more in this blog.

Explore content that’s relevant to you (Android and iOS)

Enhance your Power BI mobile experience and productivity by exploring content from your organization that has been picked especially for you. It’s there for you on the Home page in the new Recommended strip, or on the new Explore page.

Now you can request access to reports from your mobile app

Has someone sent you a link to a report, but it’s not shared with you, and you don’t have access? Now you can request access directly from the app!



We are moving Power BI visual offers to Commercial Marketplace within Partner Center

Who should be aware of this?
If you have one or more Power BI visual offers, either published or as a draft.

Why are we moving?
To streamline offer management experience, multiple improvements are coming with this migration and many more to come in future.

When is this happening?
In few weeks. During the migration, your customers will still be able to find and acquire your offers.

How will that impact my offers?
You can continue accessing your offers in Office Store till the move, you are required to enroll to the Commercial Marketplace (CMP) to continue managing your Power BI visual offers in Partner Center.
When the offer migration is complete, your Power BI visual offers will not be accessible in Office Store and can only be accessed from CMP for those who are enrolled.

What should I do?
Complete the enrollment to CMP here. Additionally, you may follow the in-portal instructions in Office Store within Microsoft Partner Center ( to complete the enrollment.

What new features are coming with this migration?
With this migration publishers will submit their files (PBIX and PBIVIZ) directly to Partner center, you don’t need to email the support team to get the XML. This is a significant benefit that simplifies the submission process.
“Compare” feature to see changes from previously submitted version before publishing your offer, enhanced informative messages to provide with more details on the visual submission status, enhanced review and publish page to provide more details about offer setup.

Where can I get more information? 
Learn more about the Partner Center experience for commercial marketplace.
If you have questions or need help with publishing and managing your offers, submit a support ticket and we’ll respond by phone or email.



PAFnow Process Mining flowchart visual by Process Analytics Factory GMBH

PAFnow Process Mining Visual is a powerful tool for the analysis of your business processes based on event data. Use this visual to explore process variants, identify bottlenecks, reveal root causes, and much more.

With PAFnow you can obtain a facts-based, data-driven Process Visualization that will allow you to realize the following business benefits:

  • Reduce Operational Costs
  • Improve Operating Margin
  • Improve Efficiency
  • Accelerate Automation with RPA

Newly added features:

  • Filter preview to see how filters will change the visual
  • Breadcrumbs for filter history to discard and add filters easily
  • More flexibility in display options of edge and node labels and tooltip

You can test drive the PAFnow Process Mining visual to accelerate your projects. The in-app purchase of this visual, enables a seamless upgrade to PAFnow Enterprise for advanced analysis features, additional visuals, and unlimited events., there are no purchases required to use the visual itself.

You can check this visual out on AppSource and watch the following video to learn more about the PAFnow Process Mining visual.

Drill Down Network PRO by ZoomCharts

Introducing Drill Down Network PRO by ZoomCharts – the visual that will make it easy to explore networks of category-based data.

This visual for Power BI will have no trouble turning your multi-level pie chart into a network chart that lets you view relations and spot outliers. The force feedback layout prevents nodes from overlapping, you can set the location for the node labels, and enjoy fluid on-chart interactions.

Among the main features of Drill Down Network PRO you will find:

  • Full customization – choose from multiple node shapes, customize vertices, edges, and more.
  • Cross-chart filtering – instead of using slicers, select data points on multiple charts.
  • Image support – spruce up your reports with images to emphasize vertices.
  • Drill through support – examine data in more detail when selecting the last drill through level.
  • Multi-touch device friendly – get the same data exploration experience on any device.

To evaluate the capabilities of Drill Down Network PRO for free, start your 30-day trial period now. You can download Drill Down Network PRO from the AppSource and Learn More about Drill Down Network PRO.

Annotated Bar by Queryon

This custom visual combines bar chart functionality with customizable labels so your users focus on key data in a bar chart. Users can customize your label color, font, size, and position of the bar and can drill down by clicking on labels or the bar itself.

Multiple Bar styles like Stacked, Side-by-Side (Clustered), and Overlapping (a.k.a. Bar in a Bar) are available. Overlapping bars help visualize the comparison between two things when one is inherently a part of the other, such as a project budget versus expenditures to date.

* Show Actual vs Budget * Show Progress Towards a Goal * Individual vs Aggregate Scores *

Graphomate pictograms 2021.2 by Graphomate

Science proofed, that it is easier for viewers to recall certain data if it is shown as a pictogram or icon. So why not use the graphomate pictograms in your reports to illustrate numbers quickly and comprehensibly with the help of symbols and icons? Choose icons from an existing palette or insert your own symbols (e. G. product icons) as you like. The graphomate pictograms allow the scaling of a single icon as a fixed unit.

Advantages of graphomate pictograms are:

  • freely selectable icons per data series and data point
  • horizontal or vertical alignment
  • alternative: central axis, from which a data series begins to the left and right
  • any image (jpeg, gif, png, svg) can be used also DataURL is supported

Make use of the seamless integration of our custom visuals and use filters and slicers side by side with the standard visuals.

Go ahead and try the graphomate pictograms by downloading it from the AppSource. Find the detailed documentation here and Link to the sample Report.

New visuals in AppSource


Editor’s pick of the month


Paginated Reports


New version of Power BI Report Builder

A new version of Power BI Report Builder is now available! With this update of Power BI Report Builder, the 64-bit version is now available from the Microsoft Download Center, in addition to the Microsoft Store, for enhanced memory limits and other performance gains. Enhanced support for Date/Time parameters is now provided. This update also includes a number of accessibility fixes related to keyboard shortcuts and screen reading tools. Please note that previously installed third-party data providers may need to be updated to their 64-bit versions.

Download – Microsoft Download Center.

Download – Microsoft Store App.

Ideas forum updates

In the last few weeks, we’ve heard feedback about some issues on the Ideas forum, particularly around rich format of text in comments and ideas. We discovered an issue with the rich text editor used in the forum, which means we will have to disable rich text while we find an alternative. Until we do, ideas submissions will be plain-text only. We are going to take the opportunity for this update to add the ability to paste images inline into the ideas/comments, so please bear with us while we make the change.

We realize there is no easy way for you to see if problems you hit like this are something we are working on or not, and the need for more transparency. In response we’re going to stand up a ‘known issues’ section on our FAQ page, linked from the forum. If your issue isn’t listed there, you can click the Help link at the top of the site next to the login link to contact the Ideas platform team and get support or file a bug.

Finally, some folks have needed to edit comments or ideas made. At the moment this isn’t possible, and full edit and delete support is in our backlog. For any emergency changes you have please contact the Ideas platform team via the Help link or on email at



That is all for this month! Please continue sending us your feedback and do not forget to vote for other features that you would like to see in Power BI! We hope that you enjoy the update! If you installed Power BI Desktop from the Microsoft Store, please leave us a review.

Also, don’t forget to vote on your favorite feature this month over on our community website. 

As always, keep voting on Ideas to help us determine what to build next.

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Desktop Download button