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Power BI Service and Mobile February and March 2020 feature summary

Headshot of article author Nikhil Gaekwad

With the ongoing concerns of COVID-19, it’s fair to say business hasn’t been as usual for the Power BI team. All of us have been working from home for over a month now and following strict social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of this outbreak. We hope everyone out there is staying safe and healthy in these unprecedented times. Our thoughts are with those affected and the medical professionals tirelessly working to help those in need. On the brighter side, we’re continuing to roll out features as per schedule for both the Power BI service and mobile. Here’s a quick recap of all the announcements made in February and March:

General availability of BYOK for Power BI Premium

We kicked off February by announcing the General Availability (GA) of Bring Your Own Key (BYOK) for Power BI Premium. This feature gives enterprises the ability to configure the encryption key used to encrypt their data when it’s stored in the Microsoft cloud. With BYOK, each premium capacity can be set to encrypt data at rest using separate keys. As a result, you can exercise control over each capacity separately, revoke your organization’s keys and make the data in each separate capacity unreadable to the service within 1 hour. Learn more

General availability of Incremental Refresh with Pro users support

You asked, we delivered. With our announcement of incremental refresh reaching General Availability (GA), we also made it available in Pro! For those you who aren’t already familiar, incremental refresh is a critical capability that unlocks actionable insights for intelligent decision-making over very large datasets. It is a great example of how Power BI provides a simplified management experience for enterprise BI. Where traditionally (on Azure Analysis Services for example) customers would write and maintain complex code for this purpose, the incremental refresh feature allows the definition of a refresh policy using a simple dialog. The Power BI service then does the work of managing partitions for optimized data loads. Together with the large models feature, incremental refresh can enable datasets to grow to very large sizes. Refreshes are faster and more reliable, and you don’t need to reload all the historical data every time. Learn more

New Power BI tab for Microsoft Teams

Bringing data to where people collaborate helps drive data culture within organizations. To make it easier for everyone to find and track the data they need to achieve their objectives, we added a new Power BI tab for Microsoft Teams. The new tab supports for reports which are either found in the new workspace experiences, Power BI apps, or simply created as a paginated report. Learn more

Featured content on Power BI Home

We made it much easier for organizations to set the default recommended content for their end users by introducing Featured content on Power BI Home. With this feature, administrators or designated promoters will have a dedicated section on Home to promote reportsdashboards, and apps. By setting default content, organizations can ensure new users will discover relevant content and have a standardized experience for navigating within the service. Check out the announcement blog to learn more.

Export report to PDF, PPTX and PNG files using Power BI REST API

In the Power BI service, users already had to capabilities to export reports to PDF or PPTX. However, in March, we took it a step further by adding an additional layer of capabilities that allows users to export a Power BI report by using a REST call in the following file formats: PDF, PPTX (PowerPoint) and PNG. Read the announcement blog to get all the details.

Revamped global search in the Power BI service

We rolled out a new, revamped search experience that allows users to search for reports, dashboards, apps, and workspaces from any page in the Power BI service. Try out the feature if you haven’t done so already or read the announcement blog to learn about all the new capabilities.

Performance improvements to Multi Geo Premium capacities

To deliver the best-in-class, fully compliant consumption experiences for all Power BI users, we made performance improvements to Premium Capacities configured in remote locations (aka Multi Geo capacities). Now, remote users dependent on the remote capacity for viewing reports no longer need to have their browsers connect to the home region while viewing and interacting with reports. This will make the reports to load faster and the data exploration experience more responsive. Learn more

Public preview of read/write XMLA endpoints in Power BI Premium

In late March, we announced the public preview of read/write capabilities for the XMLA endpoint in Power BI Premium. The read/write capability introduces many additional scenarios for dataset management, advanced semantic modeling, debugging, and monitoring. It is also backwards compatible with Azure Analysis Services and SQL Server Analysis Services tools, making it easier to migrate Analysis Services models to leverage next-generation capabilities in Power BI. Learn more

Updates to On-premises data gateway

In addition to releasing the March update for the On-premises data gateway (version 3000.31.3), we also made enhancements to gateway management operations on Power Platform Admin center which includes Gateway Member Status, State and Remove Operation, Gateway Cluster Status, Remove Gateway Clusters, and Gateway Cluster Settings. Check out the announcement blog to learn more.

Updates to the Power BI mobile apps

There were multiple updates that went out in February and March for the mobile apps in various platforms. Here’s an overview:

Interaction settings

We added a new section to mobile app settings called Interaction. This section has several items that you can configure to define how the app behaves, including:

  • Docked report footer (phone only): Choose whether you want the report footer to stay fixed at the bottom of the report, or to hide and reappear based on your actions in the report, such as scrolling. If you choose to have the footer fixed, it will be hidden only when you view a report in full screen. In all other cases, it will always be visible on the screen, so all actions will be easily available for you.
  • Multi select: When it is turned on, each tap you make on a data point in report is added to previously selected data points, and the combined result is highlighted across all visuals.  And what if you want to unselect a data point? Just tap it again.
  • Report refresh (Android phone only): Choose how to refresh reports. You can either add a refresh button to the report header or use the pull-to-refresh action (pulling down slightly from top to bottom) in the report page.
  • Single tap in reports (phone only): When single tap is turned on, you tap only once on a visual, button, or slicer to start interacting with its data. When single tap is turned off, you have to tap twice – once to select the visual and again to start interacting with its data.

Read more about interaction settings here.

Platform specific enhancements

  • Scanning is now available on iPad: You can now scan barcode to filter reports, or use QR code to quickly open report from iPad
  • Power BI Windows App now supports PBIX-RS reports.
  • Enable Android biometric identification to protect your Power BI data: Use device built-in protection to secure your Power BI data and get the privacy you need. You can now configure your app to require Fingerprint ID or passcode for accessing Power BI, to ensure your data is seen by your eyes only.

Roadmap updates

Lastly, we also released the 2020 release wave 1 plan that describe all new features releasing from April through September 2020 for Power BI service. Check out the planned features section to get a sneak peek of what our engineers are working on for the upcoming months. Please note that these release notes are updated weekly with details on shipping dates, screenshots, and new announcements.