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Power BI August 2023 Feature Summary

Headshot of article author Ryan Majidimehr

Welcome to the August 2023 update!

We’ve got a new layout switcher, update to On-Object Interaction (preview), updates to the ORDERBY function, the Editor’s pick of the quarter for visualizations, and more. Continue reading for more details on our new features!



New layout switcher

We’ve added new buttons that make it easy for you to quickly switch between web and mobile layouts while you’re developing your reports. You’ll find the new switcher buttons down at the bottom of the screen, right next to the page navigator.

new layout switcher

New bubble range scaling setting

We are introducing the new bubble range scaling setting for scatter chart and map visuals! This setting gives report creators more control over how the bubble (marker) sizes respond to the data, making it more accurate or distinctive based on preference.

With the magnitude option, the bubble areas closely follow the data proportions. With the data-range option, the bubble size limits are mapped to data minimum and maximum. The auto option, which is the default setting for new reports, selects the appropriate option based on data characteristics. For more information, visit our docs.

This setting can be adjusted in formatting panel, Markers > Shape > Range scaling for scatter charts or Bubbles > Size > Range scaling for maps.

For reports authored in earlier Power BI versions, these settings default to (Deprecated) for scatter charts (which differs in handling negative values), and Data range for map charts.

Azure Maps charts will also include this feature in a coming product update.

azure map chart bubble range setting

In the figure above, the size of each country represents Urban Population, which is also shown on the y-axis.

On-Object Interaction (Preview) – Updates


The new on-object interaction feature released to preview back in March. We’ve been busy adding even more improvements to the preview, here’s what’s part of the Aug release:

Resizing and positioning to the on-object menus

We’ve now added the ability to resize the on-object menus horizontally, this is especially helpful when you’re working with long field names.

on-object resizing and positioning

We’ve also improved the positioning of the on-object menus to make better use of the canvas space. Previously, when a visual was near the bottom of the canvas, the on-object menu was super small and required scrolling to be able to see and use the field wells. Now, the on-object menu moves up and stretches into the canvas to bring the field wells into view without needing to scroll.

Before After
on-object resizing old location on-object resizing new location



On-object format subselections now supported in spotlight and focus mode

When spotlighting a visual or expanding the visual in focus mode, you can now use on-object formatting to subselect and format styles.

On-object format subselections

In focus mode, it can be hard to tell when you’ve entered format mode with just the subtle border. To address this, we’ve added a button to the header to better indicate when you’re in format mode and how to exit format mode while staying in focus mode.

on-object focus mode


Thanks for continuing to try out the new preview! We’re working hard to react to your suggestions and add the necessary changes to make on-object work for you. Please continue to provide your comments directly in this blog post or in our community forum via the “Share feedback” button next to the preview switch.

on-object share learn more feedback


Updates to ORDERBY function

If there are blanks in the data, you can specify where to order them by adding ‘BLANKS LAST’ or ‘BLANKS FIRST’. For example, this is a perfectly valid expression:

BiggestSpender =




ALLSELECTED ( 'DimCustomer' ),

ORDERBY ( SUM ( 'FactInternetSales'[SalesAmount] ), DESC BLANKS LAST)





Specifying how blanks are handled is optional and can be combined with specifying the order direction (DESC/ASC). Valid values include:

  • BLANKS DEFAULT. This is the default value. The behavior for numerical values is blank values are ordered between zero and negative values. The behavior for strings is blank values are ordered before all strings, including empty strings.
  • BLANKS FIRST. Blanks are always ordered on the beginning, regardless of ascending or descending sorting order.
  • BLANKS LAST. Blanks are always ordered on the end, regardless of ascending or descending sorting order.

Read more in our documentation.

Data Connectivity

New modern data connectivity and discovery experience in Dataflows

We are excited to introduce the new data connectivity and discovery experience in Dataflow, Dataflow Gen2, and Datamart. Today, users spend a lot of time finding the right data, the right connection info and credentials. With the new Get Data experience, we make it easy to browse different Fabric artifacts through the OneLake data hub. This improved experience aims to expedite this process and get you closer to the data that you’re looking for in the quickest way possible.

Learn more in our blog post Announcing a new modern data connectivity and discovery experience in Dataflows

Lakehouses (Connector Update)

This update includes significant performance improvements to the Lakehouses connector. Be sure to update to the August version of Power BI Desktop and Gateway to experience these improvements!


XMLA Write support for Direct Lake datasets

We are excited to announce that Direct Lake datasets now support XMLA-Write operations. Now you can use your favorite BI Pro tools and scripts to create and manage Direct Lake datasets.

Whether you prefer SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), Tabular Editor, DAX Studio, or something else, you can connect to your Direct Lake datasets using XMLA endpoints and perform operations such as deploying, customizing, merging, scripting, debugging, and testing. You can use tools like Azure DevOps or GitHub to implement source control, versioning, and continuous integration for your data models. You can automate and streamline your development and deployment processes. You can also use PowerShell or REST APIs to automate tasks such as refreshing or applying changes to your Direct Lake datasets. XMLA Write is incredibly powerful and the key to data modelling efficiency and productivity. For more information about XMLA Write support in general, check out the article Dataset connectivity with the XMLA endpoint in the product documentation.

Automatic replica synchronization for Dataset Scale-Out (preview)

We are excited to announce that we have finalized Dataset Scale-Out configuration APIs and completed the replica synchronization feature. Specifically, you no longer need to enable Scale-Out at the workspace level by using a burdensome XMLA request. The XMLA command is deprecated and will no longer work. You can now enable Scale-Out on a dataset-by-dataset basis using the Power BI REST API for datasets. You also no longer need to synchronize read replicas manually if you want to take advantage of automatic replica synchronization. Automatic replica synchronization is enabled by default. However, it is also possible to disable automatic synchronization to synchronize the read/write and read replicas of a dataset manually for controlled refresh isolation.

Learn more in the automatic replica synchronization announcement blog


Choose your start-up content

Power BI mobile app users can now choose which item they want to have open automatically whenever they launch the Power BI Mobile app. This feature saves time for users who mostly view a specific item on their mobile app, and don’t want to waste time navigating from the app’s home page every time they open the app.


To configure a launch item for yourself, open the item you want to see when you launch the app. This can be a specific report page, dashboard, scorecard, report in an app or entire app. When the item is open, open the More options (…) menu from the header and select Set as launch item. This will mark the item as the launch item. Only one item at a time can be marked as the launch item.


Administrators can also use mobile device management (MDM) tools to remotely configure a launch item for a group of users (front-line workers, for example) to simplify their experience with the app.


Power BI mobile set as launch item


Published AppSource visuals now generate leads in Partner center and CRM

Until recently, your customer leads may have come solely from customers downloading them from However, now you have access to even more leads through Power BI – both the desktop and web embed AppSource.

To access these new leads, simply navigate to the Referrals workspace in Partner Center. Here, you can see all the leads you receive from Power BI, as well as those from Plus, if you’ve connected your CRM, you’ll see them there too.

By utilizing these new leads from Power BI, you can potentially reach more customers and increase your business’s growth. So be sure to check your Referrals workspace and CRM regularly to stay on top of your leads!

Publish a Power BI Project (PBIP) directly from Power BI Desktop

You are now able to directly publish your Power BI Project (PBIP) files directly from Power BI Desktop, eliminating the need to save it as PBIX in order to activate the Publish feature.

From an opened Power BI Project, choose: File > Publish > Publish to Power BI or select Publish on the Home ribbon.

Select the destination workspace:

And that’s it, your PBIP dataset and report (or just report if it’s a Live Connect) will be published to the selected workspace:

To learn more about Power BI Projects, visit:


New visuals in AppSource

The following are new visuals this update:

Editor’s pick of the quarter

Drill Down Combo Bar PRO by ZoomCharts

Drill Down Combo Bar PRO by ZoomCharts offers a wide selection of customization options, letting creators build everything from regular bar charts to box and whisker plots. This visual also offers powerful cross-chart filtering capabilities combined with intuitive on-chart interactions.


  • Multiple chart types – choose between column, line, and area charts
  • Full customization – customize X and Y axes, legend, outline and fill settings
  • Stacking and clustering – choose normal, 100% proportional, or zero-based stacking
  • Static and dynamic thresholds – set up to 4 thresholds
  • Multi-touch device friendly – get the same experience on mouse and touch input devices

Drill Down Combo Bar PRO


  • Sales and marketing – sales strategies, sales results, and campaign-by-campaign marketing metrics
  • Human resources – hiring, overtimes and efficiency ratios by department
  • Accounting and finance – financial performance by region, office, or business line
  • Manufacturing – production efficiencies and quality metrics by product line

ZoomCharts Drill Down Visuals are known for their interactive drilldowns, smooth animations, and rich customization options. They are mobile friendly and support: interactions, selections, custom and native tooltips, filtering, bookmarks, and context menu.

Try Drill Down Combo Bar PRO now by downloading the visual from AppSource.

Learn More about Drill Down Combo Bar PRO by ZoomCharts. 

Sunburst Chart by Powerviz

We are thrilled to present the new Sunburst Chart by Powerviz, a powerful visualization designed to display hierarchical data in a user-friendly and intuitive format. With its concentric circle design, you can easily display part-to-whole relationships and gain valuable insights from your data.

Key Features:

  • Rich Customization: Control display style, labels, Center circle, fill patterns and dynamic images.
  • Color Options: Choose from 30+ color palettes, including color-blind safe options.
  • Ranking: Easily filter the Top/Bottom N by each level and show the remaining categories as “Others”.
  • Conditional Formatting: Easily identify outliers based on value or category rules.
  • Interactive Features: Enjoy full interactivity with zoom, drill down, and cross-filtering for detailed exploration.

Many other features included annotations, grid view, show condition, and accessibility support.

Sunburst Chart

Business Use Cases:

  • Sales and Marketing: Market share analysis and customer segmentation.
  • Finance: Department budgets and expenditures distribution.
  • Operations: Supply chain management, identify inefficiencies in manufacturing process.
  • Education: Course structure, curriculum creation.
  • Human Resources: Organization structure, employee demographics.

Check out our video Introducing Sunburst Visual by Powerviz – A Powerful Power BI Custom Visual

Get Sunburst Visual for FREE from AppSource

Check out the visual features in sample file.

Step by Step instructions and documentation can be found here.

To learn more, visit Powerviz website


xViz Performance Flow by Lumel

xViz Performance Flow by Lumel is an integrated business flow monitoring visual with an interactive KPI tree visualization for organizational performance management use cases. It offers insights into People, Places, Processes and Entities with Performance Indicators, Trendlines, and Advanced Alerting on Goals, Metrics and their Variances.

xViz Performance Flow

Performance Flow is suitable for a wide range of use cases:

  1. Organization Performance – Unveil HR/Employee Performance insights through an interactive pictorial Org Tree Chart with performance attributes and trends.
  2. Process Flow – Visualize business flows in various stages using Swim lanes with connector lines, icons, KPI metrics, and trends in one single integrated view.
  3. Financial Performance – Cost Center analysis with Scorecards or KPI Trees.
  4. Sales Performance – Dive deep into Sales Performance at Regional, Departmental, and Salesperson Levels with Decomposition Trees.

The visual is packed with analytical and interactive features like:

  • Interactive hierarchy navigation including quick search, zooming, subtree analysis, etc.
  • Streamline Processes using Swim Lanes like in Visio
  • Uncover hidden/Dotted connections using Links
  • Data-driven conditional formatting rules
  • Custom Tabs for end-users

Try xViz Performance Flow visual from Microsoft AppSource today. To know more about the visual refer to our website Performance Flow and our video xViz Performance Flow – Introduction


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!