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Power BI Report Server September 2022 Feature Summary

Headshot of article author Cookie McCray

We’re excited to bring you a new version of Power BI Report Server this Fall! This release introduces Power BI Report Server (PBIRS) for SQL Server 2022. We continue to innovate, create, and design in a way that gives everyone the ability to achieve more. Designing for inclusivity reflects how people adapt to the world around them. In this new release of PBIRS, we’ve done a lot of accessibility work to make sure we’re empowering people to achieve more. The release includes enhanced Windows Narrator support for the new Windows OS (Operating Systems) and Windows Server, security enhancements, browser performance improvements with Angular, accessibility bug fixes, support for SQL Server 2022 (16.x) Preview instances report server catalog and feature updates.

We also have a variety of new enhancements to authoring capabilities, including New Format Pane, Error Bars, conditional formatting for data labels and many more. Read on for the full list of changes!

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Report Server




Report Server

Refreshed Portal

We’ve improved the Power BI Report Server portal to provide a more inclusive modern graphical interface, making it easier to deliver meaningful reporting on your data from a web-based experience. In the portal, you can view reports, Excel files, and KPIs and navigate through the elements in your report server instance. You can also use the web portal to administer a single report server instance.

Power BI Report Server Web Portal

New Server Properties

We have added new server properties to the ReportServer DB in SQL 2022. To change default configurations, you will need to update them in the advanced property dialog. The advanced properties in Power BI Report Server are like Power BI Service’s tenant settings in the Admin portal.

First, to view the advanced properties dialog, you need to connect to your report server from SSMS.

  1. From Object Explorer select Reporting Services.
    object explorer reporting services
  2. Enter your credentials to connect to your report server.SQL Server
  3.  Right-click on your instance name and select Properties.
  4. The Server Properties dialog box will appear; select Advanced on the left-hand pane.

New features

  • Branding option to add a custom hyperlink
      • CustomUrlLabel 
      • CustomUrlValue 
  • Exclude/included Client IP Address when INFO Logging in Enabled
      • LogClientIPAddress 
  • List view by default option in catalog
      • TileViewByDefault 

If you would like to be a part of the Migration Tool Private Preview panel, please sign up here. We would love to get your feedback on ways to improve RDL migrations to the cloud service.


New Format Pane

The new redesigned format pane is available with PBI Desktop RS September 2022 update!

Major improvements/changes include:

Please read about all changes here.

Table navigation improvements

This update, we are excited to announce several enhancements to the table visual for existing and new reports to improve performance, usability, and accessibility for all users.

These updates include:

  • Overall performance improvements for scrolling and rendering, as well as the look and feel of grid lines and selection styles
  • New keyboard shortcuts for easier navigation, including SHIFT UP/DOWN ARROW to select multiple contiguous rows, PAGE UP/DOWN for scrolling, and HOME/END to move focus to the first/last cell in the current row
  • Enhanced row selection experience that includes a left indicator and improved contrast to help distinguish selected rows from non-selected rows
  • A new two-toned focus outline so on any color background, the focus will always be visible even on darker themes meeting color contrast requirements
  • Updated conditional formatting icons that are conformant with color contrast requirements and now announces alternative text with screen readers
  • The ability to associate images with alternative (alt) text in the formatting pane to describe images to blind and low vision users

Table of 9 columns depicting 15 rows, with 7 highlighted rows and conditional formatting icons and data bars

Learn more about consuming Power BI reports using accessibility features

Error Bars

The error bars feature is available with this update!

You’ll notice a new option to enable data labels for your error bars! Now, just as with data labels on your values, you can get the actual values of the upper and lower bounds directly on the visual.

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You can enable these in the error labels card of the formatting pane, where you can also customize their font styles and color, just as you can with regular data labels. You’ll also see a “match series color” option to allow you to color the error labels with the color of their associated data series.

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We’ve also added new type options for your error bars. Now, on top of being able to create error bars based on upper and lower bound options you set, you can base upper and lower bounds on percentage, percentile, and standard deviation options as well. Choosing Percentage will show you upper and lower bounds as calculated from the displayed value of your value field and choosing Percentile or Standard deviation will show you bounds calculated from the aggregated data points at each X-axis value on your chart.

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Lastly, we’ve included a new “make symmetrical” option for your “by field” error bars. Make symmetrical allows you to choose just one relative measure for your error bars and will mirror that field in both directions. For cases where your upper and lower bounds are the same, this will help you require one less field to create your error bars.

Bold/Italics/Underline for text inside the header tooltip

Since introducing the bold/italics/underline formatting options for text, we’ve been making sure these options are truly supported everywhere. This update, we’ve added these formatting options to header tooltip text as well. Please continue to let us know where we may have missed adding these options!

Conditional formatting for data labels

When we first brought conditional formatting for data labels to Power BI Desktop last year, the scope at which Power BI evaluated your conditional formatting rules was based on the full aggregate of the field across the whole visual, rather than at each data point. This caused all data labels in the visual to come out to the same color. We’ve since heard your feedback that this behaviour isn’t intuitive, and we’re making some changes this month and next to bring conditional formatting for data labels to be more in line with what you expect.

First, this month, conditional formatting on data labels for visuals with one or more measures and no field in the legend field well will now evaluate for data points. This example shows data labels for sales from this year colored blue if sales grew above a certain threshold over last year, or red if they didn’t:

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You can find the conditional formatting options for these labels in the formatting pane, under Data labels > Values > Color. You can set conditional formatting rules for all measures or for individual measures. Formatting set on individual measures takes precedence, so if you’ve explicitly set a color for data labels on all measures and add a conditional formatting rule for just one, the conditional formatting rule will apply to that measure.

The conditional formatting rules for data labels that you’ve already set on current reports will not be affected. This is good for preserving backward compatibility, but not good for getting the per-datapoint “correct” behaviour out to authors. You can get the new behaviour simply by editing your report on this version of Power BI and reapplying the colour conditional formatting rule onto your relevant data labels.

In a coming release, we’ll be bringing this same behaviour to visuals where you also have a field in the Legend field well. We found a critical bug preventing us from shipping the whole feature to you this month, but we decided to at least get one half of it out to you early. In anticipation of the rest of this update, we’re removing the conditional formatting button from the formatting pane for data labels in cases where you have a measure grouped by a legend field. We’re doing this to prevent more users from setting up the “wrong” conditional formatting rules, since as we mentioned, we try our best to preserve prior functionality for existing reports.

Look out for more improvements to visuals and visual formatting in future releases! Now that we’ve brought error bars to general availability, our visuals team has some exciting items lined up for you, and we can’t wait for you to get your hands on them!

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We’ve returned the conditional formatting button to the formatting pane for visuals with legend fields. Keep in mind that the conditional formatting rules for data labels that you’ve already set on current reports will still not be affected until you reapply the rule and publish the report again.

Hierarchical axis by default

One of Power BI’s Cartesian charts’ more useful capabilities is the option to visualize multiple categorical fields in a hierarchical x-axis.

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The grouped x-axis is an organized way to add an additional dimension to the data in your charts, especially when dealing with subcategories that are specific to individual category fields or sequential subcategories such as more granular dates.

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A different form of visualizing these additional dimensions, like using a legend or small multiples, would not be nearly as clear as the hierarchical x-axis.

Before this release, however, formatting a chart to use the hierarchical x-axis was a multi-step process involving:

  1. adding a new field to the X-axis field well and knowing to expand the visual down to the next level, or else nothing would change,
  2. turning off the concatenate labels option in the formatting pane, which would often still result in nothing happening because the user also had to:
  3. sort the visual by the axis fields rather than by value fields, or else categories and subcategories would not be grouped properly.

Chart Description automatically generated

This month, we’ve adjusted some behavior to ensure that hierarchy axis is automatically turned on when a user drags multiple fields into the x-axis field well of charts which support the feature. We’ve turned the concatenate labels option off by default in the formatting pane, we will auto-expand charts down to the bottom of your hierarchy when you add fields to the x-axis field well, and we will also sort on category by default once you drill down. Here’s a little table to show you the exact changes in logic:

Behavior Defaults Before Sept 2022 Defaults After Sept 2022
Concatenate labels option On by default Off by default
Adding new fields to the x-axis field well Adding new fields will not change which fields are shown on the visual (user must manually expand all). Expand to lowest level when:

  • the visual supports hierarchy axis
  • the axis is a categorical or datetime axis (note that numerical fields become categorical when they’re not the top level of a hierarchy)
Sort behavior Sort by measure when the user has not explicitly set a sort. Sort by category when:

  • the visual supports hierarchy axis
  • when the visual is expanded down in any way
  • user has not explicitly set a sort
  • an authoring action is taken (like adding or removing a field; notably, not manually expanding the visual)

Otherwise, sort by measure (or by user-set sort)

This only changes how Power BI responds to authoring actions, so existing reports should not be affected, and you should be able to recreate any previous sort or expand state after this release as well.

We know that adding new conditions to default behavior will create some inconsistencies in what happens when you perform an action. That said, we’re still making these changes with the hope that they will feel intuitive as you create new charts; and that they will save you clicks, formatting pane navigation, and internet troubleshooting by presenting you with the best settings for your needs right out of the box.

Let us know what you think about this update! As we continue to make progress toward both improving our visuals and smoothing out the authoring experience, we’ll need your feedback every step along the way to make sure we’re staying on course.

Improved display name for summarized fields

To improve comprehension for end-users and new creators, we’ve updated the display name for summarized fields to include the default or selected aggregation:

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Previously, default aggregates would be dropped from the display name, and this applies to all aggregates not just the “Sum” aggregate. We’ve received numerous feedback both from end-users and new creators that dropping the aggregate leads to users misinterpreting what aggregate is being applied if any.

For example, in the table below Sales and Unit Price columns do not indicate to users how they are being aggregated. This may cause users to think both columns have a sum aggregate applied, which is not correct for the Unit Price column.

Table Description automatically generated



We are excited to add a new DAX function this month: NETWORKDAYS. This function returns the number of whole working days between two days. Note that you can use any way of expressing a date in Power BI to specify the start and end dates, including the dt”YYYY-MM-DD” notation.

Working days exclude weekends, which are customizable using the optional weekends parameter. By default, this function will use Saturday and Sunday as the weekend days. Any dates provided in an optional holidays parameter will also be excluded when calculating working days.

For example, the following will return a result of 20 working days:

WorkingDays := NETWORKDAYS(DATE(2022,10,1), dt"2022-10-30")

For reference, October 1st, 2022 is a Saturday, and October 30th, 2022 is a Sunday.

The following returns 21 working days, because it specifies the weekend to be Friday and Saturday:

WorkingDaysFriSat := NETWORKDAYS(DATE(2022,10,1), dt"2022-10-30", 7)

Finally, the following returns a result of 19 working days, because it specifies two working days in the timespan as holidays:

WorkingDaysFriSatHolidays :=
VAR _holidays = {DATE(2022, 10, 3), DATE(2022, 10, 4)}

RETURN NETWORKDAYS(DATE(2022, 10, 1), dt"2022-10-30", 7, _holidays)

Read more about this function in our documentation.



Data hub in Power BI Desktop

Power BI report creators primarily use Power BI Desktop to build new content and then publish it to the Power BI service.

When building new reports, instead of connecting to external data sources, the best practice is to connect to curated data available to them in Power BI.

In Power BI Desktop, just as in the Power BI service, we would like to bring all Power BI data items into a single experience. For this reason, we’ve brought the Data hub into Power BI Desktop.

With the Data hub, users can find datasets and datamarts side by side, filter and search to find the data they need, and then connect to create a report.

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You can now easily discover and connect to Datamarts from the “Data hub” within the Power BI Desktop Ribbon. This feature allows users to discover datamarts that have already been created and reuse them to easily build reports.

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You will be able to see datamarts that you have created or were shared with you by others in the organization. This will connect you to the datamart’s underlying auto-generated dataset (using live connect) so that you can easily create reports.

Data hub improvements – data preview and export

The dataset details page helps you explore, monitor, and leverage datasets to gain insights. When you click on a dataset in the data hub or in a workspace, the details page for that dataset opens.

With this release you can see data preview and export data from a dataset in just a couple of clicks.

To preview data from a dataset, you can select a table or columns from the Tables view on the right-side pane. Previews may not show all the data you’ve selected. To see more, you can export or customize this table. Read more in this blog post.

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Power BI Desktop infrastructure update (WebView2)

Thanks for your patience while we switch to WebView2 as part of the infrastructure update. As we are getting closer to GA we want to make sure we have solved as many issues as possible. Starting with this release you will see the following warning every time you launch Power BI Desktop if you don’t have WebView2 installed yet.

If you see this, please install WebView2 and enable it. Read how in this blog.

Licensing API

Now you can sell, manage, and enforce licenses directly through the commercial marketplace!

Use our new licensing API with 4.7 API which is already available, to enforce the license and provide a unique standardized licensing experience for customers.

Read more about it in our latest blog.

And that’s all for our September 2022 release of Power BI Report Server! We hope that you enjoy these updates for this release. 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.

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