We are excited to announce the following set of features that are available in this week’s Power BI service update:

  1. Suggested questions for Power BI Q&A
  2. Support for inserting shapes in the Report canvas
  3. Option to share dashboards without invite email

 

Suggested questions for Power BI Q&A

With Power BI Q&A, you can explore your data using simple, intuitive questions and receive answers in the form of interactive charts and graphs. To get started with these questions, it helps to know the terms that appear in the data such as column names or row values. There are instances where you may not know the specific terms in your data (e.g. when using a dashboard created by someone else). With this release, we have added a feature to help you get started with Power BI Q&A, even when you do not know anything about the data. To get started with this, navigate to any dashboard and click the “How to ask” link near the Q&A question box.Power BI presents you with a number of suggestions based on your data. 

You can click on any of the suggestions to get started with Q&A. I clicked on the “New stores vs new stores target as a bar” and immediately got the answer in the form of an interactive bar chart.

Questions that have been pinned to the dashboard as well as all tables are automatically populated to help you get started. Look for more improvements in this space over the coming months!

Support for inserting shapes in the Report canvas

Two weeks ago, we introduced support for inserting shapes into the report canvas in Power BI Desktop. This week, we are happy to announce that you can now add shapes to your report canvas when you are authoring and/or editing reports in the Power BI web app. You can insert shapes by clicking on the “Shapes” menu when in “Edit Report” mode. Supported shapes are rectangle, oval, line, triangle and arrow. Several formatting options are available for each shape, such as line/fill colors, rotation, title, background, etc. These options can be found under the formatting pane. Below, I have used shapes to call attention to certain parts of my report and to make some of my text prominent. Option to share dashboards without invite emailUntil now, Power BI sent an email invitation when you share a dashboard with someone else. The recipients needed to click the invite in their email to get access to the dashboard. This works fine when sharing to a small set of people. But in cases where you have to share the dashboard with a larger audience, sending an email invite to everyone might not ideal. To help with these scenarios, we have added the option to turn off email notification when you share a dashboard. Simply uncheck the “Send email notification to recipients” check box in the Power BI share dialog. You will be presented with a URL – copy and share this URL to your colleagues to give them access to the dashboard. This feature is very useful if you have internal corporate portals where you would like to link to different dashboards. Accomplishing this is very simple:

  1. Share the dashboard to all visitors of your internal portal with email notification turned off
  2. Copy the link that you get from the Power BI share dialog and add it to your portal

Anyone who visits your portal and clicks the link will now be able to access to the dashboard. One important note – the dashboard will not be added to the recipients’ Power BI workspace until they navigate to the URL through their browser.

Try out the features and let us know what you think!