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Power BI Desktop May Update Feature Summary

Headshot of article author Filip Karadzic

This month we are adding some hotly requested features to our product.


This is what we have for you in the May update of Power BI Desktop:

Report View

  • Customizable tooltips
  • Conditional formatting in tables
  • Publish to Pyramid server
  • Scrolling loads more data in charts
  • Keyboard nudging for visuals


  • Quick Calcs – % of grand total

Data Connectivity

  • New data connectors:
    • Informix
    • comScore Digital Analytix
    • Troux
    • Planview Enterprise
  • Improved DB2 connector
  • Text/CSV connector exposes editable settings in preview dialog
  • Improved relational database connectors with Display Schema information
  • Data Source Settings enhancements
  • Advanced “Filter Rows” dialog mode
  • Inline Input controls for Function invocation within the Query Editor
  • Query Parameters:
    • Ability to convert queries to parameters (and vice versa)
    • Support for URL parameterization and multi-part URLs in Web connector
    • Support for parameterization in Conditional Columns dialog
  • Ability to “Save As” a Power BI Template
  • Support for reordering Query Steps by using drag & drop
  • Date picker support in Conditional Columns dialog input Date fields
  • New context menu entry to create new queries from the Queries pane

For a summary of the major updates, you can watch the following video:

Report View

Customizable Tooltips

Tooltips have become an essential component in elegantly providing more context and detail to the end user.

By default, a tooltip displays only the value and the category of the data point.  Often times, this is not enough and customers would need to have additional context that is found in another measure.

With this update, users are able to customize the fields that are shown in the tooltip of all visual controls.  Simply drag any data measure into the Tooltip bucket in order for that field to be shown in the tooltip.


You can then further customize the value shown in the tooltip by selecting an aggregation function or a Quick Calc to be applied to the field when shown, by clicking on the arrow beside the field in the Tooltips bucket:


More details about Customizable Tooltips in the following video:

Conditional formatting in tables

A much requested feature, it allows users to color cell backgrounds based on the value of the data in the cell.  The coloring follows a gradient based on the data value.

To access conditional formatting settings right click or click the arrow of the measure you want to format:


Then you can configure the color and the min/max values associated.


The result is a formatted table that overrides any custom table styles for the conditionally formatted cells.


To remove conditional formatting, right click the measure again:



More details about Conditional formatting in the following video:

Publish to Pyramid server

If you’re not ready to move your PBIX reports and data to the cloud, but you want to share analytics content across the enterprise, giving Power BI Desktop users the ability to publish PBIX files to an on-premise or private cloud server, the added functionality of the “Publish to Pyramid Server” button now makes this possible.  This feature gives users the ability to:

  • Connect Power BI Desktop content to and from other sources and apply common filters and interactions (e.g. dimensional slicers).
  • Secure content using BI Office’s security model for users and groups.
  • Blend everything into a single dashboard that can be shared with a large number of users and consumers.

Scrolling loads more data in charts

Cartesian charts (line, bar, column, area) can now load data dynamically when it is needed by the end user.  If there are more data points than we can fit nicely in the chart, simply move the scroll-bar all the way to the right and if more data is available it will automatically be loaded and the chart updated.


Note that you must have your axis set to Categorical in order for the data not to be summarized, but loaded in increments when you scroll to the end.



More details about Conditional formatting in the following video:

Keyboard nudging for visuals

This new feature allows you to fine-tune the position of your visuals on the design surface.  Once you select a visual you can:

  • Use your arrow keys to move the visual around the canvas
  • Use SHIFT + arrow keys to move it in larger increments



Quick Calcs – % of grand total

A new Quick Calc has been added that calculates the percent of the grand total for each data value.

To access it, right click on the field in the field well.


Then set the details for the calculation


More details about Quick Calculations in the following video:

Data Connectivity Features


New Data Connectors

We have added 4 new data connectors in this month’s update:

  1. Informix: Available via the “Databases” category in the Get Data dialog.
  2. comScore Digital Analytix: Available via “Online Sources” category.
  3. Troux: Available via “Online Sources” category.
  4. Planview Enterprise: Available via “Online Sources” category.

Improved DB2 connector, now leveraging the Microsoft driver for IBM DB2

We have improved the IBM DB2 connector in this release to provide the choice for users to leverage the Microsoft driver for IBM DB2, which is also automatically included in the Power BI Desktop installation.

Within the IBM DB2 connector dialog, users can select which driver to use as an Advanced Option.


Improved Text/CSV connector, now exposing editable settings in the preview dialog

We are improving the Text and CSV connectors to allow users to configure basic import settings from within the Preview dialog. These import settings include:\-

  • File Origin
  • Delimiter
  • Data Type Detection strategy: Based on top 200 rows, based on entire dataset, or no data type detection.

Based on user choices, the preview in this dialog will automatically update. Users can then decide whether to directly load the data or edit first to apply additional data transformations as needed.



Improved relational database connectors – Display Schema information as part of the Navigation hierarchy

In this update, we’re enhancing the database connectors to expose an option that allows users to include Schema information as part of the Navigation hierarchy. This option is available as an “Advanced Option” in all database connector dialogs, such as the SQL Server dialog below:


Data Source Settings enhancements, including “migrate source” capability

Users can now easily update the “location” of a data source for all queries connecting to that data source within a single Power BI Desktop report. Before this update, users had to update the data source location for each of the queries connecting to the source. The new solution allows users to do this in a single step.

Within the “Data Source Settings” dialog (File -> Options and Settings -> Data Source Settings), there is a new “Current File” scope, which allows users to limit the list of data sources displayed to only the data sources used in the current file. From this view, they can modify credentials, privacy levels and other settings for that data source, or use the “Change Path” option to modify the path to that data source.


Advanced “Filter Rows” dialog mode

We’re introducing a new mode within the “Filter Rows” dialog. This new mode allows users to add multiple filter clauses within a single Filter Rows step (previously only 1-2 clauses were allowed) and also combine filter clauses based on multiple columns (before, all clauses were applied to a single column).



Inline Input controls for Function invocation within the Query Editor

We have improved the inline preview for functions within the Query Editor dialog.  It now allows input values for function invocation. This new “Enter Parameters” section in the inline function preview is available for both “out of the box” functions (M Engine functions) as well as user-defined functions.



Improvements to Query Parameters

Last month, we introduced a new feature to enable creating and referencing Query Parameters within your Power BI Desktop reports. In this month’s update, we’re enhancing this feature with the following new capabilities:

  • Ability to convert queries to parameters (and vice versa) – Users can now easily convert an existing query to a parameter, or convert a parameter into a regular query. These two options are available within the Queries pane in the Query Editor, as context menu options for queries within this pane.
  • Support for URL parameterization and multi-part URLs in Web connector – A common scenario for parameterization is a data source path. Particularly, web URLs are commonly parameterized based on user-specific values (such as domain name, etc.). With last month’s update, users were able to parameterize an entire URL, but in many cases it is only a “part” of that URL that actually changes based on the user-specific parameter, rather than the entire URL. With this month’s Power BI Desktop update, we’re introducing an “Advanced” Web connector mode to allow users to specify multiple parts to construct the Web URL to use. Each part can either be a static text fragment or a reference to a parameter.
  • Support for parameterization in Conditional Columns dialog – Within the Conditional Column dialog, users can now specify a “static” value, a reference to another column or to a parameter as the Condition Value or the Output value for each conditional rule.

Ability to “Save As” a Power BI Template

Users can now save as a Power BI template file from within the “File -> Save As” dialog. This will create a “.pbit” file that contains the definition of the report (including queries, model and report) as well as the data in the data model and the current parameter values.

Opening a “.pbit” file will allow users to continue working on the report contents, but it will force them to save as a different file when trying to save the file.


Query Step Enhancements

In this release, we’re enabling drag & drop gesture for reordering steps within a query. This can be done via the Applied Steps section in the Query Editor, for each query.

Date picker support in Conditional Columns and Filter Rows dialog input Date fields

Users can now leverage a Date picker control to provide input Date values in the Filter Rows and Conditional Columns dialogs.

New context menu entry to create new queries from the Queries pane

In this update, we’re adding a new context menu entry on the Queries pane, when right-clicking on the background of the pane or in a query group node, to add a new query. This allows a more intuitive experience for adding new queries when working within the Queries pane. Also, in the case of right-clicking on a query group, the new query will be added to the group in question.



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