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Power BI Report Server May 2019 Feature Summary

Headshot of article author Tessa Hurr

We’re happy to announce our May 2019 update of Power BI Report Server! This release has many reporting features including conditional formatting for titles and other visual objects, the performance analyzer pane, accessibility support for visuals. The new modeling view is also featured in this release. Read on to learn more about the new features and many other capabilities in this release.

Here’s the complete list of May updates:


  • Cross-highlight on a single point in line charts
  • Word wrap on titles
  • Update default visual interaction to cross-filter
  • Rounded corners for visual borders
  • Single select slicer
  • Heat map support for Bing maps
  • Cross-highlight by axis labels
  • Default tooltip formatting
  • Static web URL support for buttons, shapes & images
  • Page alignment options
  • Selection pane improvements
  • Accessible visual interaction
  • Conditional formatting for visual titles 
  • Conditional formatting for web URL actions for buttons, shapes, and images
  • Performance analyzer pane
  • Table and matrix keyboard navigation
  • Line data label position control
  • KPI visual Indicator text size control


  • Show dates as a hierarchy now generally available


  • New modelling view generally available
  • New DAX functions
  • Update to the ALLSELECTED DAX function
  • Disable auto-date tables for new reports


Cross-highlight on a single point in line charts

You can now cross-highlight on a single point in the line chart to filter not only on the category but also the individual date. When you click on the point, that individual point will show a marker indicating which point is the source of highlighting. If your visual is very dense, we will select the closest point to your click to use as the source.

With this change the line chart now behaviors exactly the same as a stacked column chart in terms of interactivity. You can continue to use the legend when you filter just on the categorical value.

Word wrap on titles

We have a new formatting option for visual titles this release: word wrap!

If you have titles that are currently being truncated…

You can now turn on the word wrap option in the title card…

And your title will now show on two or more lines.

Update default visual interaction to cross-filter

If you want to quick change all your visuals to cross-filter each other instead of cross-highlight, you no longer need to manually change all your visuals one by one using the Edit visual interactions feature. Now all you need to do is going to the Options dialog and check the new option under current file report settings: Change default visual interaction from cross highlighting to cross-filtering.

This will make the visual interaction cross-filter by default. You can still manually update visuals if you just a few to cross-highlight instead. This will also not change any visual interactions you have already manually set.

Rounded corners for visual borders

Another new formatting option is the ability to round the corners of your borders.

To use this option, go to the Border card in the formatting pane, and adjust the radius from 0 to the desired roundness.

Single select slicer

The single select slicer option has been revamped to support radio buttons and allows one and only one filter selection. Additionally, for drop-down slicers, it closes the drop-down after selection, making the interaction much quicker for end users.

You can still use the previous behavior, where clicking a selection replaces the filter but they can Ctrl+click to multiselect, by turning on the Multi-select with CTRL option instead.

Heat map support for Bing maps

You can now enable a heat map formatting option for our circle Bing map visual. You’ll see an option to convert all the location dots on your map to a heat map layer through the formatting pane.

Once that option is turned on the map will automatically replace all the dots with the heat map layer.

If you don’t have anything in the Size field well bucket, the gradient is based on location density (how many dots are in that area). If you also have a measure in the Size bucket, the results are weighted by the measure’s value as well.

When you open the heat map formatting card, you’ll also see a lot of formatting control. You can set the radius and units for the radius to adjust the layer in addition to the colors used and their transparency.

While using the heat map layer, you won’t be able to select individual points or see tooltips.

Cross-highlight by axis labels

You can now use the axis category labels to cross-highlight, just like the data points in the visual. This is very useful when a category might be very small and hard to click.

Another use is if a category is broken out by another series in the legend. This lets you select all values with one click.

When you cross-highlight through the axis labels, the axis label is bolded.

Default tooltip formatting

You can now format the default tooltip for each visual in your report. You can modify the tooltip colors, fonts and transparency, which you can find in the Tooltip card of the formatting pane.

To easily set these options across your whole report, you can control them as part of your theme. Here’s an example of the JSON for the tooltip section specifically:

               "visualTooltip": [{
                    "type": "Default",
                    "fontFamily": "Arial",
                    "fontSize": 11,

					"valueFontColor": {"solid": {"color": "#5B3780"}},
                    "titleFontColor": {"solid": {"color": "#5289BF"}},
                    "transparency": 2,
                    "background": {"solid": {"color": "#FFE1F0"}}

Static web URL support for buttons, shapes, and & images

You can now link a specific website through an image, shape or button. You can do this by selecting the Web URL option in the Type dropdown of the Action card of the formatting pane.

We will automatically take you to the URL when you click on the button (ctrl+click in edit mode). In the Power BI service, we will open a new tab for the site. The URL will need to be a valid URL starting with http:// or https://.

Page alignment options

You can now choose to align your report pages to the top the view instead of the center through the global report settings.

The “Align the canvas to the top of the wallpaper” option is the default for new reports where users are using new filtering experiences.

Changing this setting will only apply to new reports going forward.

Selection pane improvements

You can now double click an object in the selection pane to rename the title. If the title is off currently, you can still rename it through the selection pane to make it easier to identify different objects in the list.

You can also use shift+click, along with ctrl+click, to quickly and easily select many objects in the selection pane at once and adjust their visibility all together using the Show and Hide options at the top of the pane.

Formatting updates for maps

Adjust map points to a smaller size

If the default bubble size is too large for your tastes on the bubble Bing maps, you can now adjust the bubbles to a smaller size. Just slide the Size control under the Bubbles card to the left to reduce the size.

Ability to add zoom buttons

You now can add zoom buttons to your map. Zoom buttons can make it easier to zoom in and out of the map, especially if you don’t have a mouse with a scroll wheel on it. You can turn them on through the Zoom buttons toggle under the Map controls card.

Accessible visual interaction

You can now access data points on many of the built-in visuals using keyboard navigation. When a visual is in focus, pressing ctrl+right arrow will move focus inside the visual. Focus will now cycle between the plot area, categorical axis, and legend (if it exists) using the tab key. Press enter to select either the plot area or the legend and from there you can use:

Tab or arrow keys to navigate between data points or legend items

Enter or space to select and cross-highlight that data point

Ctrl + enter or ctrl + space to cross-highlight multiple data points

Ctrl + shift + c to clear all selection

Shift + F10 or the designated key on your keyboard to open the context menu to access options like Insights and Copy

Conditional formatting for visual titles

Since the initial release of Power BI, you’ve been able to customize the titles of your visuals, but they’ve always been static text.

Since Power BI reports are interactive, it makes sense that you may want your titles to be dynamic and reflect the current state of the report. You can now use the conditional formatting dialog to change the text of your report based on a DAX expression in your model.

First, you’ll need to create a field in your model to use for your title. For example, here’s an expression that will change based on the filter context the visual receives for the product Brand name. One thing to note is that this field needs to be formatted as text.

 Then launch the conditional formatting dialog by right-clicking the “Title text” area in the property pane card and picking Conditional formatting.

Then in the dialog, select a text field from your model. This can be a column or a measure.

Now the visual’s title will respond to changes in the report.

Once such a title is set, you can re-launch the dialog by clicking the fx button in the property pane or revert to the default using the context menu.

Conditional formatting for web URL actions for buttons, shapes, and images

You can also use the same expression-bound formatting to make the URLs of your buttons dynamic! It’s set up the exact same way as titles. This can be very useful if you want users to navigate to other webpages with URL parameters based off their current selection.

In future releases, we’ll be rolling these conditional formatting options out to more properties on more visuals and give you more ways to set the expression. The goal is that you’ll be able to use rules, a measure or enter an expression directly in the dialog and use the result to format any property.

Performance analyzer pane

When a report of yours is running slow, it can be difficult to know what you can do to help. To help with this, we’re introducing a new Performance analyzer pane in Power BI Desktop. As an analyst, you can use this pane to see where the time is being spent.

You can open this pane through the View tab in the ribbon.

When you first open the pane, you’ll see an empty pane, and all you need to do is select Start Recording to see what queries are being run.

Once you start recording, any action that runs a query, such as changing a page, refreshing the visuals, or cross-highlighting, will populate the pane with information. You’ll see each visual logged in load order with it’s corresponding load duration.

You can expand a specific visual’s log to see how the time was spent divided out in three different sections:

  • DAX query – The length of time it took for Analysis Services to run the query
  • Visual display – How long it took for the visual to draw on the screen (including anything like retrieving web images or geocoding)
  • Other – Covers time that the visual spent preparing queries, waiting for other visuals to complete, or doing some other background processing

You’ll also see data for how long your DirectQuery source took to return a result if you’re in that mode.

You can also select copy query to add the specific DAX query we ran for that visual to your clipboard.

You can also export all the query information to a JSON file to analyze in other tools.

Lastly, if you want to dig into one slow loading visual specifically, while the performance analyzer is running, there will be an icon in the visual header that will let you refresh just that specific visual to see the stats in the pane.

The Performance analyzer is currently available in Power BI Desktop only and doesn’t show all the time spent for the R or Python visuals.

Table and matrix keyboard navigation

We added support for interacting with most visuals for keyboard and screen readers, and that support is extended to the table and matrix visual. Now when your focus is on a table or matrix, you can use the ctrl + Right arrow key to move focus inside to the first cell of the visual.

While your focus is on a cell, the screen reader will read off the relevant information, and you can use the follow keyboard shortcuts to navigate:

  • Arrow keys – Move your focus up/down/left/right on cell
  • Space or Enter – Select cell
  • Shift + Right arrow – Expand an expandable header
  • Shift + Left arrow – Collapse an expandable header
  • Context key or Shift + F10 – Open context menu

Line data label position control

When you have a line or combo chart with multiple lines overlapping with each other, it can sometimes be hard to tell which data label corresponds to which line. To help with this, we’ve added a new position control for data labels so you can set the labels to specifically show above or below its corresponding line. Take for example, the below line chart showing the average net satisfaction and likelihood to purchase again. Many of the data labels for the first several months are showing near each other with the automatic layout.

To help differentiate between the two, you can now customize the position so the labels for the PurchAgain line show below it and the labels for the NSAT show above it.

Once you do that, it’s a lot clearer which label goes with which line.

KPI visual Indicator text size control

As a small formatting improvement this release, we’ve updated the KPI visual to support changing the text size of the Indicator. We know this has been a big pain point for some people, so we are happy to finally be able to add support!


Show dates as a hierarchy now generally available

For each date column, we show each hierarchy level in the field list. The entire hierarchy, or a specific selection from the hierarchy can be used in visuals.


New modelling view is generally available

We are excited to announce our new modelling view is generally available. Some of the highlights of this new surface include:

  • Bulk editing of columns, measures, and tables.
  • Setting display folders on columns, measures, and hierarchies.
  • Dragging and dropping into display folders
  • Multiple diagram layouts

New DAX Functions

We’ve added another new DAX function, ALLCROSSFILTERED. This function can be used to remove filters on a table from other tables across direct or indirect many-to-many relationships.

You can now use either ContainsString or ContainsStringExact to get a Boolean value returned letting you know if a text field contains a specific string. ContainsStringExact is case sensitive. Another new function is DistinctCountNoBlank to return a SQL like distinct count where blank values aren’t counted.

We’ve also extended the LookupValue function to now take an optional last parameter to avoid raising an error. Lastly, we’ve also extended the All function so that using the All function without arguments will clear all filters in the filter context.

Intellisense support is also supported for all these functions except the All updates and the new DistinctCountNoBlank, both of which will come in our April release.

Update to the ALLSELECTED DAX function

The ALLSELECTED DAX function has been extended to support multiple arguments, just like the ALL function.

Disable auto-date tables for new reports

If you don’t want to use Power BI’s auto-generated date tables, and instead, for all your reports want to use your own date tables, you can now turn off the feature in the Options dialog under Global > Data Load > Time intelligence. Checking this box means that for any new files, we don’t automatically create any hidden date tables.