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Power BI Desktop July 2019 Feature Summary

With this month comes the first feature release from our announcements at Microsoft Business Application Summit, Icon sets, which also addresses our current #1 idea on ideas.powerbi.com. On top of this major update, we have incremental improvements for many of our existing features, such as a counts experience for the Key influencers visual and RLS support for aggregations. To round this out, we are also making several key features, the new filter pane and aggregations, generally available.

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The observant will notice that, if you’re not using the Microsoft Store version, the link downloads a different installer than before. Currently, we build and publish 84 different .msi files for installing Power BI – a 32-bit and a 64-bit one for each of the 42 languages we support! We’ve just completed work to wrap them all into two installers (32- and 64-bit), which gives users the ability to change the language of the UI and model without having to install a new version. If you’re an enterprise administrator who manages the rollout of Power BI Desktop to users in multiple languages this should make your life easier too! It also makes it easier for us to build and manage Desktop so we can be much more efficient about getting fixes and new features out to you.

You can get the new single installer at https://aka.ms/pbiSingleInstaller, and you can still find the separate MSIs for each language at https://www.microsoft.com/download/details.aspx?id=45331. The MSIs will continue to be available (and updated each month) until the September update, after which we’ll only make the new single installer available. If you have scripts that pull new versions of Power BI Desktop from the Microsoft Download Center, you’ll need to update them to point to the new location before October 1st.

Here’s the complete list of July updates:

Reporting

Analytics

Visualizations

Data connectivity

Data preparation

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

Reporting

Icon sets for table and matrix

The top request on our Ideas site is for KPI icons for reports, and we are excited to release our first step for this work, icon sets for our table and matrix visual. This feature will let you set up rules for showing different sets of icons to show in your table and matrix, very similar to the Icon Sets feature in Excel.

You can turn on icons for your table or matrix just like any other conditional formatting feature, either through the contextual menu for the field you want to apply it to or through the conditional formatting card in the formatting pane.

When you turn on Icons, the default rules will apply a red diamond to the lower 33% of your data, a yellow triangle to the middle 33%, and a green circle to the upper 33%.

For each rule you can set the range based on an absolute number or a percent. You can also customize the icon for each rule with any of the icons we support in our icon picker.

In addition to adjusting current rules, you can add new rules to the list using the New rule button and swap the order of the icons in all the rules with one click using the Reverse icon order button.

In this dialog, you can also change the field used to generate the icons, just like in other forms of conditional formatting. You can also choose, using the Icon layout dropdown, if the icon shows to the left or right of the numbers showing in the cell or if the icons should replace the numbers all together.

You can also control the icon alignment, switching between top, middle, and bottom alignment.

You can also format based on fields in your model, where the fields uses the name of any of our existing icons, defines svgs inline, or references an image or gif online.

For example, you can create a measure like:

Icon Set Measure =
SWITCH(
     TRUE(),
     SUM(Sales[Units]) < 200, "data:image/svg+xml;utf8, <svg xmlns='https://www.w3.org/2000/svg' viewBox='0 0 100 100'> <circle cx='50' cy='50' r='40' stroke='purple' stroke-width='4' fill='purple' /> </svg>",
     SUM(Sales[Units]) < 1000, "StarMediumLight",
     "https://i.gifer.com/Omjx.gif"
)

And apply it to get a completely custom set of icons.

You can also change icons or add new ones through a theme file. For example the below theme will add 2 new icons and replace the half filled yellow star with a different icon.

{
     "name": "CustomIcons",
     "icons": {
          "fire": {
               "url": "https://i.gifer.com/Omjx.gif",
               "description": "Fire!"
          },
          "explosion": {
               "url": "https://i.gifer.com/3iCN.gif",
               "description": "Boom!"
          },
         "StarMediumLight": {
               "url": "https://www.uscsd.k12.pa.us/cms/lib/PA01000033/Centricity/Domain/1/library-icon.png",
               "description": {"resourceKey": "Icon_ColoredArrowUpRed"}
         }
     }
}

Each icon you are adding or modifying will get its own group in the icons section of the theme. The structure of each icon is:

"IconID": {
     "url" : " https://i.gifer.com/3iCN.gif ",
     "description": "Boom!"
}

The IconID section is either a unique name you are giving a custom icon or the id of any of our built-in icons you want to modify. The URL is where you’d include either a link to web image you want to reference or embed your SVG or base64 encoded image. Lastly, the description is what will be used for the tooltip of the icon and read out by a screen reader.

If you are using SVGs either through measures or the theme file, make sure to include the viewBox section of the code, where the viewBox is the original canvas size that was used when the SVG icon was made. This will ensure the SVG will continue to scale as the font size of your values changes.

"data:image/svg+xml;utf8, <svg xmlns='https://www.w3.org/2000/svg' viewBox='0 0 100 100'> <circle cx='50' cy='50' r='40' stroke='purple' stroke-width='4' fill='purple' /> </svg>"

In a future update, we also plan to add a dropdown that will let you pick from preset rules, similar to Excel’s icon sets, to make it faster for you to create rules.

Watch the following video to learn more about icon sets:

Percent support for conditional formatting by rules

In addition to adding a new type of conditional formatting, we’ve extended in general our Rules form of conditional formatting to support Percent, which allows you to apply formatting on a dynamic range of data, instead of having to specify an absolute number that can become absolute as data refreshes. We also added the Reverse button from the Icon dialog for colors as well, so it’s easier to quick swap the direction of your rules.

Watch the following video to learn more about conditional formatting by rules with percentages:

New filter pane is now generally available

Our new filter pane is now generally available. Any new reports should automatically have the new pane on by default. For now, you’ll still need to upgrade any existing report to the new pane through the Options dialog.

Thank you to everyone who gave us feedback throughout the preview period. It helped us make a better filter experience for users! Even this month, we’re reacting to your feedback. We’ve heard many users didn’t like the experience where the filter pane scaled with the report page, so we’ve disabled that functionality.

Data colors support when using play axis on scatter charts

As a smaller formatting improvement this month, you can now set the data color for the scatter chart when using the play axis. Up until now, you could only using data colors when using a scatter chart without a play axis, so this should add more flexibility when designing your reports if you’re using the play axis.

Watch the following video to learn more about data colors support for play axis:

Performance improves when using relative date and dropdown slicers

If you are using the relative date slicer or the dropdown slicer, you should see some performance improvements for page loads and filtering interactions this month. The relative date slicer will no longer run any DAX queries when loading, and the dropdown slicer will only run queries when you expand the dropdown. The more slicers you had on your page, the bigger performance improvement you should see.

Analytics

Counts for Key influencers visual (preview)

This month’s improvement for the key influencers visual is the addition of counts. Counts lets you get a picture of how much of your data is represented by a particular influencer, so you can focus on the influencers that impact many of your users. For example, you might have an influencer that has a very large impact, but only a handful of users are affected by it.

You can turn counts on through the Analysis card of the formatting pane.

Once counts are turned on, you’ll see a ring around each influencer’s bubble, which represents the approximate percentage of data that influencer contains. The more of the bubble the ring circles, the more data it contains.

You can also use the Sort by toggle in the bottom left of the visual to sort the bubbles by count first instead of impact.

You can also change the count type to be relative to the maximum influencer using the Count type dropdown in the Analysis card of the formatting pane.

Watch the following video to learn more about counts for the key influencers visual:

Aggregations improvements

RLS support

RLS (row-level security) and aggregations are now supported in the same dataset. If this was preventing you from using this feature, you can now use aggregations in your reports!

Aggregations now generally available

Our aggregations feature is now generally available and works end-to-end without needing to turn on a preview feature switch. Feel free to start using this feature for your production reports and thank you to everyone who gave us feedback during the preview period.

Visualizations

PowerApps visual is now certified

The PowerApps marketplace visual is now certified. This means you can now see the PowerApps visual when exporting to PowerPoint and when you get report subscription emails.

Check out this visual on AppSource.

InfoCard

The InfoCard marketplace visual by is a card visual with advanced formatting options. Some formatting options this visual has include:

  • Large font sizes
  • Custom borders with conditional formatting support
  • Image support with position control
  • Conditional formatting support for background, data label, category label, and image
  • Vertically rotate the category label

Download this visual from AppSource.

Watch the following video to learn more about the InfoCard visual:

Sunburst by MAQ Software

The Sunburst marketplace visual by MAQ Software allows you to display hierarchical data as a set of nested rings. It’s very similar to a donut chart visual, expect the hierarchy levels are nested within one another, allowing you to see the breakdown across the different categories clearer.

Some key features of this visual include:

  • Customizable arcs
  • Customizable detail and data labels
  • Zoom animations
  • Support for cross-highlighting, drillthrough, report page tooltips, and bookmarks

Try out this visual on AppSource.

Watch the following video to learn more about the Sunburst by MAQ software visual:

Flying Brick visual

The flying brick marketplace visual by Balcones Enterprises is a waterfall chart visual that doesn’t require a lot of work to get your data into the right format. Each category within the field you use for the Category field well bucket will be used as a step of the waterfall chart. Any rows with “Pedestal” as the category’s text will be treated as the main columns of the waterfall chart. Below is an example of the flying brick visual next to a table showing the data its visualizing. You can also find a link to a video showing how to set up the visual in the sample report you can download from AppSource.

Download this visual from AppSource.

Watch the following video to learn more about the flying brick visual:

Data connectivity

Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 connector (beta)

This month we’re releasing a new connector that allows you to easily import your data from Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2.

Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 is a highly scalable and cost-effective data lake solution for big data analytics. It combines the power of a high-performance file system with massive scale and economy to help you accelerate your time to insight. Data Lake Storage Gen2 extends Azure Blob Storage capabilities and is optimized for analytics workloads. Data Lake Storage Gen2 is the most comprehensive data lake available.

The new Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 connector can be found within the Get Data dialog, under the Azure category.

Azure Cosmos DB Connector is now Generally Available

We’re glad to announce that the Azure Cosmos DB connector has now reached general availability. Thanks to everyone for trying out and sharing feedback about the connector during Beta phase, which helped us getting it to this significant milestone.

Azure Cosmos DB is Microsoft’s globally distributed, multi-model database service. With a click of a button, Cosmos DB enables you to elastically and independently scale throughput and storage across any number of Azure regions worldwide. You can elastically scale throughput and storage, and take advantage of fast, single-digit-millisecond data access. Cosmos DB provides comprehensive service level agreements (SLAs) for throughput, latency, availability, and consistency guarantees, something no other database service offers.

You can use the connector to query and import data from Azure Cosmos DB containers into Power BI to create and publish reports. The connector now supports pushing down SQL queries to Azure Cosmos DB which allows for faster execution times.

The Azure Cosmos DB connector can be accessed from the Azure category within the Get Data dialog.

Dynamics 365 Customer Insights connector

We’re happy to announce the availability of the Dynamics 365 Customer Insights connector in this month’s release. Dynamics 365 Customer Insights helps you unify your data across sources to get a single view of customers, optimize engagement, and discover insights that drive personalized experiences. Customer Insights shorten time to value with a ready-to-go customer data platform (CDP) that empowers marketing, sales, and service professionals to tailor digital and one-on-one interactions at scale.

The new Dynamics 365 Customer Insights connector can be found within the Get Data dialog, under the Online Services category.

Data preparation

New Transform: Split column by positions

A new data transformation added this month allows you to split text columns at specific positions within a given text value.

This new transformation can be found under the Split Column menu in the Home tab of the Power Query Editor ribbon.

You can specify a comma-separated list of positions to split at. Power Query also tries to detect and make recommendations for those positions based on data in preview rows within the Power Query Editor. You can also customize whether to output text parts as new columns or rows.

Watch the following video to learn more about splitting columns by positions:

That’s all for this month! We hope that you enjoy these updates for the month. 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 Desktop. For any preview features, you can always give us your feedback in our active community. You can also download the .pbix file I used, and if you’re looking for a similar design for your reports, I was using the Microsoft layout from PowerBI.Tips.

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