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Power BI Desktop November Feature Summary

Headshot of article author Amanda Cofsky

This month conditional formatting gets a major update with the ability to control the color based on rules. If you have a slow data source, we now have report options that help limit the number of queries that are sent to the source. Finally, we are also adding several formatting features, including cell alignment for table and matrix, and precise control over the order of overlapping charts on your report.

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Don’t forget you can now get Power BI Desktop from the Windows Store if you’re on Windows 10!


Here’s the complete list of November updates:



Data connectivity

Query editing

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


Rule-based conditional formatting for table and matrix

This month we’re extending conditional formatting to include rule-based conditional formatting. Now, if you have specific business logic to reflect in your table or matrix, you can create rules to conditionally color the background or font color of a column.

To start formatting based on your rules, open the color scales dialog and check the Color by rules box. This enables you to choose colors by your business logic.


In each rule, you can pick a color to use when a cell value is between two values, is equal to a specific value, or is blank.


When finished, click OK to apply your rules. Each rule is applied in order, top to bottom. This means that if a value meets the criteria of two different rules, the bottom rule applies.


Watch the following video to learn more about the conditional formatting improvements:


Cell alignment for table and matrix

This month we’ve also added cell alignment control to our table and matrix visuals. You can specify left, right, or center alignment for your row and column headers, or you can set the alignment for one specific field in the Field formatting card.


Watch the following video to learn more about cell alignment:

Control visual ordering through the selection pane

Last month, we introduced the selection pane, which lets you easily select all the objects on your report page. It also lets you control if the object is visible. We are extending this pane to let you easily change which overlapping objects show on top on the canvas. The selection pane is sorted so the objects higher in the list show in front of objects lower in the list. You can drag and drop to change the order or use the arrows on the top of the pane to move things up and down.


Watch the following video to learn more about the selection pane update:

Lock objects on your report

When you’re interacting with your report, either to test it out or as part of your analysis process, it’s easy to accidently nudge a chart a little to the left or right. To help with this problem, we’ve added a button to the View tab to lock all the objects on your report. This will turn off resize and move, so you don’t have to worry about messing with your layout as you interact with your report. This setting isn’t saved with the report, so you’ll need to enable it any time you want to use it.


Watch the following video to learn more about locking objects:

Esri Plus subscription is available for ArcGIS Maps for Power BI

Esri's ArcGIS Maps for Power BI was announced at Ignite 2016 and became generally available in June of 2017. Since then, Esri’s map has been empowering Power BI users to get more from their geospatial data. Now, Esri is releasing a new subscription service called Plus that enables ArcGIS Maps for Power BI users to do even more with their geospatial data.

Using Plus, you can get richer mapping capabilities, including:

  • More street address geocodes – up to 5,000 data points per map
  • Additional basemaps, including: Imagery, Imagery with labels, National Geographic, Oceans, Terrain with labels, Topographic, USA Topo Maps, and USGS National Map (USA)


  • Living Atlas reference layers that help add more context to your maps


  • World Demographics within the Infographics feature for categories like Education, Population, Income, or even Segmentation.


To start using Plus, all you need to do is sign up for a subscription or sign into an existing one through the plus button on the top right.


You can try the Plus subscription for 60 days at no charge and after that you can subscribe for $5 per user per month. When you use Plus features within the map, any user you share the report with needs to also have a Plus subscription to view the content. You can learn more about Esri's Plus subscription from Esri's web site. The free capabilities included with Power BI remain the same.

Watch the following video to learn more about Esri Plus:

Report options for slow data sources

If you are working with either a very large or very slow data source in DirectQuery, some actions will take a while to get a response from the underlying data source. To help with that, we’re giving you some options in the report to send fewer queries, making it easier to interact with the report.

To access these options, go to the Options dialog under File > Options and settings > Options, and select Query reduction.


From here, you can turn off cross highlighting automatically throughout your whole report. (You can still manually turn it on for specific visuals using the Visual interactions feature, but the default will be off.)

You can also add an Apply button to slicers and filters. Depending on what you select, the Apply button is added to slicers, filters, or both. You can make as many selections as you want, but no queries will be sent until you select the Apply button. Your selections will then be used to filter all your data.


Of course, these changes will apply to your report while you interact with it in Power BI Desktop as well as when your users consume the report in the Power BI service.

Watch the following video to learn more about our slow data source improvements:

Filtering performance improvements

We’ve recently made some updates in our filtering implementation, which improves performance for certain scenarios, such as when using strings. We’ve also removed our 500 value limit on how many values you can match when filtering for all data sources except Live connections to analysis services models.

Recently released custom visuals

This month there are four custom visuals recently released to the custom visuals store that I’d like to call out. As a reminder, all custom visuals can either be imported directly from the store in Desktop or you can individually download visuals from the custom visuals store for importing.

Image Timeline

The Image timeline custom visual displays events along a horizontal timeline. These events can either be represented as a circle or a custom image. You can then click on events to filter down your report to that event. If you have lots of events on your timeline, it also has an interactive date “brush” that lets you zoom in on the timeline.


Watch the following video to learn more about the image timeline visual:

Social network graph

The Social network graph custom visual can be used for visualizing connections between people. One common scenario for this is visualizing an organization structure where employees report to managers in a hierarchy. You create the visual by giving it the source and target for each connection, and then you can format it with size and color based on other fields in your model.


Watch the following video to learn more about the social network visual:

Venn diagram by MAQ Software

Venn diagrams are good for finding commonality between different categories. Each circle is a collection of data points for a given category and where the circles intersect, there are data points that represent both categories.


Watch the following video to learn more about the venn diagram visual:

HTML viewer

The HTML viewer visual is lets you display your HTML text strings, for example rich-text columns from SharePoint, in its original formatting. You can also do some basic formatting of alignment, color, and size for the text as well.

Here’s an example comparing the HTML text in a Power BI table and the HTML viewer visual.


Watch the following video to learn more about the HTML viewer visual:


Cell-level formatting for multi-dimensional AS models for a multi-row card

We are extending our cell-level formatting support to multi-row cards this month. This means that for table, matrix, single value cards, and multi-row cards, cell-level formatting defined in your multi-dimensional Analysis Services (AS) model will automatically flow through and be applied.

Data connectivity

Impala Connector – Support for Windows Authentication

This month we’re adding support for Windows Authentication to the Impala connector. This was a common request from existing Impala connector users. In the next month, we will also add support for Windows authentication to the On-premises data gateway, as well as Kerberos-based Single Sign-On support for the Impala connector via the Gateway.

After specifying an Impala cluster to connect to from Power BI Desktop, you can now select Windows as the authentication type in the Credentials dialog. Within the Windows authentication option, you can select whether to use the “current Windows user” or impersonate a different user.


Query editing

Add Column From Examples Improvements

We’ve added support for generating “Conditional Columns” transforms as part of the “Add Column From Examples” experience.

This addition opens up a lot of additional scenarios for “Add Column From Examples”:

a) Basic Conditional Column: It is now possible to define a mapping between values in an input column and the desired output by providing a set of examples.


b) Conditional Column Ranges: We’re making it possible to define a new column with non-uniform ranges based on an input column. This new capability is supported for columns where the output values don’t encode the range boundaries.


c) Null fallback: A very common scenario for “Conditional Column” is using a value from a given column, or the value from a fallback column when the first column value is missing for a given row.


d) Bucketing (uniform ranges): Last but not least, we’ve also enabled bucketing via “Add Column From Examples”. Users can now specify the upper/lower boundaries of a range for a certain row and we will automatically extrapolate to all other rows by using uniform ranges.


Watch the following video to learn more about the Column from Example update:

That’s all for this month! We hope that you enjoy these updates and continue sending us your feedback. Please don’t forget to vote for other features that you’d like to see in the Power BI Desktop.

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