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Power BI Service March Feature Summary

Headshot of article author Sirui Sun

It’s been another exciting month for Power BI! Join us as we recap all the features that we’ve released in the Power BI service this month.

A few general notes before we continue: the features that roll out in the Power BI Desktop updates also apply to your reports and dashboards in the service, unless otherwise noted. For example, the service now has support for different textbox font colors in reports, which was announced in the Power BI Desktop March update. To avoid redundancies, these features are not mentioned below.

Also, be sure to join us at the Microsoft Data Insights Summit on June 12-13 in Seattle, WA. This is the conference for the Microsoft Data and Analytics offerings, including Power BI and Excel. We have a great lineup of speaker and demos. Despite doubling our venue size, tickets are going fast, so register now.

Here’s the complete list of March service updates:

Granular admin controls


The granular administrator control feature gives admins the ability to tune how Power BI is used in their organization with surgical precision. Where before administrators only had a hammer, now we’re handing a scalpel. Before, administrators could only control Power BI feature usage (e.g. “disable external sharing for everyone”) at the granularity of the entire tenant. Now administrators can control feature usage on a per user or per group level (e.g. “disable external sharing for the Sales team, except for the Sales consultants”). See our detailed blog post for more information.

View related content


All Power BI content you create is deeply interconnected. Reports are built on datasets. Reports visuals are then pinned to dashboards. In turn, those dashboard visuals link back to reports. The view related content feature provides a lightning fast way to view and jump between those connections. Because of this, we believe it be one of the most powerful navigation tools that we’ve ever released. See our detailed blog post for more information.

Improved troubleshooting messages for DAX queries

With this feature, we improved the troubleshooting message that appears on visuals when there are issues with the DAX that you wrote in Power BI Desktop. For example, if your visual depends on the DAX square root function, and that function takes a negative value for an input, the service will now display an informative troubleshooting message, just like in Power BI Desktop. We hope this will drastically simplify the process of troubleshooting your DAX once you’ve published to the service.

Custom cache refresh schedules


With this feature, we gave owners of DirectQuery and live connection datasets full control over how often we update their visual caches. Want the most up-to-date dashboard visuals? Have the cache update every 15 minutes. Want to lower the load on your underlying data source? Lower the cache update cadence to once every two hours. See our detailed blog post for more information.

Support for Amazon Redshift in the service

A few months ago we released a Preview of the Amazon Redshift connector in Power BI Desktop. This new connector allows users to easily build reports based on their Redshift data, either by importing the data into Power BI Desktop or by using DirectQuery mode. You can find more details about the Redshift connector in Power BI Desktop in this previous blog post. This month, we announced support for Redshift-based reports in the Power BI Service, allowing users to publish their reports to unlock seamless consumption of reports and dashboards based on Redshift data. See our detailed blog post for more information.

Custom visuals in the Office Store


Custom visuals are now available to discover and download within the Office store. Power BI is now a product in the Office store, which lists all Power BI custom visuals. Searching and filtering by categories is available for easy navigation. What’s more, a details page is available for each visual, offering high quality screenshots and videos about the content. In addition, custom visual creators can now take advantage of the Office developer center to track usage of their visuals, and receive feedback from their end users. See our detailed blog post for more information.

Have questions, or feedback? We’d love to hear from you. Be sure to cast your votes on UserVoice to help us prioritize features. Also, feedback and questions are always welcome in the comments below, or on the community forums.