The Microsoft Power BI service celebrated its second birthday last month. There was no cake (or if there was, we didn’t get any) but there was the usual truckload of new features, enhancements and announcements.
Here’s the pick of updates for July 2017…
Table and matrix visuals
A number of updates were added to the reporting field for Power BI Desktop in July. New table and matrix visuals that had been previously made available on preview are now generally available. As you might have already experienced, they allow a number of new formatting options, including word wrap and data bars.
Also in table and matrix, the drill experience has been enhanced to make it easier to drill rows and columns. The default style for the table and matrix visual has also been updated to make it easier to read based on community feedback (but the old style can still be accessed if you prefer).
Word wrapping gets an update too, honouring new content lines whether they are loaded from the data source or specified in a DAX function.
Other reporting updates
There were a number of other updates in reporting, including the ability to rename fields using an ‘alias’ for a specific visual. The custom visuals store has been integrated into Power BI Desktop and the functionality from the relative date slicer has been brought to the filter pane as well.
A responsive layout for visuals is being previewed, acknowledging the fact that a lot of Power BI users access the service over different screen sizes. These responsive visualisations should dynamically change to display the optimum data and insight, dependent on the screen you are using.
A new breakdown option is being added to the waterfall chart. This should help you to understand the values and thus the underlying causes that led to an increase or decrease in neighbouring categories on the chart.
Analytics and modelling
Two quick measures from the community have been adopted and integrated. These are a star rating and a concatenated list of values option. Both are available under ‘Text’ in the Quick Measures dialogue.
Bidirectional cross filtering is also now generally available for DirectQuery models.
The Snowflake connector is also generally available after a period in preview. It will also work in the Power BI Service via the On-Prem Data Gateway.
Just a quick one here with the addition of support for more Number and Date/Time/Timezone data transformations when using “Add Column from Examples”.
A new feature called Performance Inspector has been added to the dashboard that allows you to inspect and diagnose issues if your loading time is slower than expected. An email subscription button has also been added, helping you to keep abreast when the underlying data refreshes in your dashboard.
Q&A experience on iOS
The Power BI Q&A experience was first introduced for some mobile devices in February. This has now been extended to iOS on preview, allowing you to receive answers to questions via interactive, explorable visuals on your iPhone or iPad.