Once again, Microsoft’s Power BI shows the IT industry why it is one of the leading business analytics platforms, with an announcement of even more updates to its software. With May’s software updates offering excellent visualisation options and improved reporting functions, June will bring in added adaptability with a focus on improved data connectivity and even more reporting options.
Read on to see our round-up of the best Microsoft Power BI updates this June.
High contrast support for reports
Power BI reports will now reflect the colour palette that you’re using for a more streamlined user experience. Keeping in line with other Microsoft products, such as Excel, Power BI will automatically detect the high contrast theme that you’re using and apply the colours across your report when using it on a desktop.
This is an excellent way to improve organisation and appear more professional. This same automatic theme detection will be available in the Power BI service too, but this will be limited to certain internet browsers. Currently, high contrast may not be applied to all areas of your desktop report and it may be a little more restricted online dependant on your browser, however, Microsoft has announced that they will be adding more support for high contrast, throughout the rest of 2018. For more detail on high contrast reports, please watch the following:
Improved formatting options
June brings added customisability for Power BI formatting. Now, users can control the inner radius of a donut chart, choosing how thin or thick they want it to appear. Easily achieved by heading to the formatting pane and looking under the ‘Shape’ card, this will help users to create the right style for their report.
Alongside this, the pie and donut labels have been updated to support the repositioning of detail labels inside. This means that labels don’t have to always be on the outside or the inside and that you won’t need to choose one position over another. This update to the labels also gives the option to let text overflow past the edge of the shape and have a clear or filled background, for added flexibility.
The last formatting improvement this month is an update to data labels in combo charts. Now you can customise individual series. When using this software, head to the data labels card of Power BI's formatting pane. You can turn the Customise Series option on to format an individual measure’s formatting option, such as colour, display units and the number of decimal points.
Added organization chart custom visuals
The Power BI organisation chart visual is an excellent way to understand your data. Enabling users to create a tree diagram of data, it is versatile enough to let users give every node an image, name and a hyperlink. Formatting options are good with the tree layout and users can edit the node colours, label formatting and orientation.
To see the Organisation Chart custom visual demonstrated:
May saw the introduction of the China Colour Map custom visual, and June will see a follow up for this with the China Heat Map visual. It’s an excellent tool for users who will be using geographical data for the country. The Chinese Heat Map custom visual has a range of clever features including offline maps, one-click switching between national and regional maps and the option to set the latitude and longitude of the desired area. Alongside this, visual formatting options are extensive and users can also opt to use a custom gradient range fill.
Extensive data connectivity improvements
Data connectivity has been a big focus for June’s Power BI updates, with connector improvements and a new driver having been created for the SAP business Warehouse Connector. The new implementation option labelled as “2.0” in the SAP BW connector dialogue will create a new connection to Microsoft’s new SAP BW driver.
The connector improvements that come with this new implementation are excellent, with improved performance, better exception handling, the ability to switch execution modes and column folding in BasXml and BasXmlGzip modes to name a few. Perhaps the most exciting improvement is the fact that the new implementation means that users will have the ability to retrieve a whopping several million rows of data, as well as fine tune through batch size parameters.
In addition to the new implementation label, Microsoft Power BI has updated its software to include improved support for hierarchy variables and the ODBC connector has received a number of improvements that will improve performance and navigation.
The Spark connector will now support Windows authentication for easier established connection and OData V4 has received significant improvements, to provide better support and improved performance.