The major update to Power BI to report this month, is the eagerly anticipated What If feature. In addition, there have been amends and additions to the table and matrix visual, and some new analytics features have been introduced.
Here, we summarise the main August 2017 updates:
What If feature
A much-used feature in Excel, whereby users can replace a value within a formula with their own to review the effect on the end output, a What If feature within Power BI has been a frequent user request. The Power BI team announced introduction of the feature at the Data Insights Summit keynote in June, and which offers a new section in the Modelling tab, enabling users to create new expressions to use in DAX analysis.
To help promote the feature, Microsoft has created the What If Report Contest – closing date 1 September 2017 – inviting users to discover the “most creative and fun uses of What If parameters in a Power BI report”. The Power BI team is looking for “that crazy dataset or a cool unexpected use for parameters”. “Tap into your creative side to build a fun report!” they say!
Additional analytics updates
Among the analytics updates announced in August, three are worth noting, The first two, new options in Scatter charts, cover symmetry shading – enabling users to see which points have higher x-axis values compared to the y-axis measures (and vice versa) – and the second, a new ratio line feature. This feature enables users to plot the x-axis and y-axis subtotal ratios, and identify the higher value at a glance.
The final analytics that we’re reporting in this blog, is that a new weighted average per category has been added as a quick measure.
Following the table and matrix visuals having been made generally available, additional features introduced mean that users can now display values as rows as well as column headers, and functionality now provides for conditional formatting to column font colours rather than just cell backgrounds.
In addition, the matrix visual can be customised to show subtotals for each level of the matrix hierarchy, and there is an option to override the automatic placing at the top, and move row subtotals to the bottom.
New formatting options are added to line charts, incorporating dotted or dashed as well as solid lines, and the line chart legend can be customised. With scatter charts, performance augmentation means an up-to 30 percent improvement in load times.
The Power BI service connector – now generally available – gives users the ability to connect to any of their datasets in the Power BI service, while making it easy to create a single model to reuse in multiple reports. A new connector is also being released in August for Google BigQuery.