Power BI Desktop | September 2018 Updates

Categories: Data & AI Product Updates
Tags: Microsoft Microsoft Power BI

The September release of updates from the Power BI Desktop system address some of the most important requests brought to light through the UserVoice community. Below we will provide you with a brief insight into the latest features.


It is now possible to print and email reports through the new export to PDF feature. This feature has been a long time coming and will allow all visible report pages to be exported to PDF via the File menu. While the PDF is generating it is not possible to interact with the report, but once ready it will open within your default PDF viewer.


Following on from the major August update for theming, this feature is now available without opting in through the Options dialog box. There are plans in place to continue the development of this feature, which will allow users to quickly format their reports.


This month there is a new form of conditional formatting by values, for use in both table and matrix. The field value will enable users to use a column or measure which specifies a colour through a name of hex code, which can then be applied to a font or background colour.


Perhaps the most exciting announcement relating to analytics is the integration of the programming language Python into the Power BI Desktop. The feature can be enabled through the preview settings and can be used to assist with data analysis, cleansing and creating new visuals.



It is now possible to pick data categories for use in measures. This feature allows users to create URLs for data categories, which can then be visited when clicked in a table. This is ideal for users who need to be able to link to other Power BI reports via URL filter parameters. This new modelling feature will also enable users to create DAX measures to display interesting insights such as sparklines through SVG images.


Custom visuals

The 3AG system can now be used to create an overlapping column chart with a variance chart directly above. This useful feature is ideal for displaying actual and forecast data for multiple years. Another useful custom feature is the scatter chart by Akvelon, which will allow users to compare metrics through drilling, formatting and constant lines on both axes.


Data connectivity

Many users will be pleased to hear that the Spark connector has now reached the General Availability level. The feature can be found within the Get Data dialog box under the 'Other' category. This useful update will allow you to create import or DirectQuery reports within Power BI which use the data stored within Spark clusters.


Coming soon

Power BI is currently working on a large extension project for use in scatter chart visual, which will allow users to import categorical data whilst still using the expanding range of formatting options.

This is just a quick summary of the updates available within Power BI Desktop this month, take a look at the video below for the full update!

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