Power BI Update | April 2018

Categories: Data & AI
Tags: Microsoft Microsoft Power BI

Windows Power BI has announced two exciting new features this month that will allow consumers to interact with reports in an entirely unique and fresh way. Combined with Power Bi's standard visual and data connector improvements, April is proving to be an exciting month for the Microsoft business suite. 

Reporting with a Q&A Explorer

Power BI has found a way to combine a Q&A experience into reports, benefitting consumers. It means that they will be able to ask questions about the data that is included in the report, helping them to search and access information with ease, something which is ideal for extensive or large collections of information. 

It's a relatively simple feature to set up and can be added with an image, shape or button which will launch a Q&A explorer. The dialogue can be assigned to this image, shape or button with the flexibility to add suggested questions to enhance user experience, as well as give them the opportunity to ask ad-hoc questions.

The Q&A explorer is an intelligent feature that enables users to introduce multiple experiences throughout a report, with numerous suggested questions. It can also return whole report pages back as answers for added convenience.

It's important to note that the Q&A Explorer does not currently appear in mobile reports or for Publish to Web reports. However, it works in Power BI Embedded reports.

Desktop Download button

Windows 10 users can benefit from a direct download of Power BI Desktop from the Microsoft Store. We recommend downloading it from this source to enable the best performance. It's also important to remember that by doing this, users will have the MSI and store versions of Desktop installed. For this reason, users should manually uninstall their current version of Power BI Desktop before installing the Microsoft Store version.

Buttons to trigger actions

A button control has now been added to Power BI to give users an app-like experience and interactive elements into reports.

A button is easy to insert and has a good range of customizability, letting users decide its outline, icon, text and fill colour. Users can also enjoy more fine-tuned control that includes controlling the size, colour, and alignment. 

Improved default sort for visuals

To simplify the process of creating well-formatted reports, Power BI has improved their default visual sort. Their new logic means that date fields are sorted chronologically (if using a date field), visual associated order-by columns will be sorted by default and those who don’t have an order-by column or date field will be sorted by the measure descending.

Custom visuals

Organisational visuals are now largely available for Power BI and are accessible out-of-the-box, for both Power BI Desktop and the Power BI service. Additional support has been added, to ensure that organisational visuals are supported in Publish to Web. Support for the administrator to update the visual package and disable visuals is also included.

Combo chart line styles

The August update of adding legend options and line styles for line charts was a move in the right direction, but the inability to use these styles for combination charts left room for improvement. This has now been fixed and users have the option to alter combo chart lines to many different styles, as well as have it optionally repeated in the legend.

Numeric range slicer now generally available

A slicer type choice for numeric columns, without needing to turn on a preview feature, shows us that Power Bi's numeric range is now available to use. Any newly designed slicers using numeric columns will default to the between mode of the numeric range slicer. 

Update your linguistic schema

Power BI now has the capacity to export linguistic schema in the YAML format. This is an excellent way to enhance the new Q&A explorer feature and means that users can make schema edits that include adding phrasing, synonyms and altering the language model that Q&A uses to know questions about the data. 

Overview by CloudScope

Showing data in a format similar to Instagram, the Overview by CloudScope is a presentation visual, created for listed data. This new control can display a multitude of elements including an image or icon, screen name or headline, account description or name, clickable hyperlink, multiple data fields and more.

Icon Map by Altius

Icon Map by Altius simplifies the way that data-bound images, lines and circles are seen, showing them on an easy-to-digest map. Features of this map include showing images instead of circles, connecting images or circles with lines, selecting from any different tile layers, showing a real-time daylight curve and adding real-time weather layers (when used with an OpenWeatherMap API key).

Hexbin Scatterplot

Created by David Eldersveld, the Hexbin Scatterplot custom visual works by displaying points, placed above hexagonal "bins". Each Hexbin’s colour is formed from the mass of points within each bin, with the darker coloured bins showing the most points. This is an excellent way to view and showcase information.

Data connectivity

Developed in partnership with Adobe and previously available (and sought after) as a preview from December 2017, we are excited to announce that the Adobe Analytics connector is now widely available on Power Bi. 

Dynamics 365 Business Central connector

April sees a new connector that will enable users to connect to the Dynamics 365 Business Central, up until now, known as Dynamics 365 for Financials.

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