Data Analytics

Power BI Updates – April 2020

Here we take a look at the latest updates released from Microsoft for Power BI. Here are the latest additions for April 2020!

This month brings lots of new visuals to play with…

As well as a lot of potentially minor but useful reporting changes.

Following trends of recent months they have also put a large focus on their AI visuals as well as their Q&A visuals.

Reporting Updates:

Personalise Visuals in Shared Reports

Previously report end users could only edit reports shared with them if the creator gave them edit permissions. Changes made would then alter the report for all users.
This month see a new feature which allows end users to personalise reports sent to them without the need for edit permissions, with changes made only affecting the report they see. This feature allows users to change the chart type and chart fields for a truly personalised report.

For the more technical side of this, you must first enable this via the desktop preview features and can then activate it on a report level basis via the report settings. For users to update their reports, they must first make their changes and then save the changes to a bookmark. To ensure they see their updates each time they log in to the report they must set the bookmark as a default.

Change Detection for Direct Query (Premium Feature only)

This is an added feature to assist with direct query efficiency. You can set Power BI to only refresh a report if it notices a change in a given measure, E.G. total number of sales. It will check this measure at given intervals determined by you.
To note, this must be turned on by the Power BI admin and is a premium feature only.

Relative Time slicer

Reports have had relative date slicers for some time now, allowing users to filter to the previous, current and next few time periods. Previously the smallest this went down to was days, however this month’s update brings in the feature to filter down to hours and even minutes. This could be useful if you are looking at live data with real time updates.

Multiselect Visuals with a Lasso

Something I know I will find irritating when designing reports is having to select all charts individually. This can be a pain when you have multiple visuals on a page overlapping each other. With this months updates you can now drag a box over the visuals you want to select and everything within that box will be selected.

Conditional Formatting on Totals and Subtotals for Matrices and Tables

A nice new feature this month is the ability to only show conditional formatting on the totals of a matrix / table, not on all values. This can be useful when you don’t care so much about the values but instead want to draw attention to your totals.

Analytics Updates:

AI Visuals allow Direct Query

The Key Influencers visual and the Decomposition Tree can now pull from a data source which is using direct query.

Decomposition Tree custom tooltips

Another improvement to the Decomposition Tree this month, you can now add custom tooltips to show any extra information you may feel goes with the data.

Q&A improvements

– First off you can now change the suggested questions in the Q&A to give a better end user experience. Instead of just showing the default questions you can add questions you think your users may actually be interested in.

– They have also added the ability for users to connect Q&A visuals straight to Power BI datasets, so you can now open up Power BI, connect to a dataset and start asking questions.

– Lastly they have added measures to the “Teach Q&A” section. This allows you to define certain key terms your end users may use, E.G. a “Large” company may be a company with over 100 employees, or a “Highly Profitable” client may have a profit percentage of 10% or more.

Custom Visuals:

XViz – Radar / Polar chart

A nice chart for multivariate data, able to analyse outliers and commonalities.

Gramener – Comicgen

This chart has cartoon people with different body poses / expressions. It’s a bit of a silly one, but it could be used as a lighthearted way to show positive / negative results.

Djeeni – Growth rate combo chart

A bar and line combo chart similar to the existing Microsoft line and clustered column chart, however this new visual has an extra growth rate shown at the top of the chart. This can show growth or variance of the data used in the chart.

OKViz – Smart Filter

Another slicer visual. This one does look quite nice and can be a good way of showing what filters are being applied to a page.


CDM Folder view for Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2

Data Preparation:

Enhancements to Query diagnostics

Microsoft have added more features to improve transparency of how it runs its queriers. Using these features is a great way to understand what the bottle necks for your queries are and how you can optimise them to enhance efficiency.

Template Apps:

  • Power Platform Centre of Excellence StartKit
  • Azure Cognitive Search: analyse logs and metrics
  • Covid – 19 Apps