Here is another week of BI news and information.

Power BI – Desktop Update for August

This month there is another great list of updates in Power BI Desktop. As I have done previously I will highlight what I personally think are great updates.

Report View Updates

There have been quite a few updates in the report view.

The ability be able to drill down on a line chart is great. I think that this is a welcome addition due to the fact that sometimes the line charts are the best visual and in the past this had to be modified to a bar chart in order to achieve this. Along with this they have also made the bar chart continuous on the axis when a date is selected.

They have also made inline hierarchies generally available, which is great when you want to create an on the fly hierarchy.

The matrix tables have also had some additions added so that you can use better styles.

And finally the ability to use your own custom color formatting for KPI visuals. As sometimes you want it to be a specific color to compliment your data.


This is a totally new area that Power BI has created (as you can see in the first image above), and when I have been browsing other vendors in the visual space, this is where currently Power BI is still a bit behind. But with this addition I can soon see there will be a whole host of additions and improvements.

They have started out with some default analytics, but these are already going to help showcase or easily show trends within your data. And I have no doubt in future releases there will be a lot more analytics built into Power BI. There are a whole host of options when you got into any of the current options available.

Data Connectors

They have added additional data connectors for Snowflake, as well as making changes and improvements to the Impala, Web and SAP BW connectors.

What I want to highlight is the web connector, (again in the second image above) is that they have now made it very easy to navigate and make sure that the table that you want to select is the one that has the data that you want. They have made it as easy as to just select the table that you want.

Query Editing Improvements

Here they have updated the way the Merge/Append works to give you additional options.


Finally, they have enabled the functionality for Auto-Recovery of your Power BI Desktop files. I have used this in the past in the other Office suite (Word, Excel, etc) and this is a really handy feature to have. They have also provided the ability to set how frequently you want it to create an auto-recovery file.

You can find all the details here: Power BI Desktop August Feature Summary

Power BI – R Showcase

As I am sure a lot of people in the BI space know, currently R is gaining significant traction. This is partly due to the uses that it can be used for in the Data Scientist and visualizations. As well as now being part of SQL Server 2016 and Power BI.

It is great to see that they now have a showcase in Power BI, in which you can see the use cases.

You can find the blog post here: Inspire and Get Inspired with the R Showcase

Power BI – Content Pack Certification Program Overview

For organizations who are looking to create content packs that can be used within the Power BI Service, Microsoft have released a blog post explaining on how to go about this.

There do seem to be quite a few steps, but when I had a quick read it appears to be more of a process to get it done, and not very difficult.

You can find the details here: Content Pack Certification Program Overview

Power BI – Publisher for Excel August Update

There is an update for the Power BI publisher for Excel. This enables you to connect directly from Excel to your Power BI datasets and reports.

In this update they have given the ability to connect to read-only groups, as well as reports and datasets that have been shared with you.

You can find the information as well as the download link here: Power BI publisher for Excel – August update

OkViz – Sparkline Visual

The guys from OkViz have created another visual called Sparkline. And they have expanded the default options that you would traditionally have with a Sparkline chart.

I am sure that this will be used in a lot of reports and dashboards where it fits the requirement.

There is quite a bit of information and you can find it here: Introducing Sparkline for Power BI