Welcome to 2018, and I am sure that everyone is keen and ready to hit the ground running. I am really excited to see what this year will bring, both personally as well as with how things progress specifically in the Microsoft BI (Data and Analytics space). So here is my first BI Roundup for 2018

Power BI – January 2018 Update

It almost caught me by surprise that it was already time for another Power BI update, and here we are.


The Show/Hide pages does not appear to be anything significant, but I have to admit that for me this is AWESOME. As I have been developing Power BI reports, I have often had to save multiple PBIX files, because I would be busy working on a new report, and someone would ask for a quick change. In order to get the change published I had to make a copy of the PBIX, then rename, change and upload.

Now I simply can hide the page in my existing PBIX file, and when read (or if not required) I can unhide the page.

Next is the ability to control the background colours for Cartesian and map controls. This has been available in other chart types, but not it is available in more charts.

Also in the past when using charts with labels that are rather long, they have often been truncated. Now with the latest update I can modify the maximum size in order to get more of the labels visible. As shown I can change the sizing and I can see more details on the label.

Along with this, under the same section in the charts is now the ability to be able to set the Inner Padding for Bar and Column charts. As shown below by changing the Inner Padding, the bar chart can start to almost look like a histogram. Likewise, I can also shrink the Inner padding to make the bars smaller than the defaults.

Showing the dates as a hierarchy is another update that will help when you do not have a date table in your model. I personally would suggest creating a date table, because this unlocks all the Time Intelligence measures within Power BI. But with that being said now with a Date Hierarchy, I can now select a single value from the hierarchy and it will only give me those values. If I select Month, it will then only show me the months.

When using the Relative Date Slicer, there now is the option to select an Anchor date. This is an awesome feature especially if you want to ensure that your starting date is from a specific period. As with the example in the video from Amanda where she references if you are doing quarterly reviews and you only want to see the previous quarter. You can use the anchor date to achieve this.

And finally, there is already an update for Q&A in the desktop, for the TOP N selection. I did blog about it this week, in terms of the hidden gems when using Q&A (Ask a Question (Q&A) Hidden Treasures in Power BI Desktop)


In this section there was only one update with a new quick measure from Daniil Maslyuk, where he has created a quick measure for the Pearson correlation coefficient between two measures within a certain category.

Custom Visuals

Once again in this month’s updates there are a whole host of Custom Visuals, and I am going to give screenshots and the names of what they are. Especially the PowerApps Custom visual because it has its own entire blog post from the Power BI Team

Next is the TreeViz visual which is similar to a decomposition tree.

Funnel with Source by MAQ Software

Box and Whisker by MAQ Software

Agility Planning Matrix Light which reminds a bit of a pivot table

Image Grid

Gantt Chart by MAQ Software

Data Connectivity

There is now support for Azure Active Directory authentication for Azure SQL database and Data Warehouse connectors. Which is really great because some customers these days only have all their data in the cloud. As well as others being federated from their local active directory.

And finally, there is the option to change the display language not only for the application (which is the front end or where you create the reports), but also for the Model (Which is the query editor where you can mash the data up)

You can find all the blog post details here: Power BI Desktop January Feature Summary

Power BI – Power Apps Custom Visual

This is something that I know a lot of people have been waiting for. And now it is finally here. The capability to include Power Apps into my Power BI report.

This opens endless possibilities, as an example I now could enable write back from within my Power BI report, back to my source data. Which would then update the report. I could also potentially use Microsoft flow via Power Apps to distribute content or send emails directly from my Power BI report.

I will not go into too much detail, but rather wanted to highlight that the capability is now there.

You can read the fascinating blog post here: From Insights to Action with the Power Apps custom visual