I am sure that there were a few people who were eagerly waiting for the Power BI Desktop Update for October 2018. I sure was one of them and it was well worth the wait. Please read all the details below, as well as other updates that happened in the past week.

Power BI – Desktop Update Oct 2018

There has been yet another massive update to the Power BI Desktop release for October 2018, and as I do every month I will highlight what I feel is relevant in my opnion.


There is now the ability to be able to search within a filter for items. This is especially useful when there are a lot of items in your filter.

Every month there are more accessibility features that are being built into Power BI. This to me shows that Microsoft and the Power BI team are serious about not only helping people with accessibility challenges to view reports, but also allow these same people to create incredible Power BI reports.

As I showed in the initial image there has been a big performance improvement for ArcGIS maps. They respond now almost instantly and zoom into the area that you selected, which makes the reports that much faster. And who does not like near instant response times?


Another BIG improvement has been to the DAX editor. Now there are line numbers, ident lines, as well as showing where you are in your code, and if there is an error the bar will highlight it in red.

Along with this there are a whole host of Shortcut keys (which I still must learn and memorize) which makes the editing of DAX measures that much easier and quicker.

Shortcut Key Combination What it does
Alt+ ↑ / ↓ Move line up/down
Shift+Alt + ↓ / ↑ Copy line up/down
Ctrl+Enter Insert line below
Ctrl+Shift+Enter Insert line above
Ctrl+Shift+\ Jump to matching bracket
Ctrl+] / [ Indent/outdent line
Alt+Click Insert cursor
Ctrl+I Select current line
Ctrl+Shift+L Select all occurrences of current selection
Ctrl+F2 Select all occurrences of current word


Even though I do not have a picture, I wish I did, because having the Aggregations and Composite Models in the Power BI Service is honestly a BIG BIG Deal. I have been looking into this and it is a total game changer for when you do not need or want to load ALL the data into a data model for those exception reporting cases (When one or very few users require more granular data).

Not only that but it makes the performance of the Power BI reports so much faster when visualising the data over a large dataset. I cannot wait to implement this.

They are building more smarts into Power BI Desktop, now where it can explain the increase for non-additive measures. This could provide some insights that before would have taken quite a while to figure out yourself. Not only that but if the visual is what you want to show you can then add this to your report.

Custom Visuals

I am not going to cover all the custom visuals, suffice to say that in the blog post there are a lot of additional custom visuals.

Data Connectivity

There are a whole host of Data Connectors that are now generally available below:

  • Web by Example
  • SAP BW Connector V2
  • SAP BW Message Connector
  • Vertical Connector
  • Dynamics NAV
  • Dynamics 365 Business Central

And there is a new connector for Dynamics 365 Business Central On-Premise Connector

Data Preparation

Wow, this is what I would consider a 3rd massive update to Power BI Desktop in one month, where you can now profile your data in the Power Query Editor.

This is something that I know a lot of people have been asking for, and it does provide a quick way to understand what your data looks like, how many distinct values etc. It also ensures that your data is as you expect. Not only that but you can also easily shape your data based on the data profiling within the charts that are displayed.

There is now an option to use fuzzy matching to compare in the merge, where you can set some additional options:

  • Set the threshold of how high or low you want to try and match
  • Ignoring case or spaces
  • Maximum number of matches to match on.
  • Transformation table, this is where you can have a table where it might not appear to be related, but in the transformation table it could have those translations between what potentially the business calls an item and what it is coming from the data source.

One thing to note for the fuzzy matching you will need to install the October version of the On-Premise Data Gateway for it to refresh in the Power BI Service.


There are now additional export data options where you can set how the data can be exported or even not at all.

Once thing which Amanda did call out in her video is that the Tenant Settings will always be enforced. This means if the tenant setting says that no data can be exported no matter what you set in the above image, it will not give you the option in the Power BI Service.

If your organization has changed from TLS 1.0 to TLS 2.0 and the above registry keys have been updated Power BI Desktop will respect those settings.

Here is this months MASSIVE blog post: Power BI Desktop October 2018 Feature Summary

Power BI – Aggregations for Petabyte Scale

This is a great blog post by Christian Wade from the Power BI team where he discusses the high-level overview of how Aggregations can enable your organization to leverage their petabyte scale data for blazing fast reporting performance.

You can find the blog post details here: Aggregations for petabyte-scale BI available in the Power BI service

Power BI – Webinar Ask Anything on Power BI Premium

There will be a webinar on 18 Oct 2018 PST, where Chuck will have Josh Caplan from the Microsoft Power BI team where you will be able to ask him anything relating to Power BI Premium.

With the recent updates to Power BI Premium and the usage reporting that is now available I am certain that there will be a lot of interesting questions, as well as insights into Power BI Premium. This is one Webinar that I want to attend, and if I cannot attend I will watch it later.

Here are more details: Webinar 10/18 Group Program Manager, Josh Caplan, and the Power BI team host an Ask Anything around managing and monitoring Power BI Premium

Power BI – Power BI Report Server Timing

It is great to see that the Power BI Report Server team have now announced a dedicated release schedule for Power BI Report Server.

This will now be Jan, May and Sept each year.

I know that typically Power BI Report Server is installed in organizations who have a standard way of working and upgrading or updating systems. By having a dedicated release schedule these can be planned for accordingly.

All the details are here: Power BI Report Server release timing update