Power BI RoundUp – Power BI Desktop Dec Update – Dataflows Integration with your own Azure Data Lake – Business Application 2019 – Developer Update Nov 2018 – Windows App Update

It appears that there is one last massive push from the Power BI team before the end of the year.

I would consider this my early Christmas present, so please enjoy and read below.

Power BI Desktop Update Dec 2018

Once again it is another big update to Power BI desktop.


I really like the smart guides that are available, this makes the visuals line up better and make the entire development experience that much easier. To me it is very similar to what you get in PowerPoint.

There have been a whole host of really cool updates for ArcGIS in both the free and paid versions where you can find similar items, as well as having up to 5000 map data points in the paid version.

It is great to see such a great focus on accessibility features being implemented into Power BI, and this month they have extended this with the field list accessibility support.

You can now set the tab order on objects on a page, this is really good not only for accessibility but I have had times when the mouse has not been working and by setting this up, it allows me to easily move between items. You can also move items and disable them from being in the tab order.

There now is tooltips for buttons, which was suggested by my good friend Matt Allington and it certainly makes it a lot easier to get more context on what the button is supposed to be doing.

Icons showing the visual interactions as well as all the other images now are in an SVG format, which will make it scale better. I personally like the updated icons


There now is support using Q&A for LiveConnection SSAS (SQL Server Analysis Services) databases. The one thing to note is it is currently only supported for Tabular Models with the compatibility mode of 1103 and above.

The above is a preview feature, so you will have to update it in the Preview features under Options.


The DAX formula bar has received 2 updates.

The first one is now you can zoom in and out, which is great when you are presenting or when you want to see more of your code on a high-resolution screen.

Second, is that the DAX formula bar will expand to the size of your screen, allowing you to see more of your DAX code, when there is a lot of code

Yet another accessibility feature is that you now can access the data view using CTRL + F6 and you can navigate all the items in the data view.

Data Connectivity

This month there are 2 new connectors.

The AtScale Beta Connector and the Essbase Beta Connector

Data Preparation

When using the Fuzzy merge there now is an option to select the TopN matches when trying to match using the Fuzzy merge logic. This is great to ensure that you do not return too many matches


High contrast support is now available for all panes and report footer

And finally, there is an improved keyboard shortcuts dialog as shown below.

Here are the blog post details, and I would recommend watching the YouTube video: Power BI Desktop December 2018 Feature Summary

Data Flows Integration with your own Azure Data Lake

There has been a lot of interest with Power BI Dataflows since it was released.

That latest release now allows you to unify data across Power BI and Azure Data Lake.

This can now be done by creating CDM folders in the Azure Data Lake, and once that has been created not only can that be used by Power BI, but it can also be used by Azure Data Factory, Azure Data Bricks, Azure ML and no doubt more integration points over time.

There really is a wealth of information in this blog post.

Not only that but there also is a full tutorial which will allow you to test and end to end setup. That is SO COOL! (And I am going to set some time aside to get it working)

Here are the blog details: Power BI Dataflows and Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 Integration Preview

Business Applications Summit 2019

The dates for the Business Applications Summit have been announced on 10-11 June 2019, at this year it will be in Atlanta Georgia.

You can already buy tickets for this event, and I am planning on attending next year again. I found that going to these events are an invaluable way to do a lot of learning and networking with some incredible people.

All the details are here: Microsoft Business Applications Summit is back – join us June 10-11, 2019 in Atlanta!

Developer Update Nov 2018

There have been a lot of updates in the Power BI Developer space in November.

Power BI Embedded in Azure

You can now have Paginated reports and data flows in Power BI Embedded.

Not only that but there are also 2 new metrics to monitor your Power BI Embedded which are Memory per Workload and QPU per Workload. Both are important because now there are potentially 3 workloads in Power BI Embedded which would be Analysis Services, Paginated Reports and Dataflows.

There is also now Azure Health monitoring to ensure that all the resources are available as shown in the image below

There is now also the capability to have zero downtime when scaling your resources when scaling up or down.

This is done by using a script which creates a temporary capacity resource, and moves your current workspaces to this temporary capacity resource, until the scaling up or down is complete and then moves it back.

Embed Capabilities

Usage metrics are now available for embedded reports and dashboards as shown below.

Automation and Life Cycle Management

You can now create a new App Workspace with the Power BI REST API

Custom Visuals with additional purchases are now supported, with In App Purchases

Here are all the details: Power BI Developer community November update

Windows App Update

There has been an update to the Windows App for Windows PC’s, Laptops & Tablets where you can now enter presentation mode which will allow you to have it as you are presenting.

Not only that but if you have a pen and compatible device you can also Ink this onto the report.

The blog details are here: Presentation mode in Power BI Windows App

Power BI RoundUp – Ask a follow up question, Help Improve Power BI

As I am typing this I am wondering if tomorrow I will have to update it with the new Power BI Desktop features, or if this will be coming out next week!

Here is my weekly Power BI RoundUp

Power BI – Ask a follow up question

If you are not aware there is now new functionality in Power BI to be able to ask a related question based on your first question that you asked. This is really powerful stuff.

If this is something of interest to you here is the blog post: Ask a question using natural language updates

Power BI – Help Improve Power BI

If you would like to help improve Power BI, then here is your chance to take the survey.

I have taken the survey myself.

Not only that if you live in the USA you could win a $50 gift card.

Here is the blog post: Help improve Power BI – quarterly survey

Power BI RoundUp – Help Shape the Future of Power BI – On-Premise Update for Nov 2018 – Modeling View – Analysis Services is 20 years old!

Here is my weekly roundup, and whilst it has not been as busy as the past few weeks, there are still some awesome updates.

Power BI – Help Shape the Future of Power BI

I always think it is really important to provide feedback, especially when they are asking for assistance.

You can click on the link above to take the Survey.

Personally, this gives me the opportunity to be able to give feedback and hopefully help improve and drive the product forward.

You can find the details here: Help shape the future of Power BI

Power BI – On-Premise Data Gateway Update for Nov 2018

You can click on the image above to download the latest version of the On-Premise Data Gateway.

In this months, updates are bug fixes, improvements and the November version of the Mashup Engine, which runs all the Power Query steps.

All the details can be found here: On-premises data gateway November update is now available

Power BI – Modeling View

As shown above there is the new Modeling View in Power BI, and this blog post does a quick overview of the new features, as well as a GIF to show you it in action.

Blog details can be found here: Modeling View in Power BI Desktop

Analysis Services is 20 years old

Whilst it might not appear to some people why this is so significant, this is because the underlying analytical engine in Power BI desktop is a version of Analysis Services.

This video is awesome to see people both from Microsoft & other awesome people who have been using analysis services for a VERY long time.

I really enjoyed watching the video, I would recommend watching it.

All the details can be found here: Analysis Services is 20 years old!

Power BI RoundUp – (Nov 2018 Desktop release – AI Capabilities for Power BI)

Well this month has sure been a busy month with a whole host of additional updates for Power BI. I personally am really looking forward to the next few months to better understand how all of this will evolve and assist customers on leveraging their data assets.

Power BI – Nov 2018 Desktop

This was yet another massive update to Power BI Desktop with a lot of the most requested features being released. As I do every year below are the features which I would like to highlight in this release. If you are interested in all the details please read the entire blog post from the Microsoft Power BI team.


As shown in the picture above there is now the option to have expand and collapse buttons for tables and matrix. You can also do this from the right click context menu. And a great feature when you do not want to expand all the rows, but rather a particular area.

Another new feature is the capability to be able to copy visuals between PBIX files. This will work well if you have two PBIX files that have the same datasets, then the visual will be copied across. If it does not, then you will get a warning with regards to this.

The new filtering experience is really a great new feature. Not only can you now let users easily change the filters on the data as they require. It is also customizable in terms of the look and feel. Along with that, you can also select which filters can be changed and which filters are locked.

As you can see above, when you are on a visual you can hover of the filter icon and it will show you what is filtering the visual. That is AWESOME

As you can see above there are now additional Hotkeys for accessibility options, which is great to see that they are expanding on these capabilities.

The above now also supports keyboard navigation, screen readers and high contrast.


There is a new feature where you can now use colour saturation on visuals with conditional formatting, in all 3 forms which is by colour by scales, colour by rules & Colour by field.

It applies to the following visuals below.

  • All variants of column and bar charts
  • Funnel chart
  • Bubble & filled maps
  • Shape map (preview)
  • Treemap
  • Scatter chart

They have expanded the Q&A features to now allow you to be able to ask related questions in the Q&A explorer. You do this by clicking on the “Ask a related question” which will allow you to keep asking questions based on your previous question.

The blog post also gives a bit more details on terms of what additional question types you can ask.


When you open up Power BI Desktop Nov 2018, you will see the above button on the right hand side. This new modelling experience allows you to do the following:

  • Customize and save multiple diagram layouts
  • You can see the modelling options through the field properties pane and field list.
  • Capability to apply settings to multiple columns at once.
  • And finally, the option to create display folders, which I know is something I have been waiting for, as well as a lot of other people have been asking for this feature.

Composite Models are now Generally available in the Power BI Service. Amazing how quickly that went into GA!

There are 3 new DAX functions which are below.

Daniil already has got a great blog post explaining how to use this new IsInScope DAX function : New DAX function: ISINSCOPE

Custom Visuals

Below are the actual visualizations for the new custom visuals that have been released. If you are looking for more details, please read the blog post from the Power BI Team (link at the end of this)

Data Connectivity

As shown above there is now a beta connector to Azure DevOps Server to import and report on your Azure DevOps data.

There have been improvements to the PDF connector to allow you to specify a start and end page of your PDF file to look for tables within the PDF file.

The Azure Consumption Insights connector now includes Budget and Reserved Instances.

All the blog post details can be found here: Power BI Desktop November 2018 Feature Summary

Power BI – AI Capabilities

There is a new private preview of some new and exciting Power BI AI features that are coming.

The new capabilities are looking to include the following:

  • Using Azure Cognitive Services which will allow for image recognition and text analytics directly in Power BI.
  • Key Driver Analysis to better understand what drives key business metrics
  • Automated Machine learning models directly in Power BI
  • And finally, the capability to be able to bring your own Machine Learning models into your Power BI datasets.

The future of AI and Power BI sure does look bright.

You can find all the details here: Announcing new AI Capabilities for Power BI to make AI Accessible for Everyone

Power BI RoundUp with SQL Pass updates – Dataflows – Paginated Reports (SSRS) – Premium Metrics App with Data Flows & Paginated Metrics – Paginated Reports in Mobile App – Mobile & Service Update for Oct – Bonus features coming to Power BI Desktop

As expected this week with SQL Pass, there has been a whole host of new capabilities and features in Power BI, so please see my roundup below with the relevant links below.

And even though there is a lot of announcements here, we are still waiting for the update to Power BI Desktop!!

Power BI Dataflows

One of the biggest updates and releases to Power BI is dataflows. I personally think that this is a MASSIVE differentiator from other players in the Self-Service space.

The first thing I would like to highlight is that this is available to both Power BI Pro and Premium Customers. Below is a table of the key differences.

Dataflows allows you to now build data purely inside the Power BI Service, that stores the data in Azure Data Lake Gen2.

There are so many advantages to this:

  • Not only does it allow the business user to easily access data and use it in their data model as a data source (like SQL Server)
  • It also allows for the linking of entities (Premium feature)
  • It allows for Incremental Refreshing (Premium Feature)
  • Linking of entities which works like Excel (Premium Feature)

I would highly recommend that you read the blog post here: Introducing: Power BI data prep with dataflows

And here is the link to the Whitepaper: Understanding Dataflows in Power BI

Power BI Paginated Reports (SSRS)

There is now the capability to be able to use SSRS in the cloud. This is really great news and I am certain that there are a lot of customers who have been patiently waiting for SSRS to be available in the cloud.

It is now available in Power BI Premium. And along with this out of the box there are a lot of features that are already there, and some additional features which will come later. No doubt it is a very different set of requirements to build something that will work in the cloud vs an On-Premise implementation.

Some of the potential new capabilities which will be coming in the future to Paginated reports are:

  • Support for scheduling and sending paginated reports using e-mail subscriptions and having attachments
  • Embedding in third-party applications
  • Authoring reports against Power BI datasets
  • The ability to seamlessly drill through from a Power BI report to a paginated report in the service

All the details can be found in the blog post: Public Preview of Paginated Reports in Power BI Premium Now Available

Power BI Premium Metrics App includes metrics for Dataflows & Paginated Reports

It is incredible to see the pace of innovation from Microsoft and the Power BI team. Even though both dataflows and paginated reports have just been released you can now already use the Power BI Premium metrics app to see metrics for dataflows and paginated reports.

You can now see the following metrics for Paginated reports

  • Total views of the report with average for row count
  • Total time spent on the reports between retrieval/processing/rendering
  • Split by hour, dataflow name, and workspace name

The following is also available for data flows

  • Total refresh count
  • Refresh reliability
  • Average/max duration and average/max wait times of dataflow refreshes by dataflow name and workspace name

You can find more details on the Power BI Premium Metrics App here: Paginated report metrics and dataflow metrics now available in Premium Capacity Metrics app

Power BI Mobile App with support for Paginated Reports

If you update your Power BI Mobile App, you will now have the capability to be able to see paginated reports directly within your Power BI mobile app.

Once again it is incredible to see all the new functionality released across the entire platform, not only to the Power BI Service, but to the mobile app also.

It is available in the Android, iOS and Windows Apps

More details can be found here: Power BI Paginated Reports also available in Power BI Mobile Apps (preview)

Power BI Mobile and Service updates for Oct 2018

A lot of the updates for the Power BI Mobile and Service app have already been covered in other blog posts.

Below is a list of the updates with the relevant links

Power BI RoundUp – Webinar on Advanced Data Prep – Data Flows in Power BI – On-Premise Data Gateway Update – New Power BI Regions in Azure – General Availability of Custom & Certified Data Connectors

Here is my weekly Power BI related round up, I hope that you find this information relevant and keeps you up to date with everything that is happening with regards to Power BI.

Power BI – Webinar on Advanced Data Prep with Dataflows


There is an upcoming Webinar on 13 November 2018, where Anton Fritz will introduce you to what Power BI Data Flows are and how they can be used.

The Webinar details can be found here: With Power BI dataflows for unified data and powerful insights

Blog – Dataflows in Power BI

If you are interested in Power BI Dataflows, Matthew Roche from the Power BI team has a series of 6 blog posts where he goes into a lot more details on data flows, what they are and how they can be used.

I have read all of them and I would recommend reading through them if you are interested in how you can leverage Power BI dataflows going forward.

As well as hit the ground running.

Blog post details here: Dataflows in Power BI

Power BI – On-Premise Data Gateway Update for Nov

There is an update for the On-Premise Data Gateway for November, where they have updated the Gateway with the following:

  • Enhancements to the Vertica and OData connectors
  • Public preview for the SAP HANA & BW Single Sign On (Kerberos) Support
  • Improved Diagnostics
  • October 2018 Mashup Engine

You can find all the details here: On-premises data gateway October update is now available

Power BI – New Power BI Regions

It was announced this week that you can now get Power BI in 3 new Azure Regions which are:

  • Central India
  • Australia East
  • Central US (Iowa)

You can find more details here: New Power BI regions in India, Australia, and the United States

Power BI – General Availability of Custom & Certified Data Connectors

Custom & Certified data connectors are now generally available in the Power BI Service.

This will now allow you to not only connect to any data source but also have the functionality to be able to refresh the data via the On-Premise Data Gateway

You can find more details here: Announcing General Availability of Custom and Certified Connectors for Power BI

Power BI RoundUp – (Desktop Update Oct 2018 – Aggregations for Petabytes Scale – Webinar Ask Anything on Power BI Premium – Power BI Report Server Timing)

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

Power BI RoundUp – (Power BI Preview Features in Action – Developer Update for Sept – Webinar on Power Query & M for Calendar Tables)

Welcome to another week of the weekly Power BI RoundUp, I hope you enjoy catching up on the latest content below.

Power BI – Power BI Preview Features in Action

In this blog post by Chuck (Charles) Sterling he goes into details on all the preview features that are going to be shown at the last 3 stops of the Power BI World Tour.

I went to the Sydney event and I thoroughly enjoyed it, I met some new friends, networked and learned a lot.

All the details on what will be shown is available here: See Power BI Preview Features in action at the Power BI World Tour

Power BI – Developer Update for September

As you can see above there were 3 updates this month.

The first being an update to the Capacity Metrics App for Power BI Premium workspaces where you can now not only monitor capacity, refreshes and data loads, but now there is also query metrics which is great to see if there is a long running query or a query that consumes a lot of memory and CPU.

There are now also advanced URL filtering capabilities, which often can be used to either compliment or to extend access to data for specific users or groups of people.

There is a new API where you can update the connection between cloud and on-premise data sources via the API. This is really a great improvement, as often data sources move around and with this API it makes it a lot easier to get this done programmatically.

And finally, Row Level Security now supports ASCII characters in the Username property.

All the details can be found here: Power BI Developer community September update

Power BI – Webinar on using Power Query to create Calendar tables

My friend from France will be presenting a Webinar with Chuck from the Power BI team on using Power Query to create calendar tables.

I have no doubt that this will be a great webinar and I find that there is always something to learn when watching other people, us M.

The Webinar details can be found here: 10/11 Webinar: How to use Power Query and M to create calendar tables with Tristan Malherbe

Power BI RoundUp – (Premium Capacity Metrics App – Power BI Home & Global Search)

I have decided to rebrand or change the name of my weekly round up from BI RoundUp to Power BI RoundUp, because it is almost always about Power BI. And with the new direction from Microsoft this makes perfect sense.

As always please find the latest updates below.

Power BI – Premium Capacity Metrics App

This new app is great for people who are using Power BI premium and want to gain a better understanding of how the premium capacity is performing.

It gives you insights into Refreshes of your data, Queries (which is great to see long running queries which could consume resources) and could optionally be optimized) and datasets.

If you are using Power BI Premium this is something I would suggest installing.

Here is the blog post details: Premium Capacity Metrics app – query metrics now available

Power BI Home & Global Search

Power BI Home was seen at the Microsoft Business Applications Summit earlier this year and it is great to finally see it here. I personally think that this is a great place for people to land when logging into Power BI. It is a great start and I know that there are going to be future enchantments to this.

One of the great features is the global search which will allow you to search and find all the related content that you have access to. I find that as more reports, datasets and dashboards are deployed it can become a bit of a challenge to find the report you are looking for. Now with global search this is a lot easier.

More details and more in-depth details can be found here: Introducing Power BI Home & Global Search

That is it for this week, enjoy the rest of your week.