BI-RoundUp – Power BI (Sep Update for Power BI Desktop – Dashboard Comments – Community Contribution to PowerShell Cmdlets – Power BI PowerShell Cmdlets available in Azure Cloud Shell)

Welcome to another week of my Power BI Round Up. And as expected there is another massive Power BI Desktop Update.

Power BI – September Update for Power BI Desktop

As always I am going to over the new features and highlight what I think is really relevant in terms of what has been released.


With the added support for categorical fields on the X-Axis this now makes the scatter charts more flexible.

As shown above there now is the capability to be able to copy a single value, which will copy the value in its unformatted form, which could be used to put into a search of another application.

Whilst when using the Copy selection feature, it will copy everything that you have highlighted in your table or matrix. And when pasting this, it will keep the column headers as well as the formatting options which you can then paste into Excel or another program. This is really a great piece of functionality which makes it easier when certain data needs to be copied into another system.

There are now some built in report theme’s which are great for those people who just want to move from the default colours, but do not want to create their own custom themes.

Report Page Tooltips are now generally available meaning that you will not have to enable it as a preview feature.

Along with that as shown above there is now report page tooltips available for Cards.

There have also been additional improvements for accessibility in the formatting pane, making it easier to navigate, as well as when using the screen reader there is more support.


This is a really big, BIG one having the ability to have aggregated tables in your data model. What this means is that you can have a highly aggregated table of your data which might answer 60 – 70% of the queries. When the queries are run they will use the data in the aggregated table, which in turn results in exceptionally super-fast query response times. And if it does not hit the aggregated table it will then go down to the source table, which could be imported or using Direct Query mode, which means then that the entire data model is actually very small but very fast.

There is a lot more to this, so I suggest reading up the documentation that is included in the blog post. But this is something that I have been waiting for and cannot wait to try it out and get it working.

Finally there is now support for RLS with Q&A, this means if you have had a dataset that has had Row Level Security (RLS) previously you could not use Q&A. This has now been fixed and Q&A is available which is awesome.

Data Connectivity

As shown above there is a new connector where you can connect to PDF files and it will attempt to extract table data from your PDF files.

There is now support for the SAP BW Connector measure properties

There is a new connector called dataflows which will soon be in limited preview which will allow users to connect to an existing data flow.

Data Preparation

As per my first image, and above, there is now Intellisense when going into the Advanced Editor in the Power Query Editor. This is so awesome. There have been so many times in the past when I have not known which M function to use. As well as having syntax errors, and a lot of that pain is now gone with having Intellisense.

The add columns from examples now supports text padding your data, as shown above you can pad the text with zeros for data where you want them all to have the same length.

It is interesting to see that right at the end of the blog post they highlighted that they are working on being able to copy visuals between PBIX files. How cool is that??

You can find all the blog post details here: Power BI Desktop September 2018 Feature Summary

Power BI – Dashboard Comments

This was announced at the Microsoft Business Applications Summit and it is great to see that you now can add comments to Power BI Dashboards, as well as individual tiles on the dashboard.

It is also great that you can tag people in the comments, which will then send an email or send a push notification to the Power BI Android and IOS Mobile App.

At the end of the blog post, they also indicated that this will be coming to the reports, so stay tuned.

You can find all the details here: Announcing Dashboard Comments in Power BI: Your new hub to discuss data and collaborate with others

Power BI – Community Contribution to the PowerShell Cmdlets

This is the first contribution from the Power BI Community which adds to the existing Power BI PowerShell management cmdlets. Where Kenichiro Nakamura has added functionality to work with datasets, tables and columns.

You can find a lot more detail in the blog post: Celebrating our first community contribution to the Power BI management cmdlets

Power BI – PowerShell Cmdlets available in Azure Cloud Shell

What this means is you can now use the Azure Cloud Shell to run the Power BI PowerShell Cmdlets. This also means that there is no need to try install and configure the required PowerShell modules, because this is all maintained in the Azure Cloud Shell.

I would suggest looking into the storage options because depending on how much storage you need, if you have an existing Azure Subscription this could be a very good option.

You can find more details on how the Azure Cloud Shell works, as well as the blog post details here: Power BI Management cmdlets in Azure Cloud Shell

BI-RoundUp – Power BI (Power BI Desktop June update – Subscribe others to Email Subscriptions – Developer Community for May, Service & Mobile Update)

Here is my weekly BI-RoundUp, and once again the awesome people from the Microsoft Power BI Team have released some additional gifts.

Power BI Desktop June Update

Here is another month of big updates to the Power BI Desktop.


The first item is now based on your contrast settings, this will be applied to the Power BI Desktop file and in the Power BI Service. The only thing to make note of is that currently background images are not supported in high contrast mode.

There is now also more control for the Donut visual in terms of how wide or skinny the donut will be.

Along with this, there is now more control for the Pie and Donut charts with regards to the label positions in terms of where they will be positioned.

As with the line and bar visuals where you can format the measure labels, this now is also available for the Combo charts, which means that you can now format them individually for better control in terms of how they are viewed.

And finally, they have added more rows when configuring the Mobile Phone reports. It has gone from being 20 rows long to 40 rows long.

Custom Visuals

There is now a new Organizational Chart which can be used to view your data.

There is a new China Heat Map visual which will allow to view your data in China with a heatmap


As shown in the initial image, there now is the ability to sort, and filter your data in the data view. This is a great improvement and something that I have already been using quite a bit.

It is also good to see that it has very similar functionality in terms of what you get in the Power Query Editor, where you can not only select the items, but search for items as well as advanced filters based on the data type.

If you have a different locale, there is now improved support for locale in both the Power BI Desktop and the Power BI Service.

Data Connectivity

There has been a lot of work put into the SAP BusinessWarehouse connector, where there have been improvements to the following:

  • Improved performance
  • Ability to retrieve several million rows of data, and fine tuning through the batch size parameter
  • Ability to switch execution modes
  • Support for compressed mode, which is especially beneficial for high-latency connections or large datasets
  • Improved detection of Date variables
  • [Experimental] Expose Date (ABAP type DATS) and Time (ABAP type TIMS) dimensions as dates and times respectively, instead of text values.
  • Better exception handling, so errors that occur in SAP BAPI calls are now surfaced.
  • Column folding in BasXml and BasXmlGzip modes. For example, if the generated MDX query retrieves 40 columns but the current selection only needs 10, this request will be passed onto the server to retrieve a smaller dataset.

The Spark connector now supports Windows Authentication

There has also been a lot of updates to the OData V4 connector, where it has improved support for complex data types. There is also now Open type navigation which supports extra navigation properties. Improved support for Custom URLs. Significant performance improvements. And greater resilience when loading data, where it will first try query folding, and if that fails it will then try with less query folding until it succeeds.

On the ODBC connector there has been improvements where if your underlying data source supports the TOP operator, it will then fold that down to the data source. As well as if the underlying DSN connects to a catalog, this will be shown in the Power Query Editor, so that you can select the required catalog.

And finally, there is an update if your account has been provisioned in more than one National Cloud, when signing up you can select which cloud you want to use.

All the blog post details, as well as the video by Amanda can be found here: Power BI Desktop June Feature Summary

Power BI – Subscribe others to Email Subscription

You now can subscribe other users in your organization to email subscriptions, so that they do not have to do it themselves.

I know this is something that I personally have been waiting for and so happy that it is finally here!

The only thing to note is that if your Reports or Dashboards are in a standard App Workspace, you can only subscribe other users who have a Power BI Pro license.

Whilst if your reports or dashboards are in a Premium Workspace, you can the subscribe any users, security groups or distributions lists regardless of whether the user is a Pro user or not. This is because in a Premium App Workspace you can share your reports with a free or pro Power BI User.

All the details on the blog post are here: Subscribe others to email subscriptions in Power BI

Power BI – Developer Community Update

You can now set the background colour when you embed your Power BI Application into an application, where there is extra space.

Now when you load your Power BI report in an application you have the option to load it on a specific Bookmark, so that the users can see the report in the bookmarked state.

There is now an easier and faster experience to set up and embedding environment for Power BI Embedded. This process now means that you can create the Application and upload a PBIX directly as part of the embedding creation.

And finally, there is a new Sample Application from Ted Pattison, which is on GitHub and shows the basics to embed a report. This is something that I am certainly going to look into (when I get a gap).

You can find the blog post details here: Power BI Developer Community May Update

Power BI – Mobile & Service Update


As you can see below there have been a lot of updates to the Power BI Mobile App and Service, which have already been covered in previous blog posts by Microsoft. Here is the list below, with hyperlinks if you want to get more details.

The only one that was new to me was the updated workflow invite for B2B reports, which is great to see that the experience is easier to complete.

BI-RoundUp – Power BI (Power BI Update May 2018 – Custom Visuals in Excel – Service & Mobile Update – ArcGIS Online & Plus Subscriptions )

Here is my weekly BI-RoundUp and it is great to see that the monthly update for Power BI is here, as well as some other details of the new items.

Power BI – Update for May 2018

As always here are the updates for Power BI


As shown above the first item is that you now can have conditional formatting based on another measure.

As well as having the colors for fonts also be on another measure. This means that you could have a color scale on an item for the measure and another set of rules for the Font color.

Along with that when looking for the alternate measure to use, you can search for the measure which is very handy.

There now is an update to Synch slicers where you can now create a group which will you to control how those groups are synced. You can also put slicers from different fields into one group

There have been improvements to the Log axis to make it consistent.

There have also been data label options updates for Funnel charts where you can now get additional options in order to view more label data

You can now also change the stroke width for line charts and combo charts, so that as shown below if you are using markers you can have them appear to be sitting in mid air, but in reality the stroke width is set to zero


There has been a great update to the Drill Through feature, where now you have the option to take all the filters on your source page and pass them through to your drill through page. And you easily have the option to decide how you would like it to work.

Not only that you can also use measures as part of the drill through. If you do use measures it will automatically pass through all the filters from your source page.

Power BI Premium

If you have Power BI Premium, you now can use incremental refresh to only refresh your latest data. This is a great improvement in that if you have a large dataset you no longer need to refresh the entire dataset every day. You can easily configure it with a Date/Time Start and End Range. After which in the dialog for the table you can then configure how long you want to store all your data. And then what part of your data you would like to be incrementally refreshed.

Custom Visuals

There is the collage custom visual

And a Chinese Color Map

Data Connectivity

The biggest update is to the Web Connector from Examples, which now allows you to get data from a website that is potentially not stored in a table.

This allows you to type in some text for an item that you are looking for that is repeated, and Power BI will then find that item and extract the data you are looking for. This is insane!

The following connectors have either been created or updated

  • Common Data Service for Apps connector (beta)
  • Azure KustoDB connector
  • Google BigQuery and Azure HDInsight Spark connectors now generally available
  • Adobe Analytics connector update – Support for multiple domain logins (preview)
  • Visual Studio Team Services connector update – Analytics views support
  • OLE DB connector update – Support for alternate Windows credentials
  • SAP BW DirectQuery connector updates – Improved technical name support

Data Preparation

There has been an update to the Column from examples where you can now combine values from multiple columns to derive your new column

Here are all the details for the entire blog post: Power BI Desktop May Feature Summary

Excel – Custom Visuals

This is a big change and movement for Excel users. I know that having the option to not only import custom visuals, but to also develop them for a company’s exact requirements is super cool and enables them to view their data with the requirements.

Along with this it also means that there is the capability to create a Custom Visual once which can then be leveraged in Power BI or Excel.

You can read all about it here: Excel announces new data visualization capabilities with Power BI custom visuals

Power BI – Service & Mobile Update

There have been some updates to the Power BI Service with regards to Audit logs are now on by default. Which is great as this can assist with viewing who is using the reports, as well as how they are being used.

The On-Premise Data Gateway now has support in the personal version for Custom data Connectors, which is going to add tremendous value to Power BI.

In the mobile app you can now drill up and drill down. And there is a demo showing how the Power BI Mixed reality app might be applied in an organization.

The blog post details are here: Power BI Service and Mobile April Feature Summary

Power BI – ArcGIS Online & Plus Subscriptions

There now are the two new capabilities using ArcGIS maps.

The first is support for secure reference layers hosted in ArcGIS Online. And the second is the new organizational purchase of Plus subscriptions for ArcGIS Maps for Power BI.

What the above is it allows you to access additional ArcGIS functionality once you have signed in with your ArcGIS account.

If your organization uses an Organizational purchase of ArcGIS this can also be now used within Power BI.

There are a lot more details in the blog post which you can find here: Esri ArcGIS Online and Plus subscription organizational purchase are now available for ArcGIS Maps for Power BI

BI-RoundUp – Power BI (January 2018 Update – Power Apps Custom Visual)

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

BI-RoundUp – Power BI (October Desktop Update – Update for Power BI Service & Mobile – Email Subscriptions for Apps – AI recommendation for Apps)

As with every month it is with great excitement to see what updates there are to Power BI. I have also included any other related Business Intelligence updates.

Enjoy the read

Power BI – October Desktop Update

There have been a whole host of updates to the Power BI Desktop, and here are the relevant details below.


The biggest update in this month’s release is the availability of Bookmarks. This is a fantastic feature and now enables you to really capture that story telling with your data. It is really easy and simple to configure.

What is also a great feature is that once you have your bookmarked steps, you can still interact with the data in each step. So for instance if someone is asking details about a particular bookmark you can stop and click on items in your visuals to answer the questions.

Next is the selection pane as shown above. What this allows you to do is to either show or hide each element on your report page.

This is great both for if you want to individually get to the properties of an item on a complex page with a lot of visuals.

As well as if you want to create an impression that visuals are dynamically changing you can do this with the combination of the bookmarks.

Another feature related to Bookmarks is the ability to link an image or shape to a Bookmark.

What this then means is that you can give the feeling of navigating from a visual to a page with the filter in place. The example that the Power BI Team shows in their video is having a selection of countries. You click on a country flag and that takes you to the report showing the report with the flag that you click on. Which is actually a bookmark.

Along with the bookmarks feature is the ability to spotlight a specific chart of visual as part of your bookmarking process. This is handy when you want to give specific focus to an item on the report.

There have been some additional improvements to the Scatter charts, where now where you can change the shape type for the different scatters.

As well as they have improved how many items you can see from 3000 to 10 000.


In the Analytics area for Power BI they have now created the functionality to be able to create Quick Measures with SSAS Live Conenctions. This is great for when there is a requirement to quickly create another measure that does not exist on an SSAS live connection.

There is also a new quick measure called “Sales from New Customers”, which allows you to see your sales from New Customers.

There is now also the capability for when you have created Cell-Level formatting in your SSAS instance. This will now be honoured when you bring the data into your Power BI Model.

Data Connectivity

There is a new connector for Vertica, which if you use it you can now leverage it inside of Power BI.

There has also been updates for the SAP BW Connector with additional member properties.

And finally, there has been improved Help access from within Power BI Desktop. There is now additional items on the Help Ribbon in Power BI Desktop.

You can find the video as well as all the other details here: Power BI Desktop October Feature Summary

Power BI – Email Subscriptions for Apps

As you can see above on the left-hand side is the option to subscribe to a Dashboard in my App. And on the right-hand side is the option to subscribe to the report in my App.

This now allows your users who have access to Apps, to now be able to get the information in their Inbox daily.

You can read about it here: Introducing email subscriptions for Power BI apps

Power BI – Monthly Service & Mobile Update

There was a whole host of updates to the Power BI Service in the past month, some of which I was unaware of until reading the blog post. So please find all the relevant details below.

You can now share Dashboards with Free Power BI Users if your App Workspace is on a Premium Capacity. This is great, because before this update you could only share Apps with Free Users.

With Power BI Premium, there now is the option to change how you want to allocate your V-Cores. If you have a larger Premium capacity you can then modify the settings so that you could allocate it to a smaller SKU.

Leading on from the above is you now can very quickly in one click scale up or scale down your Capacity. Once again this is based on the number of V-Cores that you have purchased.

Now there is also the capability to use PubNub Blocks to push data into the Power BI Rest API

There was also an update to the Power BI On-Premise Gateway with an updated version for Personal mode which is in line with the Enterprise mode. The support for Government clouds in Personal mode. As well as the Gateway now has the September update for the MashUp Engine.

You can now also filter reports in the Power BI Mobile App, which is something that is often needed because you only want to see the data you are interested in.

There is now support for Visio across all the platforms for Power BI including the Web as well as mobile platforms.

And finally, there was an update rolled out for improved performance for the Usage Metrics, which in the past did take a while to load, but now is a LOT quicker.

You can read up about it all here: Power BI Service and Mobile September Feature Summary

Power BI – AI Recommendations for Apps

Now when you search for Apps within your Organization it will use the AI engine to suggest what other Apps might be of interest to you.

Not only will this allow you to be able to potentially have insights to data that you did not know were there. But it also honours the Security that is put in place for access to Apps. If you do not have access to the App, then you will not see the recommendation.

You can find all the details here: Announcing AI-powered app recommendations: getting the right insights to the right people