Power BI Desktop update – feature of the month (Nov 18)

Here’s a summary of the updates Microsoft released for Power BI Desktop this month. Full details on this months updates can be found on the Power BI blog.


The feature we’ve picked out as the highlight for this month is – well there’s two actually this month.

From a reporting and analytics view point, we’ve picked the updated filtering experience. Watch the below video to see this feature in action, the video will automatically start and end in the relevant places.

We think this is a nice addition to Power BI and perhaps even removes the need for having Slicers on the report page in some cases – leaving more room for the data visuals. We assume with time the OLD filters pane will become something the report developer uses to filter out data the report consumers just never need to see – either because its not relevant or it’s dirty data that appears in some “data quality” reports instead perhaps.

This leaves the report consumer with a neater list of values to pick from in the NEW filters pane and in Slicers. What the best practice will be for using the NEW filters pane alongside Slicers we’re not sure yet, but we imagine Slicers will continue to be used for those things the report consumers change most frequency when using a report – date ranges in particular perhaps. Slicers can also be visual specific (i.e we can control what visuals Slicers do and don’t interact with) so this will probably also play a part in determining best practice going forwards.

From a modelling perspective the new modelling view is our feature of the month. Watch the below video to see this feature in action, the video will automatically start and end in the relevant places.

Having the option of grouping reporting objects under folders is very useful, particularly if the table structure doesn’t support this (grouping and separating product and customer objects for example, or grouping and separating currency and non-currency based facts and measures). But what we particularly like is the ability to format multiple columns at the same time. No longer will those creating Power BI data sets have to apply the same formatting to multiple columns one by one, we can do this on-mass now which will save a heap of time.

The expand and collapse of Matrix row headers and the conditional formatting based colour saturation are both fantastic updates also, particularly for those looking for more commonality between Excel and Power BI. The later can also add a degree of KPI functionality to column and bar charts – with some bars green and others red depending on whether a target has been reached or not.

And we’ve already made great use of the copy and paste between Power BI Desktop files and we’ve probably already saved a few hours or work by using it.

So in conclusion, lots of very good and very useful updates this month. Please keep them coming Microsoft.

We hope you found this useful and/or interesting. If so please like, share or comment.

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