Power BI improvements for August

by | Aug 17, 2018

Microsoft is constantly changing, updating and improving its various offerings. PowerBI, one of the most important and increasingly valuable apps, benefits from a monthly update cycle, when new features address the concerns of users.

Last month more than 20 changes were made, which we covered in this blog and this month another 15 have been made, covering reporting, analytics, modelling, visuals and data connectivity.

Data scientists and statisticians will be engrossed with the new integration for Python, the programming language that allows a more effective integration of systems.

But the most interesting addition and something Microsoft has clearly been working on for some time is the ability to export reports as PDFs. This new feature not only make it easier to share reports as PDFs, but allows users to print out their reports, for those that still can’t cope with the paperless office.

Reporting – Print reports through Export to PDF

It was obvious from the release of Power BI that the option to easily print or email copies of reports to others was needed in desktop. The option to export is available through the File menu and once selected, the PDF will begin generating, with a dialogue box showing progress, with each non-hidden page loading in order behind it.

With the PDF generating, users cannot interact with the report without cancelling the export process. Once created the PDF will open in the default viewer, from where the user can print it, save it or email it as an attachment.

Reporting – Better bookmarking with groups

Many users find the bookmark feature useful and create sets of bookmarks with different purposes, like those for different divisions using reports within an organisation. Microsoft has introduced bookmark grouping, to help users group and name a set of bookmarks, which can be expanded and collapsed for easy viewing.

Users simply click the first bookmark of the group and then ctrl+click the other bookmarks they want in the group. Then select the “…” menu for any of the bookmarks to group and pick the group option. Bookmarks can be ungrouped at any time with the Ungroup option.

Analytics – Format by field value

Microsoft have added the ability to format table and matrix by field values, using a measure or column that specifies a colour and applies it to the background or font. Pick to format the colour by its name by opening the conditional formatting dialog for the colour column in the table and format by field value.

Analytics – Python integration

Python, a programming language widely used by statisticians and data analysts, is now integrated into Power BI Desktop. Once enabled in preview settings, Python can be used for data cleansing, analysis, and visualization, with scripts run directly in Power BI Desktop to create data models.

Analytics – Q&A improvements

This month Microsoft has made Q&A available in Power BI Desktop, to deliver a better matching experience, through improved matching capabilities against data. Values are compared word-by-word not as an entire value, which enable better matching for data with spelling errors, plurals and punctuation.

And finally…

This comprehensive update offers an insight into the importance Microsoft places on Power BI and the intelligent interrogation and manipulation of data.

They really are listening and basing future improvements on feedback from users, which not only shows the intent to deliver what is needed, but to do it quickly by changing what is requested, rather than what’s easy.

And remember, if you need any help getting at and understanding your organisation’s important data, please get in touch, there’s a lot we can offer in Power BI for projects large and small.