Power BI improvements for October

by | Oct 30, 2018

As October draws to a close, it’s important to take a closer look at this month’s proposed Power BI updates, as Microsoft continues to address consumer feedback and improve its existing service offering.

As most of you will know, Power BI benefits from a monthly update cycle, where new ideas are implemented to enhance overall user experience.

October has been another busy month for the company, with an exciting selection of updates covering key areas, including Reporting, Modelling, Analytics, Custom Visuals and Data Preparation.

One of the biggest proposed updates is support in the Power BI service for composite model and aggregation previews, allowing users to utilise these preview features end-to-end for normal reports.

For those of you who enjoy creating visually appealing reports, there have also been various bar and column chart visuals added, giving users greater creative license when it comes to presenting data.

Analytics – Composite models & Aggregations support

Labelled as a ‘huge update’ in the official Microsoft blog, this new update allows users to publish files that are using composite models or aggregations to the Power BI service, meaning users can now start testing such files end-to-end.

Before, this preview was only available in the Power BI desktop, but now you can upload files to the Power BI service, allowing users greater freedom when it comes to processing files. Microsoft has also completely overhauled the ‘blank query’ feature in composite models in response to consumer feedback – another great sign that these updates are delivered in direct response to customer demand!

Reporting – Improved accessible authoring experiences

Over the past few months, Microsoft has invested a lot of time into improving the accessibility of its key features, catering to users with specific needs or requirements. The Power BI field well can now be easily navigated using just a keyboard and interacts well with screen readers, allowing users to create visuals quickly and easily while using assistive technology.

To improve the usability of editing charts with screen reader and keyboard, Microsoft has also added new options to the context menu of fields, allowing users to move fields up and down within a well or move them to a different well entirely.

Modelling – DAX editor improvements

While there was only one update announced for modelling this month, the change itself is significant with plenty of improvements being made to the DAX editor, including a number of new keyboard shortcuts to improve efficiency.

These new shortcuts will allow you to rearrange and insert lines easily, moving and selecting code with greater flexibility to enhance user experience. You can see a list of all the new shortcuts in the image provided.

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

Custom Visuals – Various bar & column chart visuals by Akvelon

Without the tools to make reports visually appealing, a lot of insightful data can be lost in the simplicity of an uninteresting report. To improve information retention, a set of new bar and column chart visuals have been added to Power BI, similar to Microsoft’s built in bar and column, but with the additional functionality that supports rectangle lasso selection.

This update allows users to drag and select multiple bars within rectangle and cross-filter the rest of the report based on that selection, thus providing users with the ability to create more interactive and interesting reports.

Delivering measurable results…

These monthly update cycles allow Power BI consumers to continue delivering measurable results to their clients, with focussed and deliberate attention given to addressing customer feedback. Rather than making updates needlessly, Microsoft take the time to listen to the needs of their audience, and then take steps to improve the service.

This should offer assurance to businesses of all sizes, knowing that if they encounter an issue or obstacle while using Power BI, that their feedback will be heard and taken on board. This is very similar to the attention and commitment we show to our clients in helping them achieve their professional goals.

If you’re looking to improve your existing service offering or require ongoing technical support, then contact our team of specialists and begin planning your new approach.