Power BI February 2019 Updates

Each Month Power BI Releases an update and we like to go through the updates and come up with our favorites of the month (And those updates that aren’t as successful)



Key influencers visual Preview

I’m sure this is mine and many other Power BI Users favourite update this Month. As soon as I saw it I got excited and Ive already used it for a project relating to social media data.  This is the first AI visual for Power BI. Pick a KPI and the visual will find what matters most. It’s another Preview feature so you need to go back into Options > Preview and select Key influencers visual

At present, the metric you are analyzing must be categorical so you cant analyse on Sales amount. Churn is good to analyse with this visual. Or satisfaction score

I used the sentiment group of a comment (Positive, Negative, Neutral)

You don’t want to analyse on catagorical data with lots of categories so this is a really good one to use.

This is a really interactive visual. You can feed your data items into the report to see what are the key influences to your metric

Top segments gives you even more functionality. Go and have a look at this visual. It will really make your reports shine for the user.

Updates to the new filter pane in preview

I have some concerns on this new feature. It has caused some user issues for me which I will explain below.

Go to Options > Preview and turn the new filter experience on and  then restart. It will be available for any new reports

If you click off of any visual and go into Format there is a new filter pane format section where you can format your filters header size, border, font etc.

So when you apply filters to the Report, Page or visual, they will appear here for users rather than having to go in to visualisations.

There is also a filter cards pane so you can make the filter panes look nice

Much easier for users to understand what filters are being used with reports and interact with them

About that Filter Issue

To the right of the Screen is the new Filters Pane

On the left in the report I have a hidden date Hierarchy Slicer so the user can click on the button [To open up the bookmark with the hidden slicer panel] Choose a month and Click the button [To open the bookmark without the slicer panel]

The Report now looks a little confusing to the casual viewer. Do they go to filters or click on the button to get to slicers?

Why would you need a slicer if you can just add to filters?

I have a Report set at month level. So, you have cards to show current month metrics

On this report there are also visuals to display the months in the year. Obviously if you select a month on the slicer, this would interact with the above report and you would only see that Month.

Here is where Edit Interactions come in. Go to Format, Click on the slicer and then Edit Interaction and I can simply switch interaction to off for the above visual. Once set, the slicer wont interact and you get your full year visual.

If you were to get rid of the slicer and add Date into the page Level Filter, It looks great, but you cant edit interactions so although it looks great and makes sense to the user, you cant use it because of this key issue.

The question is, if you could edit interactions on a page filter would you need slicers at all?

This is just a mini gripe but one worth mentioning

Word wrap on Titles

Another small touch that makes a big difference. Previously you couldn’t wrap a long title which could look quite ugly on the reports but now you can.

I did have a few teething problems with Word Wrap. If used sometimes the visual would be cut off at the bottom. Meaning that the above visual would be missing the Categories on the horizontal axis. This seems to be resolved now.

Rounded corners for visual borders

haven’t personally used this formatting options for any Reports year but I have tried them out on test data and it’s a nice update.

It really changes the look of your dashboards. As soon as I work on a project where this may work I will definitely be using this.

Custom Visuals

Additional Purchases for Custom Visuals

This is where I hit the thumbs down button for Power BI and I think it’s a real misstep. Some visuals now have to be paid for. Microsoft is excited about this but its not gone down that well. The visuals with in app purchasing are now marked with a price tag.

I have many concerns with this. The first is that we are already paying for the use of Power BI but there aren’t enough visuals in the main Power BI pane so you have to use custom visuals.

One of the key issues I have with custom visuals are you can’t drill through on them. As a BI Developer, I use visuals to drill through to more detailed analysis. Users ask, Why can I drill down from this column chart but not through the waffle chart?  A waffle chart looks good and replaces the pie chart but you cant drill through on that segment.

Personally I don’t think Market Place visuals are worth extra payments currently because of these kind of issues.  

Power BI December 2018 Updates

Each Month Power BI Releases an update and we like to go through the updates and come up with our favorites of the month (And those updates that aren’t as successful)


Finally we have smart guides to help align visuals. I remember this from Reporting Services and alignment is now so much easier.

Tooltip for is now available for button visuals, and Visual Interaction has now has updated on visuals to make them easier to see when you are setting your interactions.

Great work and will really help going forward.

Selection View

Open the selection pane and there is now a tab order toggle. It shows every object on the report and what the current Order is. This can be rearranged if necessary

This would be even better if, like reporting services you could name your report items. Text1, Text2 etc. isn’t helpful when you are trying to work with your objects


DAX is now easier in the formula bar. It’s a bigger bar. Previously you could only see up to 11 lines of DAX code. You can also Zoom to see the DAX code better

I still find adding measures and columns difficult to work with and could be made more user friendly. For example, I do a lot of copying and pasting of measures in order to reuse them. I copy. Click new measure and paste. Nothing pastes. Whoops, The selection wasn’t fully on of the measure I copied. Slowly becoming a pet hate. Go back to the old measure, Copy again making sure the highlight is blue.

Click to create the measure and copy the DAX code. I start to delete the column name and the DAX query disappears. So I have to find it again. This happens most times so creating measures is incredibly time consuming and quite annoying. There is a lot of work needed on this area of power BI.

It’s a short post this month of small updates.  There are a few custom visuals and new connectors that are new but nothing I would so far need to use.

The snap to grid is definitely my top update this month.

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