Power BI Updates September 2020 – Mini blog – Maintain layer order

To get an understanding of this new feature lets have a quick look at a chiclet

it currently has a rectangle shape behind it. If you click on the rectangle and it becomes highlighted, the shape is brought to the front so we cant see the chiclet

So every time you hover over the report with the rectangle selected it pops up which is quite annoying

With the rectangle still selected, go to its format and switch maintain layer order off.

Now even with the rectangle selected it wont pop up over the chiclet.

This is great if you have more complex reports with bookmarks and underlying shapes to create a nice report structure. You can set this so your backgrounds wont obscure your visuals when you are using the reports.

its a pity this doesn’t do the same within Desktop. When you are developer you are still hit with the same issue. So this only applies to service.

Power BI September 2020 Updates: Smart Narratives

We have been hearing so much about this, I am very excited for Smart narratives

Smart narratives offer insights into your visuals which are also customisable

Lets use the Adventureworks demo report to try it out

Because its still in preview you will need to turn it on in Options and settings > Options

Add Smart narratives to a visual

I have a report than contains a scatter chart. I always find these a bit difficult to read

You can right click on the visual and choose summarize and this will add a smart narrative for that specific visual

We can now immediately see that 2010 was our best year. we are also told what our best selling product was and our highest earning product.

If I click on a bar in the bar chart for year smart narratives doesn’t change. Neither does it change if I click on Europe in the treemap.

It does change if you select a point in the scatter chart

I have selected a point in 2014 which also cross filters the other two visuals.

The smart narrative is actually not that helpful now ‘2014 had the highest total sales’

this isn’t true. Because we have selected 2014 this shouldn’t really be in the text.

The smarter version would be to tell us which month had the highest sales in the calendar year but I only have year in the visual.

Add Smart narratives to a Report

Here is a report created earlier for Sales.

Select Smart narratives from visualisations

we now have some great insights into the report as a whole.

Again there is a problem when, for example you select a year. for 2009 we get

‘Sales Amount and Order Quantity diverged the most when the calendar year was 2009’ This isn’t actually true again, its simply because the selection of 2009 means smart narratives only has 2009 data to go on. I suspect this may need tweaking for the next release for users who are selecting data points

Edit Existing text

We wanted to know the maximum discount applied so a sentence was added to the end, then + Value was selected to add in the new value

You can also use Q&A to add information into the smart narrative

Here we want to add the year to the maximum discount

Each value has a name and we can now find that value and format it

In this instance its worth making sure you name your values properly so you can get back to them.

Here I set the Maximum discount to English pounds

We can also make our text bold

So far, really good, I cant wait to use this on reports. However some work needs to be done when a user selects a value on a visual because the narrative only works on the selected item and therefore assumes it the highest value.

It would also be great if the smart narrative set things in bold automatically like values and years

Other than that great start. it would be interesting to see how it does against other tools like Oracle and Tableau’s offering.

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