Power BI: Using A JSON file to update the Theme of a report

I was recently given a JSON file that contained a theme that a customer wanted updating into their reports.

I already have lots of reports

Here is a small example of what the report looks like

To look at the built in themes click on Switch theme from the home ribbon.

I have been using the default theme for the reports

I have lots of colours already tied into my report.

I have a grey background on all the pages. All my visuals contain white images. Text Boxes and cards contain a dark red background and white text

Labels have white text and a slightly lighter red background. All the visuals have standard clours taken from the theme.

My first thoughts are, what will the new JSON theme change as this is being applied AFTER the reports have been created.

First of all lets have a look at the JSON File

{

        “name”: “New Theme 1”,

        “dataColors”: [“#C4122F”, “#808080”, “#231F20”, “#00B0F0”, “#FF0000”, “#FFC000”, “#92D050”, “#7030A0”],

        “background”:”#FFFFFF”,

        “foreground”: “#3A6108”,

        “tableAccent”: “#568410”

    }

The JSON file is easy to understand. We can see that the dataColors will be the colours of the bar charts (Etc)

Background, foreground and table accents have also been provided.

The foreground relates to textbox text, KPI Goal Text, Multi Row card text, Card values, Gauge call out text, Vertical slicer text, Table and Matrix total and text.

Background relates to button fill and combo chart labels.

I first wanted to look at the colours provided before I attempt to update the style

https://www.color-hex.com/color/000000

Is a great way of checking and creating the colours that you want

The first thing I do is check each data colour to make sure that Im happy with the Colours

Data Colours

Background Foreground & Table Accent

Once I’m happy, its time to change the Theme.  I go back to Power BI Desktop > Switch Theme > Import Theme and choose the new theme.

Before

After

I don’t like the way all my headers have turned black. This needs resolving and I don’t want to have to change everything by hand

Lets revert back to standard and try and work out how best to deal with this issue

Looking at my button I can see which colour I chose from ‘Theme colours’

Switch Theme > Import Theme and choose the new theme.

Its clear from this that the colour is in the same place in the grid. It is the 5th column in the list. This doesnt match the JSON file. If I can move theme 3 (Red) to theme 5 (Grey) this will resolve.

Does the Json File relate to the theme colours at all?

Starting from the Left, this actually does match the Theme grid leaving the White and Black (Columns 1 and 2). Therefore if we move the colours around slightly in the JSON file, We could get the  red in the column 5 instead.

The JSON script is changed to

{

        “name”: “NPg”,

        “dataColors”: [“#C4122F”, “#808080″,”#FF0000”, “#231F20″,”#00B0F0”, “#FFC000”, “#92D050”, “#7030A0”],

        “background”:”#FFFFFF”,

        “foreground”: “#3A6108”,

        “tableAccent”: “#568410”

    }

And thankfully this resolves the issue. Our headers are red instead of black. No need to change everything manually to match the JSON colours.

If you add in a JSON file after you have created your reports, be aware that you need the order of colours to work with the colours that have already been selected.

Power BI Apps

Overview

When I first started working with Power BI, Apps were still way off in the future. Therefore when they came in I was a little confused. What are they for? Why do I need to use them?

Before talking about apps its worth having a quick look at the Power BI workspace environment

Workspaces: Personal

Your own personal workspace. You can’t share company level reports from here because you are the only one with access. Use for your own reports. This is available for free

Workspaces: App Workspace

The app workspace was called Group workspace. Group workspaces used to be office 360 workspaces and individuals were invited to the workspace. All with the same access rights.

The app workspace allows for multiple admins. Dashboards and Reports are shared to a wider audience from here. Nothing is affected if there are personnel changes

Apps

Apps – Are a 1 to 1 map to an App workspace and provide end users a read only experience for the particular objects in the workspace that you want them to see. It is the only way to share if you use the Premium license.

But we can already add users into the app workspace or share dashboards or reports. Why do we need to create apps?

Business users often need multiple Power BI dashboards and reports to create real business insight.

If you imagine the scenario without using an app. In Power BI you click on Workspaces and view an App Workspace containing: Sales, HR, Marketing, Opportunity Analysis, Distribution, Production, Finance and Accounting Dashboards and Reports

Managing permissions on each individual dashboard is time consuming with a large number of users. Its also difficult for end user because they have lots of dashboards to navigate.

We need an easier way of deploying sets of dashboards and reports to large audiences.

And from my own point of view. Once I started creating apps for my users, It just looks good. Its a really nice way of sharing your reports.

Using my Adventureworks Demo as an app example

Ive created some reports and I want to publish them to an App Workspace.

First of all I set up the App Workspace in Power BI Service (At the bottom of the workspace left hand menu)

I make it look pretty with a nice logo and a name.

Save the new App workspace. And Ill come back to the sharing later

Then I go back to Power BI Desktop and Publish my reports to my new App Workspace.

Once published I can then go in, create the dashboards in the app workspace and generally make them look good enough to show to my users.

I work with one other person on these reports so I want that person to have access to the Workspace

This is where Access comes in. Click on Access

I’m setting that person up as a contributor. Contributors can “Create, edit, and delete content in the workspace” and “Publish reports to the workspace, delete content.” 

This means that the new Contributor will be able to see the Dashboards and Reports via Shared with me

Now we are both happy we want people to start using the Adventureworks Dashboards and reports, we want to share with our users (Who are external but have Power BI Pro)

Time to Publish your app

There are 3 screens to work through

Setup

Navigation

Permisions

For Permissions simply add all your users and then publish the app

Once published you will get the following message

You can sent the URL to the User and they can download the app. Then the user can see a great age of Published Apps

All sorted and after the initial confusion its fairly straight forward

Power BI Drill through to another Report

I have created two very basic test reports to work with to simplify the process

they both use the same table of data

Report 1

Page 1 Is just filtered on year and has a few visuals. 

It contains column charts with month on the Axis

Page 2 is a basic table

Drill through field is Month and Cross report is switched on On

Report 2

Page 1 is Filtered on Year and Region and has a few visuals including a column chart with Month on the Axis

Report 2 is the source because we will be drilling through from here

Report 1 is the Target because we are drilling through to page 2 from Report 2

Cross Report Drillthrough Toggle

Cross Report is set to ON for the Source Report (As above)

Leave Cross Report Set to Off for the Target Report

Report Setting Options

Both reports are Set File > Options and Settings > Options > Report Settings

Cross Report Drill through – Allow Visuals in this report to use Drill through Targets from other reports

Both reports are published to a workspace.

Once in the Service I create a very simple dashboard from a visual from each report as my starting point

here is where it goes wrong

Start at the Dashboard and go to region. click on the Total from region report Tile

Once in here I right click and get the drill through on the Other report, So far so good. I click this and go to the drill through

Note that the filters are kept as expected from the region report.

Now I decide to go back to the dashboard because I want to go to the main report. 

In this case I click the back button (Because the back button doesnt work on the report when you move between reports)

Or I can simply click on the  Bread crumb trail of POC reports and Dashboards and go back to the dashboard this way

This time I want to go to the main report with just the Date slicer.

And this is where the problem lies. Notice that the filters from the drill through are still applied so this year report is filtered by Month and region.

When moving back to the start we don’t want the drill through filter applying. If you drill through in the same report this works absolutely fine. You can go back and the filters are unapplied. However they arent unapplied when drilling through to other reports.

The Solution

 For each report if you go into File > Options and Settings > Options > Report settings and make sure Persistent Filters is ticked ‘Dont allow end users to save filters’

Power BI Time based Measure not working when slicer (Year) applied

SAMEPERIODLASTYEAR DAX not working with a year filter

I wanted to create a KPI showing year to Date and Last year to date.

So I have Measures:

YTD Complaints = TOTALYTD(‘fact Fact'[Complaints],’dim Date'[date].[Date])

LY YTD Complaints = CALCULATE([YTD Complaints],SAMEPERIODLASTYEAR(‘dim Date'[date].[Date])) 

I have a slicer on year so i can select the year to look at. Without the year selected its fine (Ive put the data into a table simply to have a look at)

As you can see the last year information is shown in the column 

if I choose 2019 to look at i want to see 2019 with Last year against it

See how the Last year value disappears. I was expecting that creating this measure would allow you to see Last years metric even with a year slicer set

The answer to this is actually quite simple

Here I have used Year which is an actual data column in my date table to slice the data with and its not working

This time I have used year from my date hierarchy and its worked

Which to me meas that if you are using these kind of time based measures, if you want to slice by date you HAVE to use the time period from the date hierarchy in the slicer rather than another data item (As in the example. I used the Year column created in the date dimension)

Power BI Report and Dashboard sharing

Overview

There are many ways of sharing Reports and dashboards. You can add users to an app workspace. You can share dashboards. You can create apps. But what is the most appropriate way to deal with specific situations?

Share a Dashboard

In Power BI Service, go to the Dashboard that needs sharing and click Share dashboard at the top right of the screen.

 Here you can share to users within your organization as well as outside your organization. You can also decide if that person can also share the dashboard (Anyone you share the dashboard with will need Power BI Pro to view the dashboard)

If the dashboard is Shared, the underlying reports are shared also.

The recipient will get an email to tell them. Power BI adds the dashboard or report to their Shared with me List page.

Share a Dashboard

You can also do the same when sharing a report. There is a Share button at Report level

When recipients outside your organization click the link on the email for both dashboards or reports, they do not get the usual dashboard portal. They see the contents in its own browser window. Not the Power BI Portal. They then have to bookmark the link for future access.

Checking who has access to the Dashboard/Report

Simply click on Access to get this information.

People outside your organization are listed as guests

You can click on … to amend their access, like stopping them from resharing or revoking their access rights to the report / dashboard

Adding to the App Workspace

What is an app workspace?

The old workspace created an office 365 group for every workspace but that created a lot of office 365 groups. You could only add individuals to the workspace. You couldn’t add security groups. All members could either be Edit or Read only.

App Workspaces are still in Preview (As at Nov 18) and when you go to Create new app workspace there is a yellow bar saying Try Now for New Improved workspaces.  They work the same as the old workspace but adding users is different. Individuals, Mail enabled security groups, Office 365 groups can be added.

Each individual gets options for access privileges rather than everyone in the group having the same.

Apps can be published to the App workspace (1 app per app workspace) and replace content packs

Apps are 1 to 1 relationships with workspaces. You can share many different reports and dashboards at one time from the workspace, this is also well used and will be looked at in another how to guide

Old workspaces are going to be obsolete at some point in the future so its worth moving everything to the new App workspaces now.

Admin Can change and delete workspaces Can add other admins Everything a member can do
Member Reshare Publish and Update Apps Everything a contributor can do
Contributor Add/edit/delete content within the workspace Everything a viewer can do
Viewer View Content within the workspace Replaces read only workspaces

Adding new Members to old Workspaces

In the Workspace, Click on … And Choose Members

This takes you into Office 365 where you can  see all the members of the App workspace and invite other people to the group

New Workspace App Set up

This is now out of Preview.  If you were setting up the old way (By reverting to classic) you could start by adding individuals here. Once set up you could add uses as above (Adding new Members to old Workspaces)

Note that here you can Upload an image for the workspace. Add a name and description but users can’t be added here.

Instead of being taken into 365 you see the Welcome to screen.

For this example, go back to Desktop and Publish Report(s) to the new workspace. Re-click on the new Workspace and you can now see the following

New Workspaces preview lets you know you are in a Workspace App rather than a Workspace

To add users you can click on   Access  at the top of the screen.

Or click on Workspace Access by going to the workspace within Workspaces and clicking

You can now add individuals, Office 365 groups or Mail Enabled security Groups (Rather than just individuals)

Please remember, If the user is outside your organization, Share the dashboard via the app. Don’t add them to the App workspace

Share or add?

The different ways (above) are designed to give you flexibility.

In general, users should only be directly added to the workspace if they are report authors. End users who are just consuming reports should have them shared so that they show up in the “Shared with Me” section, or as an App.

When you share a dashboard, user can only view the dashboard and related report(you can also let them re-share the dashboard),

When you add users to an app workspace(or new app workspace), you can give them permissions to edit the report so that they can work with you.

Update the App.

You can work on reports in the App Workspace with other members of your team.

Then when you are happy and want to show to Users you can go back to the Workspace and Update App

Power BI Bookmarks, Buttons and Toggles

Overview

When creating Power BI reports you will be working with multiple pages and may want to include a menu for each page. We can also go further and set up toggles to display your data in different ways

To create Power BI reports that are more user friendly and interactive we need to understand Bookmarks

Cost Of Organised Crime UK 2010 2011.pbix (Example Power BI Desktop File)

horr73-tabs.xlsx (Example File to be used with the Power BI report)

Creating an Initial Report

I have created an initial report from 2010 2011 UK Crime Statistics https://data.gov.uk/dataset/8a1e0712-b724-420e-8c35-ef5cb54dbd28/costs-of-organised-crime

and updated the data to xlsx using

https://www.zamzar.com/uploadComplete.php?convertFile=ods&to=xlsx&session=51b57d23d72d9cd8d9b9b6d5e9fe49&tcs=Z85

The Report contains a few pages of very basic reports because I want to focus on bookmarks, buttons and toggles

I have created 6 reports. Choose some data that you are interested in and set up numerous reports

Setting up Bookmarks

I want to add buttons on each page, so the user can click quickly to each report.  To do this we need to set up bookmarks for each page.

My first page is called A1 1. Go to the page and click on View to select Bookmarks pane

With the correct page selected click Add and I’m calling this bookmark A1 1. Because you have created it with the A1 1 page (1st page selected) this is now your book mark for Page 1

Go to each page an and set up a new bookmark

Now you can click on Each bookmark and note that you are seeing the right report against each bookmark

Choose your buttons

You can go about this a few ways. We can add images or Buttons. For this example, I am going to use images with different borders to denote on or off

 For your first page choose a relevant image (Or button and add text)

Position your button / Image on the page

Do this for every page until you have a button for each page on page 1

Once you are happy with the positioning copy and paste each button / image to the exact position on each page

This will mean rearranging your pages slightly to incorporate the menu

Connect your button to a bookmark

Each Button needs connecting to a bookmark. For Page 1, we do not need to do anything to Page 1 icon because the user is on Page 1. Go to icon 2

In format image, set Action to 1. Connect it to the correct bookmark.

I have also added a tooltip over the image

Repeat for all the other images on page 1 (Apart from the image for page 1)

Once completed go to page to and repeat for every image on page 2 (Apart from the image for page 2)

At the end of this, all the buttons on every page should be active and connected to the correct bookmark

APART from the button for the page you are on which should be inactive

Format the Inactive Button on every page

You can’t test the buttons in desktop but imagine you are clicking to different pages. How do you know which button is inactive because you are on that page? You need to distinguish the different between active and inactive buttons

Go back to page 1. I have used an image and there are other ways of doing this. If you are using a button. Or if you want to use another image etc.

I am simply going to replace each image with an image to show that you are here.

On page 1. Delete the inactive Page 1 Logo and replace with the new logo

Do this for every page

You could also change the back ground, add a border etc.

Test out your buttons in Service

I am going to use my Workspace in the service. In Home, go to Publish and Publish to My Workspace (Or whichever app workspace you want to publish too)

Let’s go over to Service to test the buttons

https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/landing/signin/

Go to your workspace and Reports and click on the new report that you have made

Click on each button to make sure it links to the correct page

Tidying up the reports

You can now get to each report via your buttons. Note that each report also has a tab at the bottom of the screen. Only want the user to click on the buttons. Not the tabs as it may get confusing. Go back to desktop

Right click on Page 2 and choose hide page. Do this for every page apart from page 1

Page 1 will become our main page so I’m going to rename this Main

Republish you report and go back to service

Note that you now can’t see the tabs for the other reports

Toggles

You report is looking good but for one of my pages I want to show the data in a different format and I want the user to be able to select the way they look at the data

For this I need images of toggles which I have downloaded

This is slightly more complex than setting up the bookmarks for each button. Go to the report that you want to change and add a new bookmark. I’m calling it A1 10 Tables

Its time to open up the selection view.

Note that for the original bookmark, the selection shows you everything on this book mark. I need to go to the new bookmark and hide everything that’s specific to the original page

I would also like to mention here that you can also now Change the name of the item in the selection bar so all your images can relate to the image in the report, rather than just displaying card.

This was a feature added in a later Power BI Update.

In the new Bookmark click on the icon against the objects on your report to hide

I have hidden 3 objects.

(The current design makes it almost impossible to distinguish Hidden from none hidden objects which I’m hoping they change)

https://ideas.powerbi.com/forums/ 265200-power-bi-ideas/suggestions/36265075-selection-pane-icons I am going to add a table to this new book mark now I have cleared space

Note that the table is now in the selection.

However, if you go back to the original bookmark the table will be in here too overlapping with all your other visualisations.

Simply select the first bookmark. Hide the table. Right click on the first book mark and update. You can now flip between the two bookmarks to see it move from visualisations to a table

Add your toggles

Finally, we need to add toggles so we can use them to toggle between bookmarks. On Bookmark one I need to add space for the toggle. I’m also adding some text

Now go to the second bookmark. Notice that you can see the toggle and text. They will need hiding but in the meantime. Add the second toggle image and make sure it’s the same size as your other toggle

With the first toggle in place, resize the 2nd toggle and then place this toggle over the top of the first toggle. Add your text

Go back to bookmark one and hide the new toggle and text. Remember to Update the Bookmark.

Go back to the new bookmark and hide the 1st toggle and text item. Click to each bookmark so you are happy with what you can see

Bookmark 1

Bookmark 2

Connect up your toggles

Now its time to connect your toggle. Bookmark 1 needs to go to Bookmark 2 and Bookmark 2 needs to go to Bookmark 1

In Bookmark 1. Select the 1st toggle. Same as before. Under Format Image, switch Action to on. Set to Bookmark and select Book mark 2

Repeat for Bookmark 2

Test your Bookmarks

Go back to the first report. Save and publish your updated report

Test your toggle

Power BI July 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)

Reporting

Filter Pane

The Filter pane has been updated and filters have been removed from the Fields pane. This is great because it was slightly confusing to drag and amend filters in ‘Fields’ but then see them in the Filter pane. Now you drag the field straight to the filter pane

You can also rename Filter headers which makes them much more useable.

If you go to Options and Settings > Options > Report Settings, you can also tick Allow Users to Change Filter Types.

This means the user can choose between advanced and basic Filter Pane. This is great if you want more filter usability for the user

There are still issues for me when it comes down to the new Filter Pane and Slicers. This could be confusing to a user. If Edit interactions was added to Filters, then many slicers could be removed from reports ensuring more screen time for visuals.

Conditional Formatting for Visual Titles

I click on Doncaster and the visual Changes but the Title Remains the same. I want it to dynamically include the selected region.

There is a button by Title Text with three dots showing that there is a hidden menu.

Here you can select a measure that you have created containing the title you want, rather than use the standard title

Sentiment Score Title = “Percentage Sentiment Group for” & SELECTEDVALUE(Tweet[Location])

Previously, you can create your own headers for visuals, but they were simply hard coded. Here is my visual for Sentiment Group. I also have a Region Filter on the page.

All my Reports are filtered on Months so now each visual can contain this information.

Conditional formatting for web URL actions for buttons shapes and images

Finally, we can now change and image depending on a dynamic measure. This is one of my favorite new features. For example, this is fantastic for showing conditional image for feedback, Positive, Negative, Up Down etc.

This work the same as visual titles above

Even better, we should be getting an update soon where you can add the DAX straight into the Title Text rather than needing a separate measure.

My conditional visual for this new feature would be….

Analytics

Drill through across reports

For me, Drill through is one of the most important concepts behind Power BI and its not yet fully functioning. For example, all the market place visuals don’t have this ability. It’s really frustrating to find the perfect visual and then realise you can’t drill through to further information.

This new functionality gives me some hope that we might see future fixes to this.  We can now set up a navigation experience across reports.

Start with the target page (the page you want to land on from other reports) and set Cross Report Toggle to on.  

You also need to then turn cross report on for the reports that you drill through from. You can do this as above or in Service / Reports

If for example I’m drilling through by Region. I right click on the Region Data Point in a visual and I can see the drill through Report [Page Name and Report]

This is going to be incredibly helpful when I want to divide larger reports into smaller ones (With less data in each)

Key Influences visual supports continuous analysis

The Key Influences visual was one of my favorite updates a couple of months ago and I have used it to support Twitter sentiment grouping. (Negative, Positive, Neutral)

Previously I could only analyse by category but now we can analyse a continuous numerical field. To do this set Analysis Type to Continuous.

We can now analyse data items like sales amount.

This new visual has already proved really popular with users and its good to know its improving all the time.

Partial Synonym matching for Q&A

Another really great feature. When a user is asking questions in Q&A, even if they can’t remember the exact phrasing, Q&A will give them suggestions.

Data Connectivity

Lots of new data connectors. Power BU Dataflows, Oracle Essbase, PDF Connector, Intersystems IRIS, Indexima (Big data), Luminis InformationGrid, Solver BI360 and Paxata.

Its doubtful that I will be needing these connectors currently but it’s great to see new connectors being added every month. Its worth noting that the on premises data sources will need the new release of the April On Premises Data Gateway which should be coming soon.

Web by Example Connector – Allows you to scrape data from HTML Pages and is now even smarter. This is currently in preview and I can’t wait to see how it works.

Data Preparation

Data Profiling enhancements

In Power Query Editor New Profiling enhancements are available to check your data

In View > we have Column Distribution, Column Profiles column quality.  Try ticking these options for discover lots of information about the quality of your data.

This is such a good feature when you are starting to add and understand your data. A quick look at my Sentiment group shows I have nothing outside of Positive Negative and Neutral. I can quickly see any issues that may need resolving.

Fuzzy Merge Feature

Another smart preparation feature which helps with merging records. I haven’t needed to use this yet but its good to know that this also speeds up merging of records.

M Intellisense supported in Formula bar

If for example you go to Add Column, Custom Column. You can type in your custom code and Intellisense will provide lists of functions etc. to help you. We didn’t have this before in Power Query mode, so this will really enrich the experience.

This has been such a good month for Power BI. I am excited about being able to create custom headers and visuals and I can’t wait to try the updated Key Influences Visual.

Power BI May 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)

Modelling

Disable auto date tables for new reports

If you have dates within your tables, all dates have a hidden auto date table for each date. This can increase the file size.

This can now be turned off if you have everything within a date time dimension.

Your dates will not have the automatic drill down hierarchy.

The hierarchy will be set in the date dimension manually.

It would be useful to know if this has any impact with DAX functions like TOTALYTD and  SAMEPERIODLASTYEAR

Performance analyzer pane

Its so useful to be able to analyse how our Visuals and data impacts report performance and the analyser pane now allows us to see behind the scenes so we can optimize performance.

If I open my Adventureworks pbix file in Desktop and go to view

The Performance analyzer is now available to select

There are two ways to check performance. One is to start recording and then use it as a user would interact with your reports.

Once you click Start Recording you can then decide to Refresh visuals which creates an example where the user is opening the report.

In this example, refresh Visuals is chosen

This gives you the duration (ms)

Straight away you can see that Sales Amount, Order Quantity and Discount amount are taking the longest time but nothing here is overly worrying.

There is another way of using the report. If you are interested in a specific visual. Highlight the visual and click refresh visuals which is a new icon available when the Performance analyzer is selected.

Remember to clear first

Checking the Scatter chart, Other is taking the longest time.

Other is not as obvious as DAX Query or visual display.  There are a lot of contributing factors within other. For example, if your visual is in a queue because you have a lot of visuals, this time will be within other.

The more visuals the longer other will be.

This is a great new feature, especially if your pages are struggling and you want to know why. Being able to export your results is also a really useful feature.

Personally, I think a drill down on Other would be really beneficial but otherwise this is a great update

Filter pane improvements

Filters can now be reordered. A small but useful improvement

Line Data Label Position control

For Line charts. When lines are near each other it has been difficult to tell what label belongs to what line. This has now been resolved. Within Format > Data Labels there is a Customise Series toggle.

Once set to On, there are lots of options for each Line

In this case, Only Position is altered. Under for Sales amount. Its actually quite confusing that there is only one section even through we have two lines.

The trick is that you set Sales amount, then go back up and select the other line and resolve the formatting (Flicking back to Sales amount and the options chosen are still selected)

I have already had lots off issues with Line charts looking cluttered when using labels so this is a real hit for me.

KPI Visual Indicator Text size control

At long last. Instead of having to go with the KPI Text size which has always make the KPI’s seem overly large for a report, we can finally change the text size.

I use a lot of KPIs so this is a very welcome change.

An original KPI. The Figure is way too large which means you can only have a few KPI’s and you can only use them as large tiles.  Note that the visual is too small for the metric.

Great, the new Text size option allows us to have much more control over the design of the KPIs and out overall reports

There is still so much that needs to be done with the KPI. For example, the word Goal: Sometimes this isn’t specifically a goal. I use KPIs for example to show the difference between this year and last year. You cant change this at the moment but this really needs to be updated to make the KPI more useable for different scenarios.

Analytics

Key influencers visual Improvements (preview)

Here is an example visual looking at what influences the Product Pricing category

Binning Support and Formatting

In this example, NSAT has been added to the Explain by. NSAT is a numeric fields. 1,2,3,4 etc. The visual has put the NSAT into bins for you in a way to categorise this field to produce better results.

There is also more formatting capabilities, you can adjust colours within ‘Analyis Visual Colours’

Primary color – The colour for the Bubble or bar

Secondary color – The colour for the other bubbles or bars

Mobile Support

Its been updated to work on mobile devices

I love this visual. I use it for sentiment scoring on Tweets for Positive, negative and neutral tweets. It can do so much but the colours were different to my other reports. I can not rectify this and make it blend more with the overall look.  This is a real winner.

Custom Visuals

Power Slicer

The new Power Slicer, Available from the Market Place should have better formatting and chiclet availability in here. There is also a default value selector.

(new Date()).getMonth()+1

The above is the JavaScript for select current Month

There are lost of different layout options. You can format the slicer. It looks better than the original filter

I tried the new Power Slicer and Like many other people found it un-useable because of the watermark. It is a real pity because Its mentioned on the Power BI Update video but its not a successful update.

I was really looking forward to using this visual, so this was disappointing

Data Connectivity

Another Major disappointment is the Azure Cost Management Connector. I was really looking forward to getting started with this but haven’t yet been given the correct details to use it. The How to guides appear to be out of date.

It asks for the Billing Profile ID, but no one knows what this is.

Here’s hoping they sort this out soon because at present this data connector is not working.

https://community.powerbi.com/t5/Desktop/Using-new-Azure-Cost-Management-Connector-issues-with-Account-ID/m-p/657545#M315621

The issue still stands on the 5th April so let’s hope it’s resolved in the next release

Power BI March 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)

Modelling

Top of the updates for me this month is the update to the Modelling view

The Modelling / Relationship icon has changed.  You can show your model in different views so have the full model. Then separate views making things much easier to deal with when checking models.

You can select a field and edit the properties of that field in the properties model

Folders can also be added to select fields that should be displayed together

Reporting

Default tooltip formatting

This may be my favorite update this month. Tooltips are so important when working with interactive Reports so having the ability for format them, to give them the look of the overall report is very important to the look and feel.

In order to work with this, you need to go into Formatting and scroll down to Tooltip. Then Choose Default and Formatting options will become available.

Cross highlight by Axis label

Another small but great new feature. You can now select the title of the column / bar etc. instead of highlighting the column which makes things much easier when working with low value columns like above

This is fantastic, and I can now select the title to drill through instead of trying to click onto the bar when the data is a small number. This is a great new feature.

Static web URL support for buttons shapes and images

We can finally now go to URLs via buttons shapes and images. Go to ‘Action’ and select Web URL as Type.

Very useful feature when you want to connect to other tools to deliver full Business Intelligence to the company.

Selection pane improvements

Using Shift Click or Control Click we can now choose multiple objects in the selection pane.

I’m incredibly happy with this one because I voted on it on the idea’s forum.

The best thing for me is that you can rename objects to make them easier to find instead of just Button1 Button2 etc.

Previously it was possible to have lots of objects with the same name. Button, Text Box etc. Now you can finally name them ensuring that working with Bookmarks or layer orders are a lot easier

Heat Maps

My least favorite update within Reporting is the Heat Map option on Bing Maps.

There are lots of things you can do to configure the heat map, but I still find it quite an ugly look. I always prefer the round data points or even better, the Filled map. In my mind it just looks neater than the heat map.  Still, any extra formatting functionality are a good thing

Custom Visuals

Power Slicer

The new Power Slicer, Available from the Market Place should have better formatting and chiclet availability in here. There is also a default value selector.

(new Date().getMonth()+1

The above is the javaScript for select current Month

There are lots of different layout options. You can format the slicer. It looks better than the original filter

I tried the new Power Slicer and Like many other people found it un-useable because of the watermark. It is a real pity because Its mentioned on the Power BI Update video but its not a successful update.

I was really looking forward to using this visual, so this was disappointing

Data Connectivity

Another Major disappointment is the Azure Cost Management Connector. I was really looking forward to getting started with this but haven’t yet been given the correct details to use it. The How to guides appear to be out of date.

It asks for the Billing Profile ID, but no one knows what this is.

Here’s hoping they sort this out soon because at present this data connector is not working.

https://community.powerbi.com/t5/Desktop/Using-new-Azure-Cost-Management-Connector-issues-with-Account-ID/m-p/657545#M315621

The issue still stands on the 5th April so let’s hope it’s resolved in the next release

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)

Reporting

Analytics

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.  

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