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  • Writer's pictureLachlan McLeod

Power BI Update | February 2023

Get ready to take your Power BI reports to the next level with the latest updates!


This month, Power BI introduces exciting new features, such as conditional formatting based on string fields, a Smart Narrative visual summary icon, and the ability to format image width in tables and matrices. You can now also indent text box visuals and choose from new accessible report themes.


Plus, the enhanced row-level security editor is now in preview, and new DAX functions LINEST and LINESTX have been added.


And don't forget the brand new 'Get Data' experience in the Power BI Service.


These updates are sure to make your reports more dynamic and customizable than ever before!

 

Conditional formatting based on string fields

Power BI has recently introduced a new feature that enables users to set conditional formatting rules based on string fields. This addition was made in response to user feedback and is expected to significantly enhance the platform's conditional formatting capabilities.


To use this feature, users can access the formatting pane and select the conditional formatting option. In column charts, for instance, users can use the fx button in the Columns card to format column colours.


Used with permission with Microsoft.

Once the dialog box opens up, they can select "Rules" from the Format style dropdown and choose a string field as the basis for their rule. Users can then select a summarization, such as First or Last, to apply logic to their strings. For example, they can create a rule that colours any column with the string value "Audio" in red.


Used with permission from Microsoft.
Used with permission from Microsoft.

The conditional formatting dialog box now includes a range of comparator options, including "is," "starts with," and "ends with." It is important to note that these comparisons are exact and case-sensitive.

 

Smart Narrative visual summary icon

Power BI has introduced a new feature that adds an optional icon to the visual header, allowing users to trigger an on-demand summary of the visual contents using Smart Narrative technology. This new feature aims to improve Accessibility by announcing results to any assistive technology.


Users can enable the Smart Narrative visual summary icon in the format pane for individual visuals or add it to their custom theme file for specific visual types. It is important to note that this new feature has the same limitations as the existing Smart Narrative visual.


For more information about Smart Narratives, users can access the Smart Narratives tutorial available on the Power BI | Microsoft Learn webpage: Smart narratives tutorial – Power BI | Microsoft Learn

 

Formatting image width in tables and matrices

The latest release of Power BI includes an update to the formatting options for image dimensions in table and matrix visuals. Prior to this update, there was only one control for image dimensions, labelled as "image height", which controlled both the width and height of images. This often resulted in images taking up square space and causing layout problems, especially when images were wider than they were tall.

Used with permission from Microsoft.

However, with the new update, users can now format image dimensions individually and separately adjust image height and width. This allows users to give their tables or matrices more room and adjust the layout as needed, providing greater flexibility and customization options.

Used with permission from Microsoft.

Users can access these new formatting options in the formatting pane, making it easier than ever to create visually appealing and customizable tables and matrices.

 

Text box visual indentation

Power BI has recently introduced a new feature that enables users to add indentation to text box visuals. Users can now adjust the indentation of specific lines of text by using the increase and decrease indent buttons located in the formatting popup next to the text box. Alternatively, users can use the Tab or Shift+Tab keys to achieve the same effect.

Used with permission from Microsoft.

These new features provide greater flexibility and customization options when it comes to creating text box visuals, allowing users to create more visually appealing and organized reports. Users can access these features easily through the formatting popup, making it easy to add indentation to their text boxes.

 

New accessible report themes

Power BI has recently introduced new accessible report themes to promote the creation of reports with good colour contrast. These themes can be accessed from the theme dropdown in the View tab of the ribbon, which includes a new section labelled "Accessible themes."

Used with permission from Microsoft.

These new accessible report themes are designed to make it easier for report authors to create visually appealing reports that are accessible to all users. By providing easy access to themes with good colour contrast, Power BI is taking an important step towards improving accessibility in data visualization.


Users can select these accessible report themes from the theme dropdown in the View tab of the ribbon, and can easily switch between themes as needed. With these new accessible report themes, creating accessible and visually appealing reports has never been easier.

 

Customise visible pages in the Page navigator visual

Power BI now allows users to easily customize which report pages are visible within the Page navigator visual. Users can exclude specific pages by expanding the Show card in the Pages section of the formatting pane. This will display a list of pages that are not already hidden through the “Show hidden pages” or “Show tooltip pages” options.

Used with permission from Microsoft.
Used with permission from Microsoft.

Users can turn off the toggle for specific pages they want to hide. If there are many pages in the report that need to be hidden, it's faster to turn off the Show all by default toggle in the Options card, which will turn off all pages within the Show card. Users can then turn on specific pages they want to be visible.

Used with permission from Microsoft.
Used with permission from Microsoft.

This new feature provides more flexibility in customizing the Page navigator visual and allows users to better control the visibility of their report pages.

 

Enhanced row-level security editor (Preview)

The Enhanced row-level security editor is a new feature in Power BI that allows users to easily define row-level security roles and filters without having to write any DAX. Users can select "Manage roles" in the ribbon to use the new drop-down interface to create and edit security roles. If needed, users can also toggle between using the default drop-down editor and a DAX editor.

Used with permission from Microsoft.
Used with permission from Microsoft.

Changes made in either editor interface will persist when switching interfaces when possible, but not all row-level security filters supported in Power BI can be defined using the default editor. Dynamic rules such as USERNAME() or USERPRINCIPALNAME() can only be defined using DAX, and if a user attempts to switch to the default editor, they will be prompted with a warning that switching editors may result in some information being lost.

Used with permission from Microsoft.

To use this feature, users need to go to Files > Options and Settings > Options > Preview features and turn on "Enhanced row-level security editor".

 

New DAX functions: LINEST and LINESTX

The LINEST and LINESTX functions are two new statistical DAX functions introduced in Power BI. These functions perform linear regression using the Least Squares method to calculate a straight line that best fits the given data and return a table describing that line. They are especially useful in predicting unknown values given known values. Both functions return a single-row table that includes columns such as slopes, intercepts, standard errors, and the coefficient of determination.


The difference between LINEST and LINESTX is that LINEST expects columns of known X and Y values to be provided, whereas LINESTX expects a table and expressions to be evaluated for each row of the table to obtain the X and Y values.


Suppose a user has a table called "Sales" that includes Sales Amount and gross national product (GNP) per capita, as well as a table called "GNP_Country" that contains information about each country's GNP per capita. To predict total sales based on GNP per capita, the user can use the LINESTX function.


To do so, they first summarize the Sales table by country and GNP per capita, and calculate the total sales for each country using the SUM function:

VAR CountryGNP = SUMMARIZE(
    Sales,
    'GNP_Country'[Country],
    'GNP_Country'[GNP_Per_Capita],
    "Total Sales", SUM(Sales[Sales Amount])
)

They then use the LINESTX function to perform linear regression on the summarized data, specifying the Total Sales column as the Y values and the GNP_Per_Capita column as the X values:

VAR SalesPrediction = LINESTX(
    'CountryGNP',
    [Total Sales],
    [GNP_Per_Capita]
)

Finally, they use the result of the LINESTX function to perform a prediction for a fictitious country with GNP per capita of $50,000:

VAR Example_GNP_Per_Capita = 50000

RETURN SELECTCOLUMNS(
    SalesPrediction,
    [Slope1]
) * Example_GNP_Per_Capita +
SELECTCOLUMNS(
    SalesPrediction,
    [Intercept]
)

This results in a predicted total sales of $17,426,123.29.


Alternatively, the user could use the LINEST function to perform the same analysis, assuming the required tables are all in the model as calculated tables:

CountryDetails = SUMMARIZECOLUMNS(
    'GNP_Country'[Country],
    'GNP_Country'[GNP_Per_Capita],
    "Total Sales", SUM(Sales[Sales Amount])
)

SalesPredictionLINEST = LINEST(
    'CountryDetails'[Total Sales],
    'CountryDetails'[GNP_Per_Capita]
)

VAR Example_GNP_Per_Capita = 50000

RETURN
MAX ( SalesPredictionLINEST[Slope1] ) * Example_GNP_Per_Capita
+ MAX ( SalesPredictionLINEST[Intercept] )

To learn more about these functions, see their documentation pages: LINEST and LINESTX.

 

New 'Get Data' experience in the Power BI Service

The Power BI service has removed the older 'Get Data' page and introduced new features available within workspaces to upload files such as .pbix, .xlsx, or .rdl files.

Used with permission from Microsoft.

The Upload option allows users to upload files from their local computer or connect to files on OneDrive or a SharePoint site. However, connecting to files on personal OneDrive accounts is no longer possible.


Used with permission from Microsoft.

For those who want to create a dataset from Excel or CSV data, they can now access this functionality through the New > Dataset option in the workspace they want to create the dataset in.

Used with permission from Microsoft.

The Dataset option has been updated to take users to a new page with options to create a dataset from Excel, CSV, or pasted-in data. Once the file is selected, the behaviour used to generate the dataset is the same as previously used on the 'Get Data' page. After the dataset is created, users will be taken to the dataset's details page in the Data hub.


Used with permission from Microsoft.
 

For the rest of the Power BI February 2023 update, click here, or if you would like to discuss Power BI for your business, email info@pt20.com.au or give us a call on +61 746 596 700.

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