This month's Power BI update includes an exciting new preview feature that will hopefully save report builders some time maintaining complex sets of bookmarks, with some updates to some other preview features and the release of a highly demanded component!
New format pane updates (Preview)
Several further improvements have been made this month to Power BI's new format pane, including:
Added a user preference setting to expand all sub-categories by default.
Analytics pane support re-added for custom visuals.
“No fill” for Title > background, Tooltips > background, and Header icons > Help tooltip > background color pickers have been re-added
For easier searching, "colour" has been re-added to all colour swatch fields.
Conditional formatting card re-added for Decomposition Tree visual
Matrix and Table now match on "conditional formatting" search terms for the "cell elements" card.
Highly anticipated, the Power BI team have now added the ability to zoom on the canvas! For report readers, this is especially important for improving readability. For report creators, this helps magnify the canvas to make any tweaks that require a high degree of precision. Users can drag the slider to set the zoom level or click on the zoom % to launch the zoom level dialog box and type in a custom input. Use the new quick "fit to page" button to get back to the default view.
Note: the zoom level does not save with the report.
Canvas zoom is available in Power BI Desktop and Power BI online.
Field parameters (Preview)
The Power BI team have announced a new preview feature called Field parameters that allows users to dynamically change the measures or dimensions they analyse within a report. This feature can help your end-users explore and tailor their analysis by selecting the fields they are interested in viewing.
Currently, there are some limitations around the use of field parameters.
AI visuals and Q&A are not supported.
There is no way for end-users to select a "none" or no fields option, as selecting no fields in the slicer or filter card is the same as selecting all fields.
You cannot currently use implicit measures, meaning if you need an aggregated column as one of your fields, you would need to create an explicit DAX measure for it.
Example of implicit measure: ∑ Sales
Example of explicit measure: Measure = SUM(‘Table’[Sales])
Some basic instructions on using field parameters are below:
Creating a field parameter
To get started, enable the Field parameters preview feature.
To create a new field parameter, navigate to Modeling > New parameter > Fields:
To build the parameter, you will need to provide a name for the parameter and select the fields you want to use.
In this dialog box, you can drag and drop to change the ordering or double click to change the display name on any of the fields.
You can also mix and match different measures and dimensions within the same parameter. For example, you can create a dynamic table, where the columns can be either measures or dimensions.
Using a field parameter to control visual properties
Once you have created a field parameter, you can use the parameter to control the measures or dimensions within a visual:
You can use the parameter in the field drop zones for a visual. Please note that specific properties have restrictions on the number or type of fields to place within them.
Within the context menu, you can also change if the field parameter is showing the values or the display names of the selected field(s) for all non-slicer visuals:
Editing a field parameter
If you need to edit any existing field parameters, you will need to modify the DAX directly.
For example, if you want to add a new field to an existing field parameter, you can click Shift + Enter to start a new entry:
Add a comma between each entry, and match the following format:
(“<display name of choice>”, NAMEOF(‘<table name>’[<field name>]), <ordinal number used for sorting>)
This new feature will reduce the need to overlay multiple visuals and create complicated bookmark-driven measures and dimension changes, speeding up the time to develop and maintain your reporting.
Managing composite models on Power BI datasets
The ability to create a composite model leveraging one or more Power BI datasets or Azure Analysis Services models has been in preview since December 2020.
Tenant admins can now enable or disable DirectQuery connections to Power BI datasets in the admin portal. While this is enabled by default, disabling it will effectively stop users from publishing new composite models on Power BI datasets to the Service. Like other settings in the admin portal, you can also specify whether you want the settings to apply to specific security groups or the whole organisation.
This setting is on by default, and if disabled, any reports that leverage a composite model on a Power BI dataset already published to the Service will continue to work.
If the setting is disabled, Power BI Desktop will show the following when you create a DirectQuery connection to the Power BI dataset by selecting Make changes to this model:
You can still explore the dataset in your local Power BI Desktop environment and create the composite model. However, you will not be able to publish the report to the Power BI Service. Attempting to upload the file will produce the following error message:
Live connections to Power BI datasets are not affected by this change. Additionally, any published reports that leverage a composite model on a Power BI dataset will continue to work even if this setting has been disabled after they were published.
Error bars for column and line combination charts (Preview)
The Power BI team continued to work on error bars this month, adding error bars to combo charts! After enabling the preview feature, you can create error bars using the same method as before: drag upper and lower bound fields into the field wells in the error bars card of the Analytics Pane. The formatting options also exist for the line and column portions of the visual as their respective chart types.