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  • Writer's pictureLachlan McLeod

Power BI Update: May 2023

Updated: Jun 1, 2023

Discover the latest exciting updates from Power BI that are designed to enhance your data analytics experience! With improvements in on-object interaction, matrix accessibility, data model editing, and the introduction of the MATCHBY DAX function, Power BI is taking user empowerment to the next level. From enhanced keyboard navigation and screen reader support to the ability to edit data models directly in the Power BI Service, these updates are all about making your data analysis journey seamless, accessible, and collaborative. Stay ahead of the curve and dive into these new features to unlock the full potential of your data with Power BI!


Introducing Power BI Direct Lake Mode: Revolutionizing Data Analysis and Performance

Power BI has introduced an exciting new feature called Direct Lake Mode. This feature allows you to access and analyse data more efficiently, particularly when dealing with large amounts of information. Here's an easy-to-understand breakdown of what's happening:

Think of a "lake" as a big storage place for your data. With this new feature, Power BI can go straight to this lake to fetch data, without having to make a copy or wait for a refresh. In the past, users had to either make a copy of the data (which could be slow and create duplicates) or access the data directly (which was faster but could impact performance). Now, with Direct Lake mode, users get the best of both worlds – speedy access to data without unnecessary copies or delays.

Used with permission from Microsoft.

Furthermore, Power BI uses open data formats, meaning your data can be shared and accessed by different systems without being locked into one specific provider. This is made possible by Fabric, the technology powering this feature, which promotes the use of open data formats as part of their OneLake initiative.

In short, this new feature, Direct Lake Mode, provides a faster, more efficient way to analyse large volumes of data. It allows users to uncover insights from their data quicker and more conveniently.


Introducing the Azure Analysis Services to Fabric and Power BI Premium Migration Experience: Now Generally Available!

Introducing the Azure Analysis Services to Power BI Premium Migration Experience, now available for everyone! This migration tool allows users to easily transfer their data models from Azure Analysis Services (AAS) to Power BI Premium or Power BI Embedded with just a few clicks. It ensures a smooth transition and minimal disruption to users, reports, and automation processes. By migrating to Power BI, users gain access to advanced features and scalability, surpassing what AAS or SSAS can offer. Power BI is a modern, cloud-based business intelligence platform with great scalability, easy management, strong security, and seamless sharing and discovery capabilities.

The migration process is straightforward and convenient. You can follow these steps:

  1. Launch the Azure AS Migration Experience.

  2. Create a new migration and connect to your Azure subscription.

  3. Select the AAS server and database you want to migrate.

  4. Connect to your workspace on Power BI Premium or create a new one.

  5. Choose the desired storage account.

  6. Monitor the migration progress while the tool handles the necessary tasks.

One of the highlights of this migration experience is the ability to redirect XMLA-based clients and rebind Power BI reports to the migrated dataset. This feature makes it easy to evaluate the migration in a temporary workspace before applying it to your production environment. Once the migration is complete, you can continue using your existing reports without any disruptions. The migrated dataset can be accessed with tools that support the XMLA protocol. Power BI offers exciting features like large dataset storage, incremental refresh, aggregations, composite models, and XMLA endpoints, taking your data analysis capabilities to the next level.

Migrating to Power BI is a future-proof choice for enterprise BI solutions. The Azure AS to Power BI Premium Migration Experience is now generally available and fully supported. Power BI is the leading platform for both self-service and enterprise BI, providing growth opportunities and compatibility with existing skills, tools, and processes. It also benefits from a rich ecosystem of developers, partners, and BI solutions. Don't hesitate to migrate your Azure AS data models today to ensure your BI solutions remain up-to-date and ready for the future.

For more information and resources on Azure AS migration, you can visit the following links:

  • Azure AS migration main page: Link

  • Azure AS migration guide: Link

  • Azure AS migration scenarios: Link


Introducing the General Availability of the Optimize Ribbon in Power BI Desktop

Power BI users can now benefit from the general availability of the Optimize ribbon, which brings three important functionalities to enhance the report authoring experience. The first feature is Pause visuals, which allows users to temporarily stop visuals from sending queries while making changes. This speeds up the report design process, especially when using the DirectQuery table storage mode. Users can refresh visuals individually or all at once when they are ready.

The second feature is Optimisation presets, which apply different combinations of report settings with a single click. These presets prioritize either Query Reduction or Interactivity between visuals. For advanced customization, users can select specific settings that suit their reporting needs. Optimization presets are useful for large models and DirectQuery reports that require fine-tuning for optimal performance.

The third feature is the Apply all slicers button, which prevents slicers from instantly applying their selections with every change. This button reduces the frequency of visual refreshes while report consumers make selections across multiple slicers.

Start exploring these powerful features today! For detailed information and guidance on using the Optimize ribbon, you can refer to the provided documentation and blog posts from Microsoft.


Introducing the General Availability of Hybrid Tables in Power BI

The advanced partitioning feature called Hybrid Tables is now generally available. This feature allows users to combine import mode and DirectQuery mode in a single table, creating powerful datasets for advanced analysis.

With Hybrid Tables, users can achieve fast performance for historical data stored in import-mode partitions, while enjoying real-time data freshness for the latest queried data in DirectQuery mode. This flexibility is ideal for analyzing massive datasets with billions of rows, while easily adapting to changes in the data source.

Users can also define an incremental refresh policy that incorporates real-time data, automatically generating a hybrid partitioning scheme within production datasets. This empowers users to analyze massive datasets interactively while accommodating evolving data sources.

Used with permission from Microsoft.

Azure Log Analytics for Power BI Datasets Reaches General Availability

The integration between Power BI and Azure Log Analytics has reached general availability, providing administrators with a valuable tool for analyzing historical activity and diagnostics on their datasets. Previously, administrators could only connect a single Power BI workspace to a log analytics workspace, but now they can connect multiple workspaces, removing this limitation.

Used with permission from Microsoft.

This integration gives administrators full visibility into the usage, performance, and metrics of Power BI Premium datasets. They can monitor dataset activities in near real-time, enabling informed and data-driven decision-making. Administrators can query Log Analytics using the Kusto Query Language (KQL) to obtain instant results from large amounts of data. They can also use Power BI report templates to visualize usage trends, identify unusual load periods, and address performance issues. Additionally, automation capabilities are available through REST APIs, allowing for streamlined workspace connections.

Administrators can refer to the comprehensive documentation to learn more about Azure Log Analytics for Power BI Datasets and explore its capabilities. This general availability release offers administrators an excellent opportunity to gain deeper insights, troubleshoot performance issues, and optimize their Power BI deployments.


OneLake Data Hub: Redesigned and Rebranded for Enhanced Data Management

The Power BI Data Hub has been redesigned and rebranded as the "OneLake Data Hub" to offer enhanced data management capabilities. It serves as a central location for data discovery, management, and reuse, supporting various Fabric data items such as Data Warehouses, Lakehouses, SQL endpoints, and more. This comprehensive solution simplifies data discovery and management within the OneLake ecosystem.

The introduction of the OneLake Data Hub Explorer addresses customer feedback and provides a powerful tool for locating specific data items. It offers a streamlined browsing experience, especially useful for users with access to data across multiple workspaces. The Explorer's intuitive interface allows users to navigate through vast amounts of data and gain valuable insights, focusing their analysis and reporting efforts.

Used with permission from Microsoft.

Users can access the OneLake Data Hub through various platforms, including Power BI Service, Power BI Desktop, and all Fabric workloads. This seamless integration ensures effective utilization of the data hub's capabilities within users' preferred Power BI environment and the broader Fabric ecosystem.

Overall, the redesigned OneLake Data Hub, along with the Data Hub Explorer, empowers users with enhanced data management and discovery. It provides a centralized hub and intuitive browsing experience, enabling efficient exploration, management, and insights derivation from OneLake data.


Expanded Lineage and Impact Analysis in Power BI: Supporting All Fabric Items

Power BI has expanded its Lineage and Impact Analysis feature to support all Fabric items, bringing a new level of understanding to complex BI projects. With the introduction of Fabric in Power BI workspaces, users now have access to a variety of interconnected items. The expanded lineage view allows users to track how data moves from its source to various destinations, such as pipelines, lakehouses,

warehouses, datasets, and reports. This comprehensive understanding of data flow empowers users to navigate and comprehend complex projects more easily.

In addition to the expanded lineage view, Power BI has improved its impact analysis capabilities. Users can now explore downstream items beyond direct child items, gaining a complete view of dependencies. This enhanced visibility enables users to assess the full impact of changes and modifications, ensuring smooth data flow and the successful functioning of intricate BI projects.

These expanded features revolutionize data visibility and management in Power BI. Users can now gain a holistic understanding of data flow and dependencies across all Fabric items, simplifying the navigation of complex BI projects. With seamless data management, users can analyze and report efficiently, ensuring data flows harmoniously across all items.

Used with permission from Microsoft.

Announcing the Renaming of the Power BI Free User License

The Power BI Free user license has undergone a renaming and is now referred to as the Microsoft Fabric Free user license. This change aligns the license with the integration of Power BI into the Microsoft Fabric ecosystem. It is important to note that this renaming does not impact any of the functionalities previously available with the Power BI Free user license. Users can continue to enjoy the same set of features and capabilities under the new name, Microsoft Fabric Free user license.


Introducing New Fabric Connectors

Exciting news for users as new Fabric Connectors are introduced to enhance data connectivity options. These connectors are part of the Microsoft Fabric ecosystem and offer expanded possibilities for integrating data. The "Fabric" category within the Get Data feature includes three new connectors: Dataflows, Power BI Datasets, and Datamarts. These connectors allow users to establish connections with their Delta tables in the Fabric Lakehouse, explore and connect to files stored in OneLake, and access warehouse data and KQL databases in Microsoft Fabric.

The "Lakehouse in Microsoft Fabric" connector enables teams to connect with their Delta tables and OneLake files, making it effortless to visualize Lakehouse data and extract valuable business insights. The "Warehouse in Microsoft Fabric" connector allows teams to retrieve data, write queries, and gain a deeper understanding of data trends within their warehouses. Additionally, the "KQL database in Microsoft Fabric" connector enables connections to KQL databases hosted in Microsoft Fabric, providing access to valuable insights.

These new connectors offer users enhanced data connectivity options within the Microsoft Fabric ecosystem. By leveraging these connectors, teams can seamlessly integrate and analyze diverse data sources, utilize advanced querying capabilities, and derive meaningful insights to drive their business forward.


Azure Maps is now Generally Available

Azure Maps is now generally available, offering users a comprehensive mapping experience in Power BI. Over the past year, significant improvements have been made to the Azure Maps visual, including customization options like geocoding, pie chart layers, and filled map layers. Users are encouraged to upgrade their existing Map visuals to Azure Maps for a unified mapping experience.

Used with permission from Microsoft.

In the future, Power BI will fully deprecate older map visuals and migrate existing reports to Azure Maps. To ensure a smooth transition, users should convert their maps to Azure Maps as soon as possible to take advantage of new features. The update also includes changes to map tile styles, which will be rolled out gradually to users.

Current Style

New Style

Power BI is committed to investing in Azure Maps, with plans to introduce additional features and enhancements in future releases. Users can look forward to an even more powerful mapping experience in Power BI.


Introducing Measure-Driven Data Labels

Power BI has announced the introduction of a compelling new label capability known as measure-driven data labels. With this release, users can effortlessly replace default data labels with values that hold greater significance, based on their selected field or measure.

Used with permission from Microsoft.

This exciting feature empowers users to provide more meaningful context to their data, enhancing the overall data visualization experience. By leveraging the measure-driven data labels, users can highlight key information and insights that align with their specific requirements and analysis.


Seamless Power BI Desktop Integration with OneDrive and SharePoint

Power BI is introducing preview features that enhance the integration of Power BI Desktop with OneDrive and SharePoint. These features make it easier for report authors to collaborate, manage file versions, and back up their work in the cloud.

To enable the preview, users can select the Save to OneDrive and SharePoint and Share to OneDrive and SharePoint options in the Options menu. It's important to note that if there are many recent files, there may be a performance issue that will be addressed in an upcoming update.

Used with permission from Microsoft.

Once activated, users will see their recently used OneDrive and SharePoint folders when saving a new file in Power BI Desktop. If the desired folder is not visible, users can access the new Save As experience to browse and create new folders within OneDrive and SharePoint locations.

Used with permission from Microsoft.

After saving, the file will be uploaded to the chosen location. When reopening Power BI Desktop, users can directly access files from OneDrive and SharePoint, which will be downloaded locally. However, collaborative editing of Power BI files is not supported in this update.

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

For sharing work with colleagues, users can use the Share button and save the file to OneDrive or SharePoint. Larger organisations are encouraged to use the Publish option in the Power BI Service for easier distribution and management of trusted reports.

Used with permission from Microsoft.

Power BI administrators have the option to disable sharing through OneDrive and SharePoint in Power BI Desktop. However, users can still save files to their OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Document library through other means. To achieve a fully integrated experience, administrators can enable the "Users can view Power BI items saved in OneDrive and SharePoint (Preview)" tenant setting.

Used with permission from Microsoft.

Enhancements to Matrix Visual for Improved Accessibility

Power BI has introduced enhancements to the matrix visual to improve its usability and accessibility for all users. These updates include improved keyboard navigation and new shortcuts, allowing users to navigate through large matrices more efficiently. The matrix visual now has an enhanced focus outline that remains visible on darker backgrounds, ensuring compliance with colour contrast requirements and enhancing visibility. Additionally, the visual provides support for screen readers, delivering information about the matrix structure and interactions, as well as conveying information related to conditional formatting icons and data bars. Unnecessary browser tooltips have been removed, streamlining the user experience, and performance improvements have been implemented to enhance scrolling and rendering.

Used with permission from Microsoft.

These enhancements make it easier for users to interact with the matrix visual and access information using various assistive technologies. They improve keyboard navigation, visibility, and performance while ensuring compliance with accessibility standards.


Updates to On-Object Interaction (Preview)

The On-object interaction feature in Power BI has received updates based on user feedback and bug fixes. Now, Pie, Donut, and Table visuals are supported, allowing users to apply on-object interaction functionality to these visual types. A new dropdown menu has been added for easier switching of aggregations, enhancing the user experience. The drag-and-drop experience has been improved by automatically opening the build menu when adding data to a visual. Custom visuals are now displayed in the ribbon visualization gallery, providing users with more customization options. The ribbon visualizations gallery has also been updated to serve a dual purpose, allowing users to insert new visuals or change the visual type of the currently selected visual. Bug fixes have been implemented, addressing scrolling issues and maintaining the scrolled position within the build menu when adding, swapping, or renaming a field.


Set Query Limits in Power BI Desktop

Power BI Desktop now allows authors to define query limits, bringing consistency with the limits set in the Power BI Service. Previously, query limits were only applicable in the Service, causing issues when visuals that worked in Desktop encountered errors in the Service. To address this, authors can now set query limits directly in Power BI Desktop. The options can be found in the Options > Report settings tab.

Used with permission from Microsoft.

Existing reports will match the previous behaviour with "No query limits" as the default setting, while new reports will have "Auto" limits set by default. The "Auto" limits aim to identify the hosting environment and default to the Shared Capacity, ensuring data safety. Authors have the flexibility to view and set limits for each capacity, and custom limits can also be defined using the "Custom limits" option. A limit of "0" indicates "no limits" for a specific capacity.

Used with permission from Microsoft.

When a query limit is reached, an error message similar to the one shown in the Power BI Service will be displayed. These updates give authors more control over query limits, bringing alignment between Power BI Desktop and the Service, and reducing confusion when transitioning between the two environments.

Used with permission from Microsoft.

Introducing the MATCHBY DAX Function

This month, a new DAX function called MATCHBY is being introduced. The MATCHBY function is used within window functions to define the columns that determine how data is matched and identify the current row.

For example, consider the following query that retrieves FactInternetSales with an additional column indicating the previous sales amount for each sale, based on the descending order of sales from the same product. By using MATCHBY, we can specify that the current sales should be identified by the SalesOrderNumber and SalesOrderLineNumber. Without MATCHBY, the query would result in an error as there are no key columns in the FactInternetSales table.

cssCopy code
    "Previous Sales Amount",
        OFFSET (
            ORDERBY ( FactInternetSales[SalesAmount], DESC ),
            PARTITIONBY ( FactInternetSales[ProductKey] ),
            MATCHBY( FactInternetSales[SalesOrderNumber], FactInternetSales[SalesOrderLineNumber] )

It's important to note that the MATCHBY function can only be used within window functions. To learn more about this function and its usage, refer to the documentation page: MATCHBY.

This new DAX function expands the capabilities of window functions and provides greater flexibility in matching and identifying data within queries.


Edit Your Data Model in the Power BI Service (Opt-in)

Power BI has introduced data model editing in the Power BI Service, allowing users to modify their data models directly on the web. Previously, these editing capabilities were limited to the Power BI Desktop application. With this new feature, users can now edit relationships, create DAX measures, and manage row-level security (RLS) within the Service. The aim is to achieve full feature parity between data model editing in Power BI Desktop and the Power BI Service.

Used with permission from Microsoft.

To try out this feature, users can access data model editing for datasets stored in My Workspace, as it is automatically enabled. For collaborative workspaces, enabling the Preview switch in the workspace settings allows access to data model editing. Users are encouraged to provide feedback and suggestions through the dedicated feedback forum to help improve this new capability. More details about data model editing in the Power BI Service can be found in the article titled "Edit Your Data Model in the Power BI Service | Public Preview (Opt-in)."


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

1 comentario

Sean C
Sean C
12 jun 2023

Really well written article - thanks for summarising this Lachlan!

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