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  • Writer's pictureLachlan McLeod

Power BI Update | November 2022

You may have noticed that Power BI had a bit of a makeover this month, but the application's accent colour wasn't the only thing that's changed!


Read on to find out what's new this month in the final Power BI update for 2022:

 

Announcing the New Power BI Accent Colour

In this month's release, Power BI updated its accent colour to teal! This change was made to ensure Power BI is more accessible for users with disabilities. The new colour improves contrast and increases the visibility of the user interface in Power BI, to make the experience easier to use and more inclusive. Power BI's brand colour and icon logo will remain yellow.

 

Create dynamic slicers using Field Parameters (Preview)

Earlier this year, the Power BI team introduced a public preview of Field Parameters, a new feature that allows users to dynamically change measures and dimensions being analysed within a report. The initial release of Field Parameters only supported scenarios where slicers or filter cards could control which fields would be used in different visuals:

Used with permission from Microsoft.

However, Field Parameters did not support the ability of slicers to control the fields used in other slicers, also referred to as dynamic slicers.


This month, the Power BI team have removed that limitation, now allowing for the parameterisation for slicers to support dynamic filtering scenarios. For example, in the below report, there are three slicers, a measure picker, a dimension picker and a dynamic slicer for filtering values. When the report user changes the selected field for the dimension picker, not only will the main visual update, but the dynamic slicer will update as well to display the values of the selected dimension, allowing for filtering.

Used with permission from Microsoft.

Creating a dynamic slicer using Field Parameters

With this month's release, the Power BI team have enabled the Field Parameters preview feature by default, so it no longer needs to be manually enabled. To create a dynamic slicer using Field Parameters, first, add a Field Parameter to a slicer. This slicer will be used as the field/dimension selector for the dynamic slicer:

Used with permission from Microsoft.

Next, duplicate the slicer by copying and pasting. This duplicated slicer will become the dynamic slicer used for filtering values:

Used with permission from Microsoft.

With the second slicer selected, right-click the field in the field well of the slicer, and select Show values of the selected field:

Used with permission from Microsoft.

And that has created a dynamic slicer!

Used with permission from Microsoft.
 

Streamline the report authoring experience with the Optimize ribbon (Preview)

This month Power BI announced the public preview of a new Optimise ribbon in Power BI Desktop. This is an entire ribbon devoted to making authoring reports more streamlined – especially in DirectQuery mode!


It allows for cool new features like:

  • stopping visuals from loading data while making changes

  • editing multiple DAX measures without updating the report canvas in between those edits

  • taking full control over when visuals refresh


This new functionality is enabled through the ability to Pause visuals! Pause visuals allow control over when visuals send out DAX queries, allowing edits to be made undisturbed.

The new Optimise ribbon also makes it easy to find the right report settings needed for DirectQuery reports - with the ability to find and apply Optimisation presets with only a few mouse clicks! The Optimize ribbon is a significant step towards streamlining the DirectQuery report authoring experience!


In a nutshell, the authoring tools on the Optimize ribbon provide you with the following capabilities:

  • Fully control when visuals refresh. Switch to the Optimise ribbon, click on Pause visuals, as in the below screenshot, and from now on visuals no longer refresh automatically. Click on Refresh visuals for visuals to run their queries and update their data.

  • Quickly choose and apply predefined combinations of settings tailored to reporting needs. No longer limited to default settings in Power BI Desktop, quickly choose and apply settings tailored to reporting needs with Optimisation presets. Click the drop-down on Optimise presets to choose between full interactivity, full query reduction, or customize to find the perfect balance for the report.

  • Conveniently launch Performance Analyzer to analyze the queries report visuals generate. Easy access to important performance optimization tools goes a long way to boosting report author productivity. The Optimise ribbon is now a one-stop shop for the tools to create optimized experiences for report users!

Used with permission from Microsoft.

The above screenshot shows the Optimise ribbon in action. It is now available within Power BI Desktop, but note that the Optimise ribbon needs to be explicitly enabled. As a preview feature, go to Files > Options and Settings, then click on Options, select Preview features, and then select the Optimize ribbon checkbox!

 

New DAX functions: EVALUATEANDLOG, TOCSV and TOJSON

Ever wanted to see the intermediate results of a DAX expression? Ever wanted to debug DAX by printing out values? If so, get excited about a new function called EVALUATEANDLOG! It takes any DAX expression, evaluates it and returns the result. But that’s not all: it also logs the result, hence the name EVALUATEANDLOG, to the DAX evaluation log that you can read out using tools like SQL Profiler. It’s very much like a “print debugging statement”. For example, consider the following measure that calculates the sales growth year over year, using a [Sales Amount] measure and the SAMEPERIODLASTYEAR function:


YoYGrowth := [Sales Amount] - CALCULATE( [Sales Amount], SAMEPERIODLASTYEAR('Date'[Date]))

To ensure this measure does it needs to, wrap the parts of the measure in EVALUATEANDLOG to see the intermediate result, like the example below. All the while, Profit will still return the same result as before:


YoYGrowth := EVALUATEANDLOG([Sales Amount]) – EVALUATEANDLOG(CALCULATE( [Sales Amount], SAMEPERIODLASTYEAR(‘Date’[Date])))

However, additionally, the DAX evaluation log will now contain the result of [Sales Amount]) and CALCULATE( [Sales Amount], SAMEPERIODLASTYEAR(’Date’[Date]))!

View the output using SQL Profiler by connecting to Desktop, starting a trace and subscribing to the DAX Evaluation Log event.


Read more about EVALUATEANDLOG in the official Microsoft Power BI documentation.


Additionally, this month introduces two very similar DAX functions that are closely related to EVALUATEANDLOG but can also be used separately. These functions convert the input Table to CSV or JSON, respectively. For example:


MyCSV = TOCSV(DimProduct)

Returns something like this (screenshot truncated):

Used with permission from Microsoft.

These new functions allow one to change the delimiter (applicable to TOCSV only) and whether the header rows should be included. On top of that, a row limit can be specified too.


Read more about TOCSV and TOJSON in the official Microsoft Power BI documentation.

 

Subscribe to a report with filters applied

It is now possible to create subscriptions to a specific view of a Power BI report! When creating a new subscription, just select the Include my changes option to subscribe to the view of the report as currently displayed. By selecting the Include my changes option, the view of the report sent via email will include any of the following changes: filters, slicers, personalised visuals, cross-filtering or cross-highlighting, drill down or drill up, and spotlight.

Used with permission from Microsoft.

When selecting Go to report from the email subscription body, the link now navigates to the view of the report in the Power BI service with the same set of changes (i.e., filters, slicers, etc.) that were applied when the subscription was created. This new Include my changes option is available to any user who can create email subscriptions.

Used with permission from Microsoft.
 

For the rest of the Power BI November 2022 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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