October Updates for Microsoft Power BI

Ross MacKenzie
Tags: Microsoft Microsoft Power BI

The biggest Power BI development in this month’s updates is undoubtedly the preview of bookmarking. This feature was demoed back in June at the Data Insights Summit in Seattle and has been one of the most eagerly awaited updates.

Bookmarking preview

Now available as a preview, bookmarking allows you to save the current view of a page, including filtering and visuals and go back to it later. Used in conjunction with other new features like drillthrough, this can radically enhance your ability to share insights and build stories.

There are a number of uses for bookmarks, whether keeping track of your own progress in a report, easily picking up where you left off, highlighting areas of interest or building a complete PowerPoint-style presentation by going through the different bookmarks in order.

New selection pane

Some of this month’s other added features are related to bookmarking, including a new selection pane. This lists out all objects on the current report page and provides an easy way to select visuals. Used in conjunction with bookmarking, you can create engaging reports with visuals that change depending on the bookmark being selected.

Image bookmark links and spotlighting

When drillthrough was introduced to Power BI last month it brought the ability to create ‘back’ buttons by linking shapes and images to the previous page. This linking is now being extended to allow you to link the shapes and images to bookmarks, creating the potential for greater custom navigation.

Spotlighting is yet another part of the wider bookmarking feature, allowing you to call attention to a given chart. Instead of increasing the size of the chart (as with the focus mode) you can use spotlighting to fade out all the other charts on the page.

Marker controls for scatter and bubble charts

The marker controls that had previously been released for line, area and combo charts are now also available for scatter and bubble type charts. While we’re on the subject of scatter charts, a new data volume slider allows you to increase the number of data points in your chart, setting the maximum data max to anywhere between 3,500 and 10,000 points.

Other updates

Some other updates for October include quick measures for SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) live connections and an extension of quick measure support for working with custom date tables. A new quick measure has also been introduced for totals from new categories. This lets you find data relating to categories such as first-time customer sales or first-time helpdesk callers.

A new data connector has been added for Vertica and support is now provided on the SAP BW connector for additional member properties. Finally, Power BI Desktop can now be found in the Windows Store for the first time.

Mobile and service updates

There are also a number of mobile updates to catch up on from September. These include the ability to filter reports on mobile for the first time, mobile support for Visio visualisations and an improved load performance on usage metrics.

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