The Power BI Desktop Update for November 2017

Ross MacKenzie
Tags: Microsoft Microsoft Power BI

The latest version of Power BI is now available to download or from the Windows Store. There are few show-stoppers this month but still plenty of bits and pieces to get to grips with.

Table and Matrix visuals

Table and Matrix visuals get a couple of tweaks. Rule-based conditional formatting now allows you to create rules for colour backgrounds or column font colours. A cell alignment control has also been added for row and column headers or specific fields in Field formatting. As you might expect, this allows you to align elements to the left, right or centre.

Selection pane visual ordering

The selection pane was introduced last month, providing an easy way to select objects on your report page. Now a visual ordering feature has been added, letting you choose which overlapping objects appear on top. It’s easy to use with arrows in the pane or a drag & drop function for priority ordering.

Locking objects

When messing about with your reports, you’ve probably nudged charts sideways on occasion. You now have the ability to lock all objects in the report, temporarily disabling Resize and Move so you won’t accidentally change the layout as you test or analyse the report.

Other reporting updates

Esri's ArcGIS Maps for Power BI were introduced in June. Esri has now released a new subscription called Plus that gives users improved mapping capabilities. There are new options to reduce queries when dealing with uncommonly large or slow data sources in DirectQuery, which should hopefully speed the process somewhat. There are some improvements in the Power BI filtering process and, as usual, a number of new custom visuals have been released to the custom visuals store.

Cell-level formatting support

In analytics, cell-level formatting support has been extended to include multi-row cards. Cell-level formatting as defined in your multi-dimensional Analysis Services (AS) will now flow and activate automatically.

Windows Authentication for Impala

The only data connectivity update this month is the addition of support for Windows Authentication to the Impala connector. You can now use Windows as your authentication in Credentials. The Power BI team promise that they are also bringing similar support for the On-premises data gateway and Kerberos-based Single Sign-On support for Impala over the next month.

Add Column from Example improvements

Finally, in query editing, the Add Columns From Examples feature has been expanded so that you can now set ‘conditional columns’. This could involve a basic conditional column based on a set of examples, conditional column ranges or more specialised instances such as ‘null fallback’ or ‘bucketing’.

That’s about it for November, but there will no doubt be plenty more next month in the ever-evolving Power BI service.

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