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3 things you should know about Microsoft's Power BI updates (May 2020)

Posted on June 16, 2020 by Branden Cecil

How easy is it to see an update in Power BI? Well, it’s easy to see posts about what is being changed or added, but it may be more difficult to understand the changes and know what they will do. Reading something and understanding something are two completely different things. In this blog post, I’ll take an in-depth look at a few of Microsoft's latest updates to the Power BI platform. It may be helpful to have had a fair amount of exposure to the Power BI platform before reading this post.

Let’s dive into the following 3 updates:

  1. ‘Apply all’ filters
  2. 'Drill Through' button action
  3. Curate featured tables for Microsoft Excel

Important note: The purpose of this post is to inform the reader of the updates in Power BI while trying to make it more of a lively read, I am by no means an expert of this content as it is fairly new, as am I to Power BI in general. Nonetheless, the content that follows is accurate. If you are interested in these features, there will be a link to my source at the bottom as well as my LinkedIn profile if you would like to connect and discuss these details further. Hope you enjoy!

1. ‘Apply all’ filters

filters

If you have ever used Power BI Desktop, then you have probably run into filtering data to fit your needs. Filtering data is a huge feature that is accessible in Power BI. It really helps report builders and end-users alike view the data that is most important to them. When you filter your data, whether it is on an individual visual or an entire tab, you are almost always prompted to 'apply filter' after you  choose your desired values. This is great, but it can get redundant and time consuming if you are using lots of filters. So, in order to reduce the number of clicks, there’s now an addition of a single button within the filters pane. This will allow a report builder to choose the desired values in different fields in the filters pane. Then just simply click the 'Apply' button found at the bottom of the pane to execute all the filters.

2. The 'Drill Through' button

drill-through-button

With the new features, you can conditionally set the drill through destination. This means you can decide what exactly you want to see. This is a little different because originally you were only able to select a single destination in the button's action field. Whereas now, you can select a field or a measure that can be more dynamic depending on what you are trying to accomplish. With this new feature, one could set the action to follow a slicer selection to drill down. You can also use the field in the slicer to represent different tabs in the report. This would have to be something created in the report itself. There are a ton of new possibilities with this update.

 

3. Curating tables in Excel

featured

This is a generous feature. You are now allowed access to tables from a Power BI dataset in an Excel workbook. Essentially, you can work with that data in an Excel workbook and view it as you would like without changing the Power BI dataset. Before getting into this feature, it is important to know that the tables you are trying to access must be part of a shared dataset. It is also worth noting that you must turn on this feature within Power BI by going to Options > Preview features > Enable ‘Featured tables’. Once turned on, you will have to reboot your Power BI desktop report. Then go to your model tab, click on a table and turn ‘is a featured table’ to “Yes”. Keep in mind that the tables you are trying to access must be published to the Power BI service, and therefore to access them you need access to the dataset.

 

Some additional updates: Here is a list of some additional updates made in May of 2020. If the previously discussed content interests you at all, I encourage you to check out the remaining updates:

  • Buttons now support fill images
  • Decomposition tree is now part of the standard Desktop App
  • PowerApps visual is now compatible with all languages in Power BI
  • Direct query on Data Flows
  • Web by example now suggests tables by default
  • Along with a multitude of data connectivity features

 

You can find Branden Cecil on LinkedIn at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/brandencecil

Sources:

 

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