Category Archives: Self-Service BI

Conditional Formatting Using Text In Power BI Desktop

Using Text Conditional Formatting Video Image Conditional Formatting Using Text In Power BI Desktop

Hello P3 Nation! Today’s “post” is actually going to be a video link. Sometimes there are certain subjects, concepts, or post ideas that just don’t translate well to the written word, and especially to screenshots. So this post will be in moving picture form! We’ve posted it to our YouTube Channel which you can go to here. Bedside’s today’s video, we have TONS of content on that channel so please take a look at our other awesome videos as well.

Today’s topic covers how to apply Conditional Formatting using text in Power BI Desktop. Conditional Formatting recently got a feature update, that allows you to apply color formatting rules based on ANY DAX Measure. I recently encountered a business scenario that had me play around with this feature a bit, and I came up with a clever way to use this for a client. I’ve included below the video link, download link to the .pbix file, and links to other articles explaining the various features & design techniques I’ve applied in this report. Otherwise, enjoy the video!

My Top 5 Power BI Practices: Transforming Good to GREAT: Article talks about a lot of the Formatting and Design Practices you see above, plus the DAX Formulas table.

Power BI: Transforming Good to GREAT: Video that is an updated discussion & walkthrough of the article above. Discusses Formatting, Design Practices, What If Scenarios, and Forecasting.

You can download the .pbix file here

We like to think that is no accident.  We’re different.  First of a new breed – the kind who can speak tech, biz, and human all at the same time.

Want this kind of readily-absorbable, human-oriented Power BI instruction for your team? Hire us for a private training at your facility, OR attend one of our public workshops!

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Terminology Check – What is a Power BI App?

Thumbnail Terminology Check   What is a Power BI App?

Let’s say you just heard someone mention a Power BI app. What exactly do they mean by that? Well, it depends. The term “app” is used kind of a lot in the Power BI world. So, here’s a quick reference to help you decode the conversation. I’m going to start with the most likely options, working down to other options. Which one someone is referring to really depends on their role and their level of familiarity with the Power BI ecosystem.

Power BI App

A Power BI App is a packaged up set of content in the web-based Power BI Service. Related reports, workbooks, dashboards, and datasets are published from an App Workspace into an App for users to consume. 

Power BI App Workspace

An App Workspace in the Power BI Service is where reports, workbooks, dashboards, and datasets are saved, and where data refresh schedules and other settings are defined. An App Workspace is suited to development & collaboration with coworkers (whereas My Workspace is a private area). Smaller teams might do everything they need to do within an App Workspace, whereas larger teams use an App Workspace as the collaboration area for content before it gets published to a Power BI App for consumption. You can have quite a few App Workspaces, depending on how you organize content (for instance, by subject area, by project, by department, or by type of analysis). 

Power BI Mobile App

There are iOS, Android, and Windows mobile apps for consuming Power BI content. In addition to displaying content from the Power BI Service, the mobile apps can also display content from SQL Server Reporting Services and Power BI Report Server. 

Power BI Desktop Application

Power BI Desktop is a client application which is installed on a user’s PC. Its purpose is for creating queries, data models, relationships, calculations, and reports for Power BI. Power BI Desktop can be downloaded from the web. However, it’s recommended to use the Windows Store instead because updates are installed automatically, even if you don’t have admin rights on your machine. The automatic updates are very helpful because Power BI Desktop is updated once per month, as well as bug fixes here and there.

PowerApps

There are three tools in the Business Applications Group currently: Power BI, Flow, and PowerApps. PowerApps is an Office 365 feature that allows you to pretty easily build line-of-business applications with low code or no code. There are lots of possibilities for integration between these three products. For instance, you can display a Power BI report in a PowerApps app, or you can display a PowerApps input screen within a Power BI dashboard, or you can have a Power BI alert trigger a Flow which causes something else to happen in a workflow. 

AppSource

AppSource is like a marketplace to search for line-of-business applications for Power BI, Office 365, Dynamics 365, as well as other products and services. Published offerings can be specific to your organization (such as a Power BI App discussed above), from third parties (like Salesforce), or from partner companies (such as my employer, BlueGranite). 

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Blog – SQL Chick

6/18 Webinar: My Power BI report is slow: what should I do? by Marco Russo

This week have one of our crowd favorites and Rock star MVPs, Marco Russo who has volunteered to cover the topic: 

My Power BI report is slow: what should I do?

Abstract: You created a wonderful Power BI report, but when you open it you wait too much time. Changing a slicer selection is also slow. Where should you start analyzing the problem? What can you do to optimize performance?
This session will guide you in analyzing the possible reasons for a slow Power BI report. By using Task Manager and DAX Studio, you will be able to determine whether you should change the report layout, or if there is something in DAX formulas or in the data model that is responsible for the slow response.  At the end of this session, you will understand how to locate a performance bottleneck in a Power BI report, so you will focus your attention on the biggest issue.

When: 6/18/2018 9AM PST

Where: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-h3Pohtn1Y 

About the Presenter: 
51kVzGgqZAL. UX250  6/18 Webinar: My Power BI report is slow: what should I do? by Marco Russo
Marco Russo
Consultant and Mentor, SQLBI
Marco Russo is a Business Intelligence consultant and mentor. He has worked with Analysis Services since 1999, and written several books about Power Pivot, Power BI, Analysis Services Tabular, and the DAX language. With Alberto Ferrari, he writes the content published on www.sqlbi.com, mentoring companies’ users about the new Microsoft BI technologies. Marco is also a speaker at international conferences such as Microsoft Ignite, PASS Summit, PASS BA Conference, and SQLBits.

https://www.sqlbi.com/author/marco-russo/

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6/14 Webinar: Inside the Universal Audit App: See what PowerApps and Flow are capable of by Paul Culmsee

social default image 6/14 Webinar: Inside the Universal Audit App: See what PowerApps and Flow are capable of by Paul Culmsee

This week have another Australian join me to cover off one of my favorite topics….using PowerApps and Flow to deliver applications that traditionally require a development and devops team!

Inside the Universal Audit App: See what PowerApps and Flow are capable of by Paul Culmsee

This popular app in the PowerApps showcase has resulted in 3-5 requests a week for this app. As a result it has been deployed all around the world. In this session Paul will show how it was conceived, how we leveraged PowerApps and Flow to their full potential and what customization have been done for clients. A great accompaniment session for those looking to get started by showing a complete solution in use around the world…

When June 14th 2018 6pm PST (NOTE the time!)

Where: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Wn47bDOMEE

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ANNOUNCING! Our incredible speaker lineup for Microsoft Business Applications Summit

Get ready to connect, collaborate and pack in as much learning as possible at Microsoft Business Applications Summit, the event for Dynamics 365, Power BI, Excel, PowerApps and Flow users, July 22-24 in Seattle. We’ve just announced our featured speaker lineup – you won’t want to miss these experts, plus three amazing keynotes. Check it out!

Three inspiring keynotes

Malcolm Gladwell – Special guest closing keynote

New York Times bestselling author and like-minded analytics aficionado Malcolm brings new clout to analytics and intelligence through his captivating narratives about the data behind pop-culture. Come see one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People explore how data and analytics can drive large-scale change, and how business intelligence can help you positively disrupt your org.

James Phillips, CVP, Business Applications Group, Microsoft

James leads more than 5,000 team members worldwide, driving the new and next for Microsoft’s Business Applications Group development organization. His teams build and operate a complete set of business applications and developer services, including Dynamics 365, Microsoft Stream, the Business Applications Platform, and a robust range of Azure services. You won’t want to miss this keynote.

Alysa Taylor, CVP, Business Applications and Industry Marketing, Microsoft

Leading the product marketing teams responsible for Dynamics 365 and the Business Applications platform, Alysa has deep roots in Microsoft marketing – previous roles include leading the Cloud & Enterprise business marketing in the U.S., as well as GM for developer and platform evangelism marketing. Catch her keynote and to hear more about the products’ global reach, now and in the future.

Awesome featured speakers

Muhammad Alam, General Manager, Dynamics 365, Finance and Operations + Enterprise Group, Microsoft

As a GM in R&D, Muhammad is responsible for product strategy and product development of Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations, focused on streamlining, simplifying and improving the Dynamics customer experience.

Marko Perisic, General Manager Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, Microsoft

Marko and his team recently launched Dynamics 365 Business Central as the next generation of the Dynamics NAV product for the age of digital transformation – taking it from a great desktop, on-premise product, to a mobile and cloud-first world-class solution for SMBs.

Shelly Bakke, Principal Program Manager, Microsoft

A longtime Microsoft employee, Shelly knows the ins and outs of customer and partner needs – and currently leads Customer and Partner Experiences for Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations. Prior to joining the R&D, organization she provided support for customers and partners using the Dynamics solutions.

Will Thompson, Program Manager, Power BI, Microsoft

Will is a self-confessed data geek who helps translate customer and market requirements into new features as a Program Manager on the Power BI team.

Adi Regev, Principal Group Product Manager, Microsoft

Adi is committed to planning and developing large-scale products in the BI space that generate and visualize valuable business insights for organizations, via a platform for low-code/no-code big data ingestion and transformation.

Stephen Siciliano, Principal Group Program Manager, Microsoft

When his SaaS company MetricsHub was acquired by Microsoft in 2013, Stephen joined the Microsoft Azure team to develop monitoring, management and automation experiences for Azure customers.

Julie Strauss, Principal Program Manager, Microsoft

With 15+ years of experience ranging from hands-on technical engagements to roles in product marketing, leadership and program management, Julie drives the ISV product investments for the Citizen Application Platform, Microsoft’s low-code application development services for the technical business user.

Brian Jones, Program Manager for Excel, Microsoft

Brian is passionate about building services and tools that help teams make better decisions – including building intelligent ML-backed services that dramatically increase tracking and analysis capabilities in Excel across devices.

Shakun Grover, Program Manager for Visio, Microsoft

Shakun leads product strategy and development of Visio Visual for Power BI, bringing real-world visualizations to otherwise limited dashboards, and making diagrams like process flows and floorplans available on all devices.

It doesn’t get much better than this lineup of business applications experts! Also, be sure to check out our full session catalog. You can explore 140+ sessions, workshops, breakouts and networking opportunities the event has to offer, and start outlining your best conference experience.

We hope to see you there!

7e94c29c 499f 4834 bdbd f3394ce9095b ANNOUNCING! Our incredible speaker lineup for Microsoft Business Applications Summit

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Convenience Filters In SSAS Tabular Models

Think back to the year 2012 when Microsoft introduced us to SQL Server Analysis Services Tabular models. It was new and exciting. The Excel gurus who had been using PowerPivot since 2010 were sneering at us like we were crazy. We could now build a model, publish it to SSAS and have a secure, centralized and highly optimized server solution for the Enterprise that didn’t require us to learn that nasty language called MDX (multidimensional expressions). Although DAX was still new, it made some sense to most Excel users and was much more usable by us “normal” people.

Before Power BI Desktop was available, we would point our Excel reports to this new and exciting SSAS Tabular option, and we had a high-performance ad hoc query capability. We built dashboards in Excel and published them to SharePoint, and we were in a happy place.

Then a realization set in! Every month we had to check the report out of SharePoint, update the date filters to the current month and check it back in. For those rolling 12-month reports, we had to check it out, add the new month and remove the old month, so on and so forth. Soon this got old, and we weren’t quite as happy as we once were.

Excel Pivot Table with Convenience Filter Convenience Filters In SSAS Tabular Models

Excel Pivot Table with Convenience Filter

In 2013, I set out to fix this annoying issue and came up with something I call “convenience filters.” Let me define for you what I mean by convenience filters. Most of our tabular models should have a date table. In this date table, we typically have a date column and then several other ways to look at that date – Year, Quarter Name and Month Name are just a few examples. My solution was to add a few more columns to this date table that would hold the values “TRUE” or “FALSE” so that in our Excel report we could add one of these columns in the filter area and set it to “TRUE” and never worry about it again.

For example, a new column called Current Month. For each row in our date table, the date would be evaluated against the current date, and if it was in the current month, then this value was set to TRUE. If it wasn’t in the current month, it would be set to FALSE. Now, instead of going thru the painful process mentioned earlier, just add Current Month filter to our report and set it to TRUE. Walla! Problem solved, and we are happy again.

ExcelPivotTableFilters Convenience Filters In SSAS Tabular Models

Excel Pivot Table Filters

A word of praise to the Power BI team. They realized this as a problem and recently added something called relative date filtering. With relative date filtering, we can add a date to the filter area of a page and choose relative date filtering.

PBIRelativeDateFiltering thumb Convenience Filters In SSAS Tabular Models

With this, we can do some beautiful things such as Show items when the value “is in this” and pick the day, week, month or year. We can also do things like Show items when the value “is in the last” 12 months so that we have a rolling 12 months. This would solve the problem if you were using Power BI Desktop for reporting. But what if you are still using Excel to hit your SSAS Tabular models or, God forbid, some other tools out there like Tableau or Cognos.

Building “convenience filters” into your SSAS Tabular models is a way of centralizing this technique so that they can be used by any reporting tool that can access SSAS Tabular models (and many can).

The technique will vary depending on where and how you built your date table. In some cases, your date table may be physical tables in your database or at least views in your database. In other cases, they may be generated with DAX in your model. In either case, the technique is the same; just the implementation is slightly different.

Date table in SQL Server

For those of you who want to materialize these columns in a physical date table or view in your SQL Server database, you can add T-SQL code like the examples below.  In these examples, PK_Date is the date column in our date table.

Current Month – CASE WHEN YEAR([PK_Date]) = Year(getdate()) And Month(PK_Date) = Month(getdate()) then ‘TRUE’ else ‘False’ end as Current_Month

Current Year – CASE WHEN YEAR([Date]) = Year(getdate()) THEN “TRUE” ELSE “FALSE” END as Curent_Year

Rolling Three Months – CASE  WHEN DATEDIFF(month, PK_Date,getdate()) BETWEEN 0 AND 2 THEN ‘TRUE’ ELSE ‘FALSE’ END AS RollingThreeMonths,

Rolling Twelve Months – CASE  WHEN DATEDIFF(month, PK_Date,getdate()) BETWEEN 0 AND 11 THEN ‘TRUE’ ELSE ‘FALSE’ END AS RollingTwelveMonths

User DAX to create convenience filters

For those of you who wish to use DAX and create calculated columns in your model then the following examples should get you started.

CurrentMonth =
IF (
    YEAR ( Dates[PK_Date] ) = YEAR ( NOW () )
&& MONTH ( Dates[PK_Date] ) = MONTH ( TODAY () ),
    “TRUE”,
    “FALSE”
)

CurrentYear =
IF ( YEAR ( Dates[PK_Date] ) = YEAR ( NOW () )“TRUE “” FALSE” )

Rolling 12 Months =
IF (
Dates[PK_Date] > EDATE ( TODAY ()-12 )
&& ( Dates[PK_Date] <= EDATE ( TODAY ()0 ) ),
    “TRUE”,
    “FALSE”
)

Organization is key

Luckily, I don’t organize models the way I organize my office.  With SSAS Tabular, you can use the Display Folder property of a column to group your convenience filters into a folder so your date table will be organized and clear to your user’s.

SSASTabularDisplayFolder Convenience Filters In SSAS Tabular Models

SSAS Tabular Display Folder

There are many other very useful convenience filters that you can implement. Get creative based on your business needs. Below are just a few ideas to get your juices flowing…

Last Month

Last Year

Last Loaded Month

Last Month of Previous Year

Next Year

Weekday

Weekend

If you need help building enterprise-wide SSAS Tabular models, let us know, and we can help.

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Power BI Desktop June Feature Summary

This month our reporting features focus on accessibility and more flexibility when formatting your charts. With filtering and sorting options, our data view is now more powerful. Several connectors also get major updates this month, including a new driver for our SAP Business Warehouse connector that comes with numerous significant improvements.

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Here’s the complete list of June updates:

Reporting

Custom visuals

Modeling

Data connectivity

Other

For a summary of the major updates, you can watch the following video:

Before jumping into the details, don’t forget to register for the Microsoft Business Applications Summit! Don’t miss the event to connect, collaborate, and pack in as much Power BI learning as possible, July 22-24 in Seattle.

REGISTER NOW

88735efc 4c16 4585 9ddb dc8d38b189d4 Power BI Desktop June Feature Summary

There are going to be many great Power BI sessions and tons of chances to interact directly with the Power BI team.

If you're using the high contrast mode Windows settings, your Power BI reports will now respect the color palette you're using. When using Power BI Desktop, we'll automatically detect which high contrast theme you're using and apply those colors across your report, similar to the experience you're used to with other Microsoft products, such as Excel.

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In the Power BI service, we'll also try to detect which theme you're using and automatically apply it to your report, but depending on what browser you are using, we may not be able to. If you want to change the theme manually, you can select a high contrast theme under the View dropdown.

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Note that if you're using high contrast themes on Power BI Desktop, you’ll still see some areas of the product that aren't using your theme’s colors. We’ll be adding more support for high contrast, along with other accessibility improvements, throughout the rest of this year.

Watch the following video to learn more about high contrast reports:

Our first formatting update for the month is the ability to control the inner radius of your donut chart. This lets you make the donut slimmer or thicker to get the style you want. You’ll find this option under the Shapes card in the formatting pane.

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This month we're also updating our pie and donut charts to support moving your detail labels inside. You can pick between forcing the labels to always be outside or inside or to prefer one position over the other.

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If you choose to move your labels inside the pie or donut chart, you can also choose whether the text can overflow past the edge of the shape and if the labels have a background or not.

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Watch the following video to learn more about the pie and donut improvements:

Our last formatting improvement this month is an update to data labels in combo charts. Now you can customize individual series. In the Data labels card of the formatting pane, you can turn the Customize series option on to format an individual measure’s formatting options, such as color, display units, and the number of decimal points.

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Watch the following video to learn more about the combo chart label update:

We've also extended the total length of phone reports this month. If you create custom layouts for your reports to be used in our mobile apps, you'll see that the grid is twice as long as before, jumping from 20 rows to 40.

Watch the following video to learn more about phone reports:

The Organization Chart custom visual lets you create a tree view of your data. You can give each node a name, an image, and optionally a link to go to when clicked. The tree is created by giving each node an id and its parent’s id, and the visual will use this to create the tree layout. There are several formatting options as well, such as node colors, orientation, and label formatting.

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Download this custom visual on AppSource.

Watch the following video to see the Organization Chart custom visual in action:

Last month, we had the China Color Map custom visual, and this month we have the China Heat Map visual as a follow up. If you are using geographical data for China, you might want to try out the Chinese Heat map custom visual. This map has several features:

  • Offline maps
  • One-click switching between a national China map and provincial maps
  • Rich visual formatting
  • Arbitrarily set the latitude and longitude of the area you want to display
  • Custom gradient range fill

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Check out this custom visual on AppSource.

Watch the following video to see the China Heat Map custom visual in action:

We are very excited to announce the addition of filtering and sorting in the data view. For every column in your model, you can now see the sort direction if it is applied on that column and either filter individual values out or using advanced filtering options for that column type.

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Watch the following video to see data view filtering and sorting in action:

We are vastly increasing the number of specific locales we support for formatting when viewing your reports in the Power BI service. With this update we are adding support for a total of 670 locales. For example, you’ll now see support for Mexico’s variant of Spanish along with many other Spanish variants. In Desktop, we detect and use the "date, time, and number formatting" format set for the operating system. IE and Edge will pass this same OS locale through, but other browsers often have their own, separate, language and region settings.

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Make sure to use the default data format for your field if you want the the system locale settings to flow through. You can tell you are using system locale formatting by the * next to the format.

New driver and improved performance

Starting with this month’s release, the SAP BW connector supports a new implementation option labeled 2.0. Selecting implementation “2.0” in the SAP BW connector dialog while creating a new connection will switch from using the SapClient driver to a new SAP BW driver developed by Microsoft.

These are significant connector improvements that come with the new implementation:

  • Improved performance
  • Ability to retrieve several million rows of data, and fine tuning through the batch size parameter
  • Ability to switch execution modes
  • Support for compressed mode, which is especially beneficial for high-latency connections or large datasets
  • Improved detection of Date variables
  • [Experimental] Expose Date (ABAP type DATS) and Time (ABAP type TIMS) dimensions as dates and times respectively, instead of text values.
  • Better exception handling, so errors that occur in SAP BAPI calls are now surfaced.
  • Column folding in BasXml and BasXmlGzip modes. For example, if the generated MDX query retrieves 40 columns but the current selection only needs 10, this request will be passed onto the server to retrieve a smaller dataset.

Implementation 2.0 has a new pre-requisite, the SAP .NET Connector 3.0. Download of the connector is available from SAP’s website. Access to this download requires a valid SAP S-user. You are encouraged to contact your SAP Basis team to get this component.

The connector comes in 32-bit and 64-bit versions, and you must choose the version that matches your Power BI installation. At the time of this writing, the website lists two versions (for .NET 4.0 framework):

  • SAP Connector for Microsoft .NET 3.0.20.0 for Windows 32bit (x86) as zip file (6.896 KB), January 16, 2018
  • SAP Connector for Microsoft .NET 3.0.20.0 for Windows 64bit (x64) as zip file (7.180 KB), January 16, 2018

While installing, in the “Optional setup steps” window, make sure to select the “Install assemblies to GAC” option:

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After installing the required component, you must create a new connection to use the new implementation.

  1. From the Get Data dialog, select either SAP Business Warehouse Application Server or SAP Business Warehouse Message Server.
  2. You will be presented with the new connection dialog, that allows selection of the Implementation. Selecting Implementation 2.0 will enable the Execution mode, Batch size and Enable characteristic structures options.
    sapbw Power BI Desktop June Feature Summary
  3. Upon clicking OK, you will be taken to the Navigator dialog, from which the experience is the same as before.

You can learn more about this new implementation of the SAP BW connector by reading the following article: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-bi/desktop-sap-bw-connector

Improved support for hierarchy variables

We have made improvements to the hierarchy variables input UX in the Navigator dialog and Edit Variables screen, so that when modifying selection for a hierarchy node variable (i.e. US State), dependent variable values fields (i.e. City) are updated to only contain values defined within the selected hierarchy node.

We’re enhancing the Spark connector this month by adding support for Windows authentication. Upon specifying a server to connect to, you can now provide Windows authentication credentials in addition to the previous Basic (username/password) option.

Windows authentication support allows you to specify “current” or “alternate” user credentials. Additionally, you can specify the Realm, Host Fully-Qualified Domain Name and Service Name parameters, which are required in order to establish the connection to Spark clusters.

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This month we’ve made significant improvements to our OData connector in order to provide richer support for OData V4.

  • Improved support for complex types: The new experience for complex-typed properties is now much like that for navigation properties. Complex singleton properties can now themselves contain navigation properties, and complex collections are now imported as nested tables.

  • Open type navigation columns: While the existing OData connector has long supported importing extra data properties from an OData feed as open type columns, the enhanced connector extends this to also importing extra navigation properties, whether dynamic or from a derived type. In many cases we will still be able to fold even after following these navigation properties.

  • Improved support for custom URLs: Users who prefer to specify OData query options manually will find that the enhanced connector adjusts the type of the imported table according to the response.

  • Significant performance improvements: Loading feeds with many navigation properties has been massively sped up.

  • Greater resiliency: If for any reason a folded query fails, the enhanced connector will retry with less folding. This allows more queries to succeed without completely giving up on the improved performance from folding.

The ODBC connector has been improved this month in a couple of ways:

Folding support for Top Rows

With this month’s release, “keep top rows” operations will be pushed down to the ODBC driver, which may improve performance of the connector if the driver and underlying data source support the “top” operator.

Ability to filter navigation by DSN catalog

If the DSN or connection string specified in the ODBC connector dialog includes a DSN catalog, Power Query will narrow down the list of tables exposed in the Navigator dialog accordingly.

Power BI is currently available in three separate national clouds, which offer the same levels of security, privacy, compliance and transparency as the global version of Power BI, combined with a unique model for local regulations on service delivery, data residency, access, and control. If your account happens to be provisioned in more than one cloud, you can now choose the cloud you want to use when signing into Power BI Desktop.

That’s all for this month! We hope that you enjoy these updates and continue sending us your feedback. Please don’t forget to vote for other features that you’d like to see in the Power BI Desktop. You can also download the .pbix file I used, and if you’re looking for a similar design for your reports, I was using the Sunset layout from PowerBI.Tips.

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Finally, remember to register for the Microsoft Business Applications Summit! Don’t miss the event to connect, collaborate, and pack in as much Power BI learning as possible, July 22-24 in Seattle.

REGISTER NOW

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I’m excited to meet many of you there!

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Power BI Service and Mobile May Feature Summary

We’re almost halfway through the year and what a great start it’s been to 2018! The Power BI team has worked in full force over the last few months to deliver the features that you’ve identified to be critical for your organization; and the month May was no exception. Here’s a rundown of what we released:

Last month, we announced the availability of dashboard theming in the Power BI Service. With this feature, authors now customize the look and feel their dashboards to match their corporate branding or just give them a little more personality! By default, all dashboards have three built-in themes (Light, Dark, Color-blind friendly) and a Custom option to quickly toggle between. For those accustomed to report theming in Desktop, there is also an option to leverage the same JSON theme file structure to style all the chart colors within a dashboard. Lastly, to ensure consumers have a consistent experience across platforms, we have now added support to render themed dashboards on mobile! Learn more

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We have added another super power to Power BI Premium with the support for incremental refresh (preview)! That’s right, organizations now have more control over the refresh policy of their large datasets and can determine how data is incrementally refreshed in the Power BI Service. With this feature, refreshes are faster, more efficient and more reliable because only the data that has changed gets refreshed. Learn more on how to enable this for you reports.

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We have now made it easier for users to get access to the Apps they need by allowing them to request access to an App. Often, users share links to each other about interesting Apps or deep links to reports or dashboards contained within Apps. Until now users would receive a message saying the content is not available. However, they are now prompted to request access to the App.

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When users accept and press OK, they are given the option to send the request and provide a justification for it. The request is sent via email to the Office 365 Group for the App workspace.

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The access requests can be viewed on the Access page of the App. Pressing Grant access in the email takes you directly there. You can use the new Pending requests lists to easily Approve or Delete the pending requests. Once you Approve requests, the users immediately get access to the App, so they can follow the App link to view the App contents. However, the app is not automatically installed for the user(s) until you press the Update app button.

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Finding Apps in Power BI just got a whole lot easier easier! We have now brought in all the App discovery experiences directly into the Get Data screen. This enables users to quickly find and install organizational and service Apps through the workflow they’re accustomed to use to discover data they have access to in Power BI.

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That said, users can still choose to use the organizational and service content packs capabilities. The buttons moved to the bottom of the page as shown in the image above. However, we recommend Apps to be your go-to when distributing content to large audiences in Power BI instead of organizational content packs or read-only workspaces. Learn more about apps.

We also made it easier for authors to enable or disable the persistent filters for reports in the Service. You no longer need to republish from Desktop – instead you can quickly control the feature in the report Settings pane. The pane can be found under the quick actions of your report content list in your workspace.

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We have seen increasing usage of our Azure B2B external user sharing features that help you collaborate securely across organizations. However, the invite acceptance workflow has been complicated because the user needs first to accept the Azure B2B invite, and then click the link to the Power BI content in a separate email.

Moving forward, we have simplified the workflow for reports so that invited external users get a single email to the report in Power BI. When they click the link, they accept the invite and can immediately access the content. It’s a simple way we’re trying to smooth out the wrinkles to make it easier to collaborate across organizations.

We also released an updated version of Power BI On-premises data gateway for the month of May. The latest version (14.16.6697.1) includes a limited preview of Impala SSO support using Kerberos, improved support for Kerberos SSO for SAP HANA, and an updated mashup engine. Try it out for yourself by installing the new gateway or learn more about the new capabilities here.

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You asked, we delivered! We are excited to announce that drill through is now supported on all Power BI mobile apps. While you can navigate one level down in hierarchy on a selected data point with the existing drill down feature, drill through allows you to navigate another report page that would have more insights on that selected data point. Here’s how it would work:

When a drill through is defined in your report (visit here to learn how to add drill through to your report), tapping on a data point will bring up the drill through option in the tooltip.

Tip: You might have multiple drill through options, each taking you to a different page. In that case you will need to choose which one you want to drill through.

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Lastly, we added a new capability in iOS devices for IT administrators to remotely configure employees’ apps on their mobile phone with Report Server details using their preferred MDM tool such as Intune. Once this is done, all users have to do is to accept the configuration and sign in with their password to complete the connection to the server.

IT administrator can create “app configuration policy” as described in this article, and choose the set of users the policy will apply on. Once the configuration is published, Power BI Mobile app will prompt the users with a sign-in message that will configure the policy on their device.

The phone optimized report view, when authored in Power BI Desktop and published to the Service, gives mobile users a tailored portrait view experience on their mobile devices. The feedback that we go from many authors is that the length of the phone report canvas is not enough. We heard you loud and clear and that why we have doubled it! You now have more flexibility to accommodate more visuals in each page of a report on you phone.

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Drill Through and Report Server configuration with MDM/EMM tools

Recently Power BI Mobile & Devices team have released some new cool features. These features address some of the most requested items we got from you – we hear you!

Drill Through

A lot of you asked and voted for adding drill through to mobile. Now you got it!

While you can navigate one level down in the hierarchy on a selected data point with drill down, drill through allows you to navigate to another report page, that potentially has more focused data on your selected data point.

In this new release of Power BI Mobile apps, we support drill through for all platforms!

When a drill through is defined in your report (visit here to learn how to add drill through to your report), tapping on a data point, you will see the drill through option in the tooltip overlay.

You might have multiple drill through options, each taking you to a different page. In that case you will need to choose which one you want to drill through.

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We also changed our Back-button behavior, so you can return back to the original report page you navigated from, just by using the back button on the top of your screen.

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(if you want to navigate up in your page navigation tree and exit the report back to the app/workspace, you can still use the breadcrumbs)

Report Server remote configuration

With this new capability, IT administrator can remotely configure employees’ Power BI Mobile app. IT admins can configure Report Server details the app will connect to, and save the end user from the need to know and enter the server details.

The configuration is done using the organizational MDM/EMM tool (for example: Intune). Once this is done, all the user has to do, is to accept the configuration and provide a password to complete the connection to the server.

IT administrator can create “app configuration policy” as described in this article, and choose the set of users/devices the policy will apply to. Once the configuration is published, Power BI Mobile app users will get the following message when launching the app:

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Now, the sign in process will only require the user to provide password. All other information will be provided from the policy configured.

Note: this feature is currently released for iOS devices only.

Phone reports canvas length

As you know, you can create phone optimized report in Power BI Desktop. And when you publish that report to the service, and access it from your mobile app, you get a tailored portrait view, optimized for using in mobile devices.

The feedback that we got from you, is that this is a great feature, but that the length of the report canvas is not enough. So, we doubled it, and now phone reports can host more visuals in each page.

The increased phone report canvas is be available in Power BI Desktop (June release).

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