Tag Archives: Power

Incremental refresh in Power BI Premium

social default image Incremental refresh in Power BI Premium

Power BI Premium was announced generally available less than a year ago as the platform of choice for enterprises deploying high-performance, scalable BI systems in the cloud. In the May release of Power BI Desktop, we announced the next step in our vision: Power BI Premium supports incremental refresh (preview)! Incremental refresh enables large datasets in the Power BI Premium service with the following benefits.

  • Refreshes are faster. Only data that has changed needs to be refreshed. For example, refresh only the last 5 days of a 10-year dataset.
  • Refreshes are more reliable. For example, it is not necessary to maintain long-running connections to volatile source systems.
  • Resource consumption is reduced. Less data to refresh reduces consumption of memory and other resources.

Please see this article to learn how to use incremental refresh.

In the following video, Adam Saxton from the Power BI CAT Team and Christian Wade from the Power BI Premium product team discuss the significance of incremental refresh.


Incremental refresh has traditionally been in the realm of Azure Analysis Services for high-end, scalable BI models. Whilst one of Analysis Services’ greatest strengths, it’s a feature that can require considerable time and effort to set up. With Power BI Premium, incremental refresh is simplified to essentially a dialog box with a few checkboxes and dropdowns!

Related items coming soon

Shared capacity support

Based on customer feedback, we plan to make incremental refresh available on shared-capacity (non Premium) workspaces.

Update metadata

Once the dataset is published and refreshed, if a change needs to be made to the model or reports, it needs to be republished from Power BI Desktop to the service. The current publish workflow detects when there is already a dataset with the same name and prompts if it should be replaced. Replacing a dataset in this way replaces the data within it. This could mean having to reload historical data. We plan to provide the ability to update and retain the data on publish. Incremental refresh will stay in public preview until this feature is released.

Increased dataset size

We plan to remove the 10 GB dataset-size limit in the Power BI Premium service. This will allow datasets utilizing incremental refresh to be limited only by the capacity size.

Override effective date

We plan to allow setting the current date for a refresh operation. This will be useful to use with datasets like Adventure Works that don’t have data up to the current date, and for testing purposes.

XMLA Endpoints

XMLA Endpoints will enable connectivity, manageability and programmability in Power BI Premium comparative to that of Azure Analysis Services. For example, you will be able to use SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) to connect to datasets with incremental-refresh policies and generate scripts to refresh specific historical periods (partitions).

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Microsoft Power BI Blog | Microsoft Power BI

Help Improve Power BI

We love hearing feedback from the Power BI community and today we have another quarterly survey to keep improving Power BI with your feedback. In the past, our survey has focused on Power BI Desktop, but this quarter we are expanding it to cover the Power BI service as well. This survey helps us to understand what we're doing well, and what we can change to make your experience even better. This is a great opportunity to provide feedback directly to the product team and influence our development directly. In addition, if you take the survey by 5 p.m. PST on May 30th, you will be entered for a chance to win a $ 50 giftcard.

ddaae357 74d6 4267 8f42 f38b53eca497 Help Improve Power BI

Note about survey prizes:
We will randomly select three survey respondents to each win a $ 50 gift card. Winners will be notified by June 1st, 2018 and a list of winners may be requested by emailing
ucsurvey@microsoft.com after this date. For our sweepstakes rules, please refer to http://www.microsoft.com/usability/uxcsweeps.htm. To be eligible for our sweepstakes, you must complete the survey. You must also be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident with a valid Social Security Number. Only one entry into the sweepstakes will be eligible per person. In accordance with IRS regulations we are required to collect 1099 information (your address and social security number) if the suggested retail value of gratuity items that you select exceeds $ 599 in a given calendar year. We will not ask you to provide any tax information in this survey, but will contact you before shipping your gratuity item, if necessary. Questions regarding gratuity issues may be directed to ucsurvey@microsoft.com.

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AI Weekly: Computing power is shaping the future of AI

This week, OpenAI published an analysis that documents an explosion in compute power over the past six years, which is driving advances in artificial intelligence. Compute power used in the largest AI training runs, the piece found, has doubled every 3.5 months since 2012.

The breakdown of compute power necessary to create well-known AI systems like ResNets and AlphaGo Zero provides some of the clearest metrics available to demonstrate why AI is growing faster and proliferating to all corners of society. Together with big data and improvements to algorithms, this boom in compute is carving paths to the future for both businesses and the rest of the world.

This week, the international community met in Geneva for the AI for Good Global Summit to discuss how AI can be used to make progress toward the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals like zero hunger, no poverty, and good health.

We also heard this week about AI being used to decide how to loan money to people with no credit or banking history, and that a dozen Google employees resigned due to the company’s involvement in a Department of Defense project to improve drone video analysis.

OpenAI’s analysis reaches a fairly obvious but salient conclusion sure to define the years ahead: “Improvements in compute have been a key component of AI progress, so as long as this trend continues, it’s worth preparing for the implications of systems far outside today’s capabilities.”

In other words: Whether you want to call AI the new oil, the new electricity, or the spark that ignited an industrial revolution, expect more, a lot more from all of the aforementioned.

Let’s just hope Henry Kissinger’s vision of AI conquering humanity like Spanish conquistadors conquered the Incas comes true.

For AI coverage, send news tips to Kyle Wiggers and Khari Johnson, and guest post submissions to Cosette Jarrett — and be sure to bookmark our AI Channel.

Thanks for reading,

Khari Johnson
AI Staff Writer

P.S. Please enjoy this Drive.ai video of an autonomous vehicle with no driver traversing the roads of Frisco, Texas. See this story for more info.

From VB

Baidu COO Qi Lu steps down, AI chief now reports directly to CEO

Baidu today announced that COO Qi Lu will step down in July for personal and family reasons. Lu had been brought aboard to help the Chinese search giant become more centrally focused on AI services. Since he joined Baidu, the company has launched a smart speaker, its Duer virtual assistant, and a $ 1.5 billion fund to […]

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 AI Weekly: Computing power is shaping the future of AI

How Autodesk’s assistant Ava attempts to avoid uncanny valley

As Google’s Duplex made clear a week ago, the uncanny valley can have consequences. That was true before AI, and it’s a notion tested on a regular basis now that intelligent machines have entered the mix. In the same week that Duplex made its world premiere, Autodesk began to roll out its avatar and AI-powered […]

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 AI Weekly: Computing power is shaping the future of AI

Google’s standalone AR headset is reportedly ‘not unlike’ Microsoft’s HoloLens

Google is still developing a standalone augmented reality headset that can overlay digital objects on the real world, according to a report in WinFuture. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard rumors of Google developing a standalone headset. In February 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Mountain View firm was prototyping a design with custom head-tracking […]

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Amazon’s Alexa can now learn your voice automatically

Amazon today announced that AI assistant Alexa will now automatically begin work to recognize a user’s voice when they say “Alexa, play music.” Automatic voice identification that occurs when saying this phrase will serve up personalized selections from Amazon Music. Automated voice ID can be disabled using the Settings section of the Alexa app. Setting up an […]

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Here are the ways AI is helping to improve accessibility

AI is improving the lives of people with disabilities. Here are some of the ways it’s making a difference.

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 AI Weekly: Computing power is shaping the future of AI

SRI International joins DARPA program to teach AI ‘memory’ recall

SRI International, creator of Apple’s Siri, has joined the Lifelong-Learning Machines research program from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the innovation arm of the U.S. Department of Defense. SRI plans to train AI to play Starcraft and mimic memory recall in dreams. The goal is to explore how AI systems can be trained to […]

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 AI Weekly: Computing power is shaping the future of AI

Oracle acquires machine learning platform Datascience.com

Oracle has acquired Datascience.com, a platform for data science and machine learning analysis and workflow management, for an undisclosed amount.

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Beyond VB

Uh, did Google fake its big AI demo?

The tech press has questions, and Google isn’t providing any answers. (via Vanity Fair)

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Finland offers free online artificial intelligence course to anyone, anywhere

Helsinki University hopes that one percent of the Finnish population – some 54,000 people – will take the online course this year. So far 24,000 have signed up. (via Yle Uutiset)

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Aided by Palantir, the LAPD uses predictive policing to monitor specific people and neighborhoods

A new report details the Los Angeles Police Department’s use of algorithms to identify “hot spots” and “chronic offenders” and target them for surveillance. (via The Intercept)

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Artificial intelligence may change the way companies issue debt

Companies that want to borrow money through capital markets have conventionally had only one option: hiring an investment bank. In exchange for a hefty fee, these intermediaries shepherd their clients through the long process of selling debt, producing reams of documentation and rounding up willing buyers. (via The Economist)

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Big Data – VentureBeat

5/17 Webinar: A look at the Common Data Service for Apps, Common Data Service for Analytics and Power BI Insights Apps

On March 21st the Business Applications Group announced a couple of new technologies: Common Data Service for Apps, Common Data Service for Analytics and Power BI Insights Apps.

In this demo heavy webinar Microsoft program managers, Charles Sterling and Matthew Roche, will take a tour of the Common Data Service for Apps, Common Data Service for Analytics and Power BI Insights Apps.  Demos to include creating PowerApps Canvas based application that put data into the Common Data Service, a Model Based PowerApps application that is built on top of the Common Data Service, creating a Common Data Service Analytics Data Pool with online Power Query, creating reports with Power BI Desktop against a Common Data Service Analytics Data Pool and finally showing how to get instant value from Common Data Service Analytics using Power BI Insight Apps.

When:  5/17/2018 10AM PST

Where: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lYcHgDllxE 

 5/17 Webinar: A look at the Common Data Service for Apps, Common Data Service for Analytics and Power BI Insights Apps

Presented by Mathew Roche and Charles Sterling

Matthew Roche is an experienced program manager, data architect, software developer, trainer and mentor with over two decades of experience in the Microsoft data platform and developer ecosystem. His current role as Senior Program Manager on the Microsoft Cloud & Enterprise team allows him to extend the features and influence the direction of Microsoft Business Intelligence, Data Governance, and Information Management products and services. 

Before joining Microsoft in 2008, Matthew was a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for SQL Server. Matthew holds a wide range of professional certifications including Microsoft Certified Trainer, Microsoft Certified Database Administrator, Microsoft Certified Solution Developer, Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist, Microsoft Certified Professional Developer, Microsoft Certified IT Professional and Oracle Certified Professional.

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Microsoft Power BI Blog | Microsoft Power BI

Time your Power Queries – #powerbi #powerquery

Sometimes your power queries can get quite heavy and you might need to optimize the steps in your query but how can you calculate the time it takes for your query to load.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have Power Query to do it for you

 Time your Power Queries – #powerbi #powerquery

Use Power Query to time Power Query

 Time your Power Queries – #powerbi #powerquery

Well – the Query dependencies window gave me the idea – what if I had a query with the start time of the refresh and then made the sales table dependent on that and then a duration table that where dependent on the sales table

Steps needed

First a query that calculates when the refresh is started


Source = DateTime.LocalNow()



This will use the DateTime.LocalNow() to set the start time

 Time your Power Queries – #powerbi #powerquery

Now in this example I am loading a Excel file on my local harddrive on 22,3 mb with appx. 365.000 rows.

 Time your Power Queries – #powerbi #powerquery

After a navigation step and a promoted header step – I add a Custom Column where I refer to the Query “Start”

 Time your Power Queries – #powerbi #powerquery

This will add the start date to all rows in a separate column and will make the sales table dependent on the Query “Start”.

Next, we need to calculate the duration in a query that is dependent on the “Sales” table.

Step 1

 Time your Power Queries – #powerbi #powerquery

Create a calculation of Time now.

Step 2

 Time your Power Queries – #powerbi #powerquery

Convert it into a table

Step 3

To make it dependent on Sales I add a calculated column that retrieves the MIN value of the values “Start” in the table “Sales”

 Time your Power Queries – #powerbi #powerquery

Step 4

Rename the columns

Step 5

 Time your Power Queries – #powerbi #powerquery

Now we can calculate the duration in seconds by using the function Duration.Seconds() and subtracting [End] and [Start]

Step 6

And finally convert it to a decimal value

 Time your Power Queries – #powerbi #powerquery

The full query is now


Source = DateTime.LocalNow(),

#”Converted to Table” = #table(1, {{Source}}),

#”Added Custom1″ = Table.AddColumn(#”Converted to Table”, “Custom.1”, each List.Min(Sales[Start])),

#”Renamed Columns” = Table.RenameColumns(#”Added Custom1″,{{“Column1”, “End”}, {“Custom.1”, “Start”}}),

#”Added Custom2″ = Table.AddColumn(#”Renamed Columns”, “Query Duration”, each Duration.Seconds([End]-[Start])),

#”Changed Type” = Table.TransformColumnTypes(#”Added Custom2″,{{“Query Duration”, type number}})


#”Changed Type”

Then I disable the load of Sales table in order not to have Power Query read the file several times – (OBS be careful if you already have created measures on the table as the disable of load will remove these measures !!!!)

 Time your Power Queries – #powerbi #powerquery

To time the refresh I click the Refresh button

 Time your Power Queries – #powerbi #powerquery

And the card I have inserted in my report will show the number of seconds the query took.

Now let’s see what a conditional column cost

So, in the sales Query I add a conditional column that does evaluation on every row using the contains operator

 Time your Power Queries – #powerbi #powerquery

And click refresh again.

 Time your Power Queries – #powerbi #powerquery

Depending on your scenario you properly run the refresh several times in order to see the effect on your query.


Please let me know if you have comments or have solved how to time your power queries in another way.

Happy querying

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Erik Svensen – Blog about Power BI, Power Apps, Power Query

Power BI Workspaces, Apps, and Ensuring Smooth Updates to Reports

2 Space Banner Idearv3 1024x580 Power BI Workspaces, Apps, and Ensuring Smooth Updates to Reports

Today, we’ll look at Power BI workspaces, apps, and how to keep changes from mucking up reports. In the software development lifecycle, a distinct space to test new reports ensures consistent results. Moreover, it’s part of good governance. This post builds on: How to Get Power BI Service to Work for You. Thanks to Krissy and Nar for prodding me to go further! Around here, we don’t require pre-publication peer review.  But we do learn from each other.

Note: This article requires the use of Power BI Pro, Office 365, and SharePoint Online. It’s ok if SharePoint on premises is your main intranet.

Two Issues with Power BI Workspaces and Apps

First, reports in Power BI workspaces and apps share a single dataset. And this data is updated whenever the workspace is updated. Second, workspaces and their apps have the same access. So, creators can publish reports without review.

1. The Power BI workspace and app share the same dataset.

When the publishing changes to the workspace, the data for the app changes too— even without updating the app. As a result, changes to the data model risk breaking the report. Also, you need to refresh the data before uploading or right after, so that stale data doesn’t replace fresh data.

Shared data in Power BI Service is by design, even if it has unplanned results. It reflects certain assumptions about self-service BI that doesn’t align with the real world. In this ideal, creating a report means applying visualizations to a stable dataset from a data warehouse. Even if you have a data warehouse, you still must refresh the report at the time of updating to avoid stale data. So, I added an item at ideas.powerbi.com to make updates upon changing a report.

2. A second issue is the partial separation of creating from testing.

As designed, the shared dataset does not deliver this separation.  It’s too easy to make changes. If there are few creators and report consumers, this can work. As more people use Power BI, stable processes are a must. See Rob’s Power BI Adoption Curve.

A Two-Space Solution for Power BI Workspaces and Apps

To get the benefits of a testing space, you need a second workspace. If the production space is Contoso Reports, the second space would be Contoso Reports-BETA. Report creators need editing rights on this workspace.  While the workspace is for development, the app of the beta space is for testing. Once changes are ready, publish the app to a group of users for testing.

How to move reports from development to production?

  1. In SharePoint Online, copy the pbix file from BETA to production team sites.
    The report in the Power BI workspace updates automatically if you sourced it using Get Data from the service.
  2. Refresh the report in the service.
  3. When refresh is complete, update the app to republish.
    In this process, there are two manual steps: copying the file and republishing the app. Report creators don’t need access to the production team site or workspace.

What did I miss? 

Dashboards. No way yet to move dashboards between workspaces. In fact, let’s add some steps.

Create a dashboard in the beta workspace, documenting the fields used and any slicers. When updating the report in the beta workspace, testers need to review the dashboard. If the dashboard breaks during development, the creator needs to change the dashboard and keep a list of changes.

After the report is in the production workspace, the publisher needs to pin similar tiles to the production dashboard (and fix any broken tiles before republishing the app).

Let’s look at the process.

Power BI Workspaces Apps Power BI Workspaces, Apps, and Ensuring Smooth Updates to Reports

Better living through syncing.

This chart shows syncing. First, there’s syncing between the PC and the SharePoint Online Team Site. Then, there’s syncing from the team site to the Power BI workspace. This syncing is done with Get Data from the service. Details on setting this up are in the post: How to Get Power BI Service to Work for You. However, moving files from beta to production is manual. And, publishing from Power BI workspaces to apps is also manual. Thus, these steps ensure stable results for report readers.

Wait, is this agile BI? 

Agile is all about flexibility: ways to respond to changes and support individuals and their interactions. So, in my chart, I show report creator and publisher. In a small company, one person may wear both hats. Let me put on my publisher hat to push out this report. In some places, it could be an admin from the business side. In other groups, it could be a Power BI team leader. Similarly, report creators could be business users and/or full-time Power BI developers. Further, testing would mean business users and developers working together to lay out acceptance criteria. After all, “everyone is responsible for quality.” Then, both groups test results at the same time while the report is in beta.

So, this is one way and not the only way to reach the goal. Let me know what you think.

More Resources for Power BI Workspaces, Apps:

We “give away” business-value-creating and escape-the-box-inspiring content like this article in part to show you that we’re not your average “tools” consulting firm. We’re sharp on the toolset for sure, but also on what makes businesses AND human beings “go.”

In three days’ time imagine what we can do for your bottom line. You should seriously consider finding out 🙂

* – unless, of course, you have two turntables and a microphone.  We hear a lot of things are also located there.

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Esri ArcGIS Online and Plus subscription organizational purchase are now available for ArcGIS Maps for Power BI

I'm happy to announce that Esri's ArcGIS Maps for Power BI now makes it easier for organizations to get the most from their maps with two new capabilities:

  • ArcGIS Maps for Power BI supports secure reference layers hosted in ArcGIS Online
  • New organizational purchase of Plus subscriptions for ArcGIS Maps for Power BI

The updated visual has been published and will propagate over the next day.

ArcGIS Maps for Power BI support for ArcGIS Online

When we introduced ArcGIS Maps for Power BI in partnership with Esri, we saw the immense power of secure organizational geographic information systems (GIS) to help business users make accurate decisions. Esri’s “Science of Where” philosophy enables sophisticated geospatial analysis to be distilled into web maps, curated and shared through Esri’s ArcGIS Online platform. Now that ArcGIS Maps for Power BI supports connecting to ArcGIS Online, secure organizational GIS data can be used in dashboards and reports distributed throughout the enterprise using Power BI.

Whether you’re in oil and gas, transportation, government / civil response, or an NGO, locating the most urgent places to take action is critical to your organization. Often ArcGIS Online is the place where you curate maps and reference layers created by your GIS specialists to support your decision making. Power BI is the place to bring together data from any data source, enabling end user analytics and collaboration by business users. So, with the new capability, you can bring your rich set of GIS insights directly to your business users.

To get started you’ll need:

1. ArcGIS Online

a. Each user consuming or creating content from ArcGIS Online using ArcGIS Maps for Power BI will need to be a user of ArcGIS Online, and have the appropriate license (level 1 or higher named user license)

2. Power BI

a. ArcGIS Online sign-in is supported in Power BI Desktop and Power BI Service. It is not available for Publish to web or Embedded scenarios at this time.

3. An ArcGIS Maps for Power BI map visual

a. To access ArcGIS Online sign-in, you will need a map with location data loaded onto it.

Once you have those things, click or tap on the gold icon in the top right of the ArcGIS Maps visual. You will see a 'Connect to ArcGIS' button. Click or tap on it and sign in with your ArcGIS Online credentials.

Blog1 Esri ArcGIS Online and Plus subscription organizational purchase are now available for ArcGIS Maps for Power BI

Upon successful sign-in, the gold logo will turn white and a message at the bottom of the map will indicate you have successfully signed in.

Blog2 Esri ArcGIS Online and Plus subscription organizational purchase are now available for ArcGIS Maps for Power BI

You can now access private content from your ArcGIS Online organization such as custom basemaps and secured feature layers. In the screenshot below I have added a custom Oceans basemap made for me by my mapping department and a private layer showing pipeline locations and production status. The basemap and private layer were uploaded to the ArcGIS Online organization I logged into.

Blog3 Esri ArcGIS Online and Plus subscription organizational purchase are now available for ArcGIS Maps for Power BI

Organizational purchase for Esri’s Plus subscription

Since Esri introduced Plus subscriptions in fall 2017, there has been strong interest by organizations to enable more geospatial analytics for their users. Now, we’re happy to announce that Esri is making it easier than ever for entire organizations to purchase Plus. Users with Plus subscriptions get access to more basemaps, more locations per map, and global demographic data for use in the ArcGIS Maps visual.

Organizations can purchase Plus for their entire organization by selecting a small, medium, or large plan based on how many potential Power BI users are within their organization. To talk to an Esri representative about purchasing Plus subscriptions for your organization, fill out the form at www.esri.com/powerbi and Esri will contact you within 24 hours.

Blog4 Esri ArcGIS Online and Plus subscription organizational purchase are now available for ArcGIS Maps for Power BI

Questions and Answers

Can I connect ArcGIS Maps for Power BI to ArcGIS Enterprise (on premises/hosted)?

The ArcGIS Maps for Power BI visual supports ArcGIS Online. You can publish your ArcGIS Enterprise layers to ArcGIS Online using the steps outlined here.

Can I use any layer or web map hosted in ArcGIS Online?

ArcGIS Maps for Power BI supports hosted feature layers from ArcGIS Online for use as reference layers.

You can use one layer at a time, and web maps are currently not supported (support for multiple layers is something Esri is considering).

Where can I submit feature requests for ArcGIS Maps for Power BI?

Head over to Esri’s GEONET community to submit your ideas. You’ll also find it is a great place to interact with Esri’s experts. Here’s the link.

Something’s not working, where can I get support?

Your Esri Product Support Services agreement covers integrations between ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Maps for Power BI. Here’s the contact page.

Can an ArcGIS Online signed-in user consume content created by a Plus subscriber?

Yes! Users with ArcGIS Online credentials can view all content created by users of the free visual and Plus subscribers.

We have more than 10,000 Power BI users in my organization – how do I purchase Plus for my organization?

For organizations with more than 10,000 Power BI users (ie, larger than a 'large' Plus for organizations subscription), contact Esri via the form on the product page for pricing.

Is “free” ArcGIS Maps for Power BI still available?

Yes! You can continue to enjoy the included capabilities of ArcGIS Maps for Power BI without cost. You can also rest assured that Plus subscriptions and ArcGIS Online support are there for you when you’re ready to bring more GIS to your Power BI users.


Esri’s ArcGIS Maps for Power BI support page

Esri GeoNet community page

Esri’s Plus Subscription page, including organizational purchase details

Esri’s how ArcGIS Maps for Power BI works with ArcGIS Online page

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Microsoft Power BI Blog | Microsoft Power BI

Power BI Service and Mobile April Feature Summary

April turned out to be exciting month for the Power BI team. Mostly because we got to meet many of you, our awesome community members, at the Data & BI Summit in Dublin. Huge thank you for those who came. For those who couldn’t make it, not to worry, the Microsoft Business Applications Summit is just around the corner. We hope to see you there!

There were also a couple of features and announcements we made last month. Here’s a quick recap:

The European privacy law, GDPR, takes into effect starting this month (May 2018). To help you understand what this means for your organization and how it relates to Power BI, we released the Power BI GDPR Whitepaper. This paper provides high-level guidance on the different options you have in configuring Power BI to meet the requirements of this law across your organization. Download it for free: Microsoft Power BI Whitepaper.

We’re excited to announce that we’ve simplified the process for turning on audit logs to track activities for your Power BI service tenant.  Previously, we required you to go to your admin portal in the service and turn these on (in addition to turning on the functionality in the Office 365 Admin Center). Now, you can simply enable it in your Office 365 tenant and Power BI activities will show up without any configurations. Lastly, customers in sovereign cloud tenants also have auditing available in their environments. You can read more about Power BI audit logs in the public documentation.

We rolled out a new, exciting update for the Power BI On-premises data gateway for the month of April. The update includes a public preview of the custom data connectors support in personal gateways, single sign-on (SSO) support for SAP Business Warehouse Server (BW) using Kerberos, and an updated mashup engine. Try it out for yourself by installing the new gateway or learn more about the new capabilities here.

ddb1f6b4 182e 45f8 ac83 bacf46e05439 Power BI Service and Mobile April Feature Summary

You can now analyze your data and get more insights on the go by using the drill down and drill up feature on Power BI Mobile! Simply tap on a data point on a report visual to bring up the new tooltip, and if the drill options are available, look for the up and down arrows at the bottom of the tooltip box. Tapping on the down arrow will bring you to the next level in the hierarchy related to that data point. It’s that easy – try it out for yourself. Learn more

Want to see the new Power BI Mixed Reality app in action? Check out this demo video we’ve prepared just for you:

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Querying Data in Azure Data Lake Store with Power BI

Let’s say you have data in Azure Data Lake Store (ADLS) that you want to report directly from in Power BI. You might be doing this for early exploratory data efforts, or you might have some curated data which has been prepared in the data lake for analysis tools such as Power BI. 

The screen shots & functionality discussed for ADLS and Power BI are from early May 2018.

In the example I’m using, my Data Lake Store service is called “bankingadls.” The file structure I’m working with looks like this:

ADLS FileStructure Querying Data in Azure Data Lake Store with Power BI

We’re going to be pulling the data files from the RawData subfolders into Power BI.

What do you need to be able to retrieve ADLS data into Power BI?

  • Read and execute permissions to the data stored in ADLS. I talked about permissions in this blog post
  • The source file(s) need a format which has reliable structure that Power BI can understand.
  • If you’re combining multiple files (such as all 3 shown in the screenshot above), they need to have the same structure/file layout for each file. Power BI is pretty smart about this, so if you’re missing a column in one file that’s present in the other files, it can cope with something simple like that from what I’ve seen. The rule of thumb when designing a data lake is to use the same data structure within each folder, so hopefully varying data formats aren’t a problem–otherwise you’ll have to cleanse & standardize the data before it can be analyzed. 

What can you query from ADLS?

You can connect to the data stored in Azure Data Lake Store. What you *cannot* connect to currently is the data stored in the Catalog tables/views/stored procedures within Azure Data Lake Analytics (hopefully connectivity to the ADLA Catalog objects from tools other than U-SQL is available soon–you can vote for Power BI connectivity to the Catalog on this UserVoice suggestion).

You’re not sending a U-SQL query here. Rather, we’re sending a web API request to an endpoint.

With an ADLS data source, you have to import the data into Power BI Desktop. There is no option for DirectQuery.

Should you use https:// or adl:// to connect to ADLS

In the portal you may notice that you have two ways to connect:

ADLS URLandURI Querying Data in Azure Data Lake Store with Power BI

https:// is a WebHDFS-compatible endpoint which allows integration of the ADL Store with open source projects and other languages.

adl:// is the “AzureDataLakeFilesystem” which is also secure, and provides additional performance enhancements on top of WebHDFS. 

I typically use the adl:// endpoint in case it does give me a performance boost. From what I can tell in Fiddler, it looks like both methods send the same GET request from Power BI which looks like this:

ADLS fromPowerBI GetRequest Querying Data in Azure Data Lake Store with Power BI

Connecting to one file in ADLS from Power BI

Connecting to one individual file in ADLS is pretty straightforward. In the Get Data area within Power BI Desktop, we’ll choose the Azure Data Lake Store connector:

PowerBI ADLS Querying Data in Azure Data Lake Store with Power BI

When prompted for the URL, you can put in either the URI or the URL – either will work. For one file, you’ll use the full path to that file:

URL ADLS OneFile Querying Data in Azure Data Lake Store with Power BI

Go ahead and respond to the security dialog box when prompted (if you’re accessing this ADL Store for the first time). Next let’s choose Edit to go into the Query Editor:

PowerBI ADLS2 Querying Data in Azure Data Lake Store with Power BI

Here’s where it might look funny to you at first. What it’s actually showing you here is the metadata. To get to the data, click on the hyperlink called Binary:

PowerBI ADLSData Querying Data in Azure Data Lake Store with Power BI

And now we’ve got a preview of the actual file data. Power BI auto-created a few steps to tidy up the data:

PowerBI ADLSData2 Querying Data in Azure Data Lake Store with Power BI

At this point, you can Close & Apply. Carry on with fine-tuning the data model properties and creating visuals. 

Connecting to a folder containing multiple files from Power BI

Connecting to a folder is helpful when you have numerous files you want to consolidate. In a data lake, it’s common to have data partitioned (into subfolders) by date or other logical ways to store the data incrementally. 

There are a couple of differences when retrieving data from the folder level instead. The first difference is we specify the folder path in the URL:

URL ADLS Folder Querying Data in Azure Data Lake Store with Power BI

The next difference is how the metadata is initially presented. The metadata for this “table” is actually the subfolder – for us, that’s the 2017 subfolder under RawData. If we click on the Table hyperlink, we are taken to the metadata for the monthly folders:

PowerBI ADLS3 Querying Data in Azure Data Lake Store with Power BI

At this point, we don’t want to navigate down any more because we want files that are present in each of those monthly folders. What we want to do is click on the “Expand” button:

PowerBI ADLS CombineFiles Querying Data in Azure Data Lake Store with Power BI

Your steps above might differ a bit depending on your folder structure. 

Now we see that it has detected the presence of the individual files across the multiple folders. Now it’s time to click on the “Combine Files” button:

PowerBI ADLS CombineFiles4 Querying Data in Azure Data Lake Store with Power BI

The Query Editor uses the first file to determine what the column structure of the data will be:

PowerBI ADLS CombineFiles3 Querying Data in Azure Data Lake Store with Power BI

When combining files, be sure to choose “Skip files with errors.” I had some null rows along with the binary file list which Power BI saw as file errors so it failed when trying to complete a full data refresh. The error was “Failed to save modifications to the server. The parameter is expected to be of type Text.Type or Binary.Type.” I believe what this meant was the sample query & parameter it used in the Query Editor to figure out the metadata was choking on those null values. I’m not certain where the null rows came from, but choosing “Skip files with errors” solved the issue (or you could filter out null values in the Content.Content column shown above).

At this point, you can Close & Apply. Carry on with fine-tuning the data model properties and creating visuals. 

Refreshing the data in the Power BI Service

In order to schedule a data refresh, we’ll want to publish the PBIX to the Power BI Service. (Reminder: if you plan to share this with others, lean towards using an app workspace. Sharing out of your personal workspace should be used only in a limited way.)

A gateway is not needed in the Power BI Service since it’s pulling from an Azure service.

The data source credentials for the refresh use the OAuth2 protocol which is common for web requests:

PowerBI ADLS DataRefresh Querying Data in Azure Data Lake Store with Power BI

Now for the bad news. The OAuth2 protocol relies on access tokens, and those tokens expire at regular intervals. (I’m currently testing this with a new refresh schedule created yesterday; I’ll update this post as soon as I have verified what the current expiration interval is–thankfully it is longer than it used to be.) Once the refresh fails due to token expiration, you’ll have to edit credentials in the dataset properties. Usually our way around this issue, like when Azure Data Factory needs to access ADLS, is to use an Azure application (service principal) for authentication, but that’s not currently supported either. 

Depending on your quantity of files and/or size of files in the data lake, the data refresh may take a bit of time. One https GET request is sent by Power BI per file to retrieve data. 

Like This Content?

If you are integrating data between Azure services, you might be interested in an all-day session Meagan Longoria and I are presenting at PASS Summit in November. It’s called “Designing Modern Data and Analytics Solutions in Azure.” Check out info here: http://www.pass.org/summit/2018/Sessions/Details.aspx?sid=78885 

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Power BI Desktop May Feature Summary

This month we have major updates across all areas of Power BI Desktop. Along with many other reporting features, we have our biggest update to conditional formatting in while, the ability to format any fields, including strings and dates, by a different numeric field in the model. Drillthrough also gets a major update this month with the ability to carry all filters through to the destination page. We are also enabling enterprise level scalability through incremental data refresh.

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Here’s the complete list of May updates:



Power BI Premium

Custom visuals

Data connectivity

Data preparation

This month for our summary video we are featuring Adam Saxton from the Power BI CAT team! You can watch it here:

Before jumping into the details, we also want to encourage you to register for the Microsoft Business Applications Summit in July! There are going to be many great Power BI sessions and tons of chances to interact directly with the Power BI team.

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We are very excited to announce a major improvement for our conditional formatting experience, the ability to formatting a column by a different field in your model.

Now, whenever you open the conditional formatting dialog, you’ll see two new dropdowns. The first, Color based on, is where you can pick what field from your model to base your rules on, and the second, Summarization, is where you’ll pick the aggregation type for that field. There is also a Apply color to box that lets you know what field in your table or matrix is being formatted currently.

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The field and summarization type to color by are auto-populated with the same column in your table you’ve chosen to format, so you won’t have to do any extra configurations unless you want to customize it.

When you do customize the field for the color to be based on, you’ll get a similar experience to the field list where you can expand and collapse tables in your model and search to help you find the field you’re looking for.

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In the below example, I’m using showing the total sales by product and coloring that column by the average net satisfaction of the product.

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You can also pick a new source of formatting when using the Color by rules version of conditional formatting.

With this update we are also opening up conditional formatting to text and date fields as well, as long as you choose a numeric value to format on.

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A common use case for this would be to create a measure in your model that does your custom business logic, such as comparing target vs. actuals and the use Color by rules to format the text based on the result. For example, you could create a measure to return a -1, 0, or 1 if a product is under, at, or above its sales expectations, and then in Color by rules mode chose to format the product name red if the measure returns -1, yellow if it returns 0, and green if it returns 1.

here's now an Advanced section of Slicer syncing pane that allows you to create custom groups of slicers to sync. By default synced slicers will be put a group with a name that matches the field used in the slicer but you can override this with any name you want. This means you can create separate groups to sync slicers that use the same field; for example you’ve got two slicers using the same field on the same page, and you want to sync one of them with a slicer on another page.

You can also put slicers that use different fields in the same group; for example you’ve got two different date fields and you want to have the selected date sync between the slicers. If the value selected in the first slicer doesn’t exist in the second slicer, you’ll see it appear at the bottom of the list of values.

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You can also check the Sync field changes to other slicers. With this option checked, if you swap the field used in the slicer, all the synced slicers will update to use the same field.

While we’ve supported log axis for a very long time, the support has been inconsistent across charts and could sometimes be hard to use. Hearing your feedback, we’ve greatly improved log axis in your cartesian charts.

You should now be able to select log scale for the numeric axis of any cartesian chart, including combo chart, when you have data that is completely positive or completely negative. Reference lines should also observe the log scale and will cause the scale to resize to accommodate them.

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If you have data that crosses zero, you’ll now get a helpful warning in the property pane, and the scale type will revert to linear. Once your data is updated to no longer include both positive and negative values, the visual will start to use the log axis again.

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For this month’s formatting feature, we’ve added more control for data labels in funnel chart. You can now pick if each bar shows the actual value, the percentage of the first bar, the percentage of the previous bar, or the actual value and one of the two percentage options.

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The first bar will always show only the data value since the percentages are always 100%.

Another small formatting option we are adding this month is the ability to set the stroke width of lines to 0.

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This works for combo charts as well as line charts.

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Back in September, we released a drillthrough experience that allows you to move from one page to another carrying specified filters through. You’d set this up by creating your drillthrough page (i.e. the page you want to land on) and then adding any categorical fields to the Drillthrough filters bucket in the filter pane as you want.

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Any fields you put in this bucket would be tied to the page. Any chart in the rest of the report that uses that field could be right-clicked on to move to the drillthrough page.

This is a very powerful feature but was limited that only filters on the fields explicitly placed in the Drillthrough filters bucket would be carried through. There was no way to carry the entire filter context of your data point through the drillthrough page.

This month, we are closing this gap by allowing you to carry all filters through. When you are setting up your drillthrough page, if you want all filters to pass through and not just the fields placed in the bucket, you can turn the Pass all filters toggle on.

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Once the toggle is on, whenever you right click on a data point and drillthrough, all filter context from the source page is passed to the drillthrough page. You’ll be able to see a restatement of all these filters in the Drillthrough bucket.

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With the toggled turned off, only filters on the columns specified will be carried through.

With this drillthrough update, you can also now use measures and summarized numeric columns in the drillthrough bucket. You can pick if you want to allow drillthrough on numeric columns when used as a category (e.g. a chart showing number of reviews by rating) or summarized (e.g. a chart showing average rating by category).

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The Pass all filters option is on by default for new drillthrough pages and off by default for existing pages.

You’ll also see this new experience for report page tooltip.

Incremental refresh will unlock very large datasets in Power BI Premium. You can define the refresh policy in Power BI Desktop to determine how data is incrementally refreshed when published to the Power BI service. Refreshes are faster, more efficient and more reliable because only the new data needs to be refreshed.

To leverage incremental refresh in the Power BI service, first filtering needs to be done using Power Query date/time parameters with the reserved names RangeStart and RangeEnd.

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With the parameters defined, you can apply the filter by selecting the Custom Filter menu option for a column.

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And then ensure rows are filtered where the column value is after or equal to RangeStart and before RangeEnd.

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Once this is set up, you can Close and Apply the Power Query Editor. You can then set up your refresh policy by right clicking on the table and selecting Incremental Refresh.

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The incremental refresh dialog includes several options:

  • How long to store data for
  • The length of time to refresh data for
  • If the data should refresh only on data changes based on a date/time column in your data
  • If only completed periods should refresh

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This is a preview feature, so you will need to enable it under File > Options and Settings > Options > Preview features. This feature is a Premium feature currently, so it will only work if you publish to a premium workspace. We will eventually enable this feature for Pro users as well, but for now, it is limited to Premium.

There are some things to be aware of when using incremental refresh:

  • Once you set up incremental refresh, it will not be possible to download your .pbix from the Power BI service
  • Your first refresh may take a little longer while we load the historical data, but subsequent refreshes will be much faster
  • Since re-publishing reports overwrites the entire dataset, you will need to reload the historical data again on the next refresh after the re-publish

Please see this article for more detailed information on how to use incremental refresh.

The Collage by CloudScope custom visual displays images in either a compact grid display or a larger detail view in a style similar to Instagram.

In addition to displaying an image from an image URL, you can optionally display any of the following field types:

  • Caption
  • Media date
  • Media type
  • Video url
  • Comment count
  • Like count
  • Permalink
  • Author profile image
  • Author name
  • Caption sentiment

In addition, you can provide any generic data fields that you wish and will automatically be formatted in the familiar Instagram style for numbers and dates.

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Download this visual from AppSource.

If you are using geographical data for China, you might want to try out the Chinese Color map custom visual. This map has several features:

  • Offline maps
  • One-click switching between a national China map and provincial maps
  • Rich visual formatting including shading, colors, and patterns
  • Arbitrarily set the latitude and longitude of the area you want to display
  • Gradient fill for regions on the map

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Try out this visual on AppSource.

One of the most differentiating connectors in Power Query is the From Web connector. This connector allows you to easily scrape data from HTML tables and import them into Power BI Desktop.

With this month’s release, we’re dramatically enhancing this connector by allowing any HTML data, not just tables, to be extracted. To do so, you can provide a few samples for the data that you want to extract, and Power Query will apply smart detection algorithms on top of the HTML page content to identify the entire set of rows to generate.

To try out this feature you need to enable it under the Preview Features tab in the Options dialog.

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After enabling it, you can find the Web connector within the Other category in the Get Data dialog.

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You can specify the URL of the webpage from which you want to extract data. For example: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/top-paid/games/xbox?category=classics

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You will be taken to the Navigator dialog where you would see a number of auto-detected tables (HTML tables). In this case, none of them were found since the data in this webpage is not exposed as HTML tables. With the new Web By Example enhancements, you can now access the “Extract table using examples” button in this dialog.

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This option brings you into an interactive experience where you can preview content in this page and specify sample values for what data you would like to extract.

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For example, in this webpage we would like to extract the Name and Price for each game. We can achieve that simply by specifying a couple of examples for each column, like showed in rows #3 and #5 in the following screenshot. After specifying these samples, Power Query is able to detect the rest of values to extract from this webpage based on smart data extraction algorithms.

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Once you are happy with the data extracted from the webpage, you can click OK, which will take you into the Query Editor, where you can apply further data transformations and filters, or combine this table with data coming from other data sources.

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Over the next few monthly releases we plan to enhance this new Web By Example experience in a couple of ways:

  1. Allowing you to add one or more tables in a single pass, either multiple By Example tables, or a combination of auto-detected and By Example tables.
  2. Allowing you to specify examples by clicking at the relevant content in the Web Page preview, within the Add Table By Example dialog, instead of requiring you to type in the examples.

We’re excited about making this new Preview feature available to all of you. Last year, we released Add Column From Examples, which also allows you to apply data transformations based on sample output values on top of any table in the Power Query Editor.

With the new Web By Example feature we’re giving you an initial Preview of how Smart Data Extraction algorithms can be applied on top of semi-structured data sources like HTML webpages. We’re lining up lots of Smart Data Preparation capabilities within Power Query for many different scenarios. Expect to hear more details on this area very soon! In the meantime, we encourage all of you to try out this new Preview feature and share feedback regarding your experience, sample input webpages, etc. to help us make the feature even more powerful!

We’re adding a new connector this month to enable you to import data from you Common Data Service for Apps.

Common Data Service for Apps allows you to securely store and manage data that's used in apps you've developed or apps from Microsoft and app providers. Data within CDS for Apps is stored within a set of standard and custom entities. An entity is a set of fields used to store data similarly to a table within a database. You can learn more about the Common Data Service for Apps in this article.

The Common Data Service for Apps connector is available under the Online Services category in the Get Data dialog.

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Azure Kusto is a big-data, interactive analytics platform that provides ultra-fast telemetry search and advanced text search for any type of data. Kusto is perfect for IOT, troubleshooting and diagnostics, monitoring, security research, usage analytics, and more.

Azure KustoDB is currently in Preview phase. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can do so from: http://aka.ms/kustopreview

With this month’s release of Power BI Desktop, we’re adding a new connector allowing you to connect to your Azure KustoDB data in order to analyze it and build reports.

The new Azure KustoDB connector can be found under the Azure category within the Get Data dialog.

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After selecting this connector, you can specify a Kusto Cluster and, optionally, a Database and Table or query to retrieve data, as well as other advanced options. You can then establish a connection using either Import or DirectQuery mode against your Kusto cluster.

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We’re very glad to announce that two of the connectors that have been in beta for the past few months have now reached general availability.

The Google BigQuery connector can be found under the Database category within the Get Data dialog. You can find more details about this connector in this previous article.

The Azure HDInsight Spark connector is located under the Azure category in the Get Data dialog. And you can check out our documentation to learn more about this connector.

We want to thank everyone who has tried these two connectors and shared feedback with us during their beta phase for helping us taking the connectors into GA.

Based on customer feedback, we’re enhancing the Adobe Analytics connector in order to allow you to pull data from multiple domains.

In order to try out this connector enhancement, you need to enable it from the Preview Features tab within the Options dialog.

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Upon enabling this Preview feature, you will be able to see multiple companies as top-level nodes in the Navigator dialog when using the Adobe Analytics connector.

We are excited to announce an easy-to-use solution for integrating Power BI with VSTS Analytics. The new Analytics views feature in VSTS makes getting work tracking data into Power BI simple, and it works for the largest accounts. Similar to a work items query, an Analytics View specifies filters that scope the result of work items data and the columns. Additionally, views allow you to report on past revisions of work items and easily create trend reports.

VSTS provides a set of Default Analytics views that work well for customers with smaller accounts and basic scenarios. Larger accounts can easily scope your data and history to exactly what you want to report on in Power BI. To learn how to create your own views, check out the dedicated VSTS blog.

Analytics views you create in the Analytics hub in VSTS are immediately available to select from the VSTS Power BI Data Connector.

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In this month’s release, we’re enhancing the authentication options for the OLE DB connector, by adding the ability to provide alternate user credentials when using the Windows authentication type.

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When connecting to SAP BW, it was previously possible to see the SAP BW technical name of the dimensions, hierarchies and measures in the navigator (as well as the longer friendly name). With this month’s update, it is also possible to see those same technical names within the field list when connected using DirectQuery. These names will appear in the Description property for the relevant field, as well as in the tooltip caption for the field.

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“Add Column From Examples” enables you to easily define new columns that derive data from existing columns based on data transformations, by providing a few examples of the expected output values and allowing Power Query’s smart detection logic to automatically infer which transforms should be applied.

This month we’re making significant enhancements to Add Column From Examples:

Composition of Data Transformations

With this month’s update, we’re making it possible for you to derive new columns from examples that require the composition of multiple column transformations. For example, extracting from Full Name and Job Title columns the Name initials followed by the uppercased version of the job title in parenthesis.

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Domain specific transformations

We’re enhancing the set of supported data transformations in this feature by including specialized, domain-specific transformations, in Power Query’s smart detection logic, such as additional Date extraction (5/8/2018 -> MAY-2018) and other similar transformations.

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, don’t forget to register for the Microsoft Business Applications Summit in July! I’m excited to meet many of you there.

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