Microsoft have released update 2.106.582.0 to Power BI, from June 2022. This update adds a wide range of features to help improve both the accessibility, functionality, and performance of Power BI, and we look forward to seeing how developers, analysts, and end-users will interact with them.
Read on to discover the new additions that this update brings, and our teams’ thoughts on their impact.
New Format Pane – Generally Available
Summary: The new Format Pane is now generally available! First previewed back in November 2021, following feedback collected and subsequent iterations, the new format pane is now available to all users with the latest version update.
Our thoughts: As in any piece of highly rich software, the properties, options and settings for allowing users to create their perfect results can seem endless. Power BI is no different! The new format pane aims to reduce the tireless scrolling and searching, and put all those options at a user’s fingertips. We anticipate that this feature makes the Power BI experience a much more seamless and pleasant one.
Power BI Storytelling
Summary: Introduced in May 2022 in preview, Power BI Storytelling allows for a seamless integration between a Power BI report and a PowerPoint presentation. Users are able to bring an interactive version of their report straight into a PowerPoint slide with the full interactive capabilities of the report available. This includes filters, tooltips and data refreshing.
Our thoughts: The ability to present and interact with a Power BI Report live in a presentation can take presentations to the next level. Previously, a creator would be limited to a screen grab image of a report which would quickly become irrelevant or out-of-date and be limited in its use. As the name suggests, adding a live and interactive report will enable a presenter to tell a story through their presentation.
Summary: Following on from Datasets Hub announced back in December 2020, this evolution now incorporates both Power BI dataset and the newly released Datamarts into one location. Datamarts in Power BI Premium gives users the ability to create relational databases from their own data which can then be shared to specific users or across a business. This new capability is all no code, with the governance and security of the data being incorporated from the data source itself.
Our thoughts: Giving non-technical users the ability to investigate their own datasets without the need for IT development has the potential for quick-win analysis. It should also prevent similar datasets being created – which can lead to confusion and repetition. Whilst this new service could be very powerful to a business and its users, it also has the potential to create a high-number of datasets and moves away from the central and single point of truth – leading to its own distinct challenges.
Analysis Services Composite Models
Summary: Following the release of SQL Server 2022 in preview mode this month, Power BI Desktop now allows users to create a composite model by joining SSAS Tabular Models created in SQL Server 2022 Analysis Services with other data using Direct Query.
Our thoughts: The ability to effortlessly combine disparate data sources is a huge win for analysts and developers alike for investigation and ad-hoc analysis. Whilst this feature has been available in preview for Power BI datasets or Azure Analysis Services, its great that this functionality is now also available for users of on-prem Analysis Service.
Table Navigation improvements
Summary: Several enhancements have been made to the table visual to improve performance, usability, and accessibility. These enhancements come into effect for both new and existing reports. These enhancements include:
- Improved look and view of grid lines and selection stylings
- Improved row selection experience for distinguishing between selected and non-selected rows
- Updated conditional formatting icons compatible with screen readers, and two-toned focus outline to meet colour contrast requirements
- New keyboard shortcut keys for multi-row selection, scrolling and first/last cell selection
Summary: Released last month to Power BI Desktop and Service, and detailed in our May 2022 update, Canvas Zoom has now also been expanded for use for Power BI in Teams and Quick create. In line with the Table Navigation changes already released this month, Canvas Zoom helps improve report readability, visual highlighting, and ease of report demos. This zoom feature can also be used by developers for precision alignment within visualisation creation.
Our thoughts: Another improvement that’s making Power BI more accessible for different users and in difference scenarios. Canvas Zoom will also aid the most scrupulous developer in creating pixel-perfect reports!
Summary: Following the previous few months where Error bars were introduced to Clustered Column, Bar and Combo Charts, Error Bars have a further update this month to simplify formatting options. Error Bars remain a Preview option for now.
Our thoughts: Following the same aim of the new format pane, this error bar changes aim to increase user efficiency and productivity by making the required options easier to find and use.
The changes introduced for June 2022 are both powerful from a development capabilities point-of-view. The introduction of Data Hub, Composite modelling, and Power BI Storytelling are pivotal in improveming both usability and accessibility.
Whilst the changes this month are mostly focused outside of the Power BI desktop tool, it’s also refreshing to know that Microsoft continues to improve and enhance its core tool following user feedback.
To learn more about all things Power BI, read our full range of insights here.