Power BI July 2021 Feature Summary

Welcome to the July update! This month we are making small multiples generally available, as well as the new model view and sensitivity labels in Desktop. Also, we have a new preview for streaming dataflows. There is much more, so read on!

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Here is the full list of July updates:
 
Reporting

Modeling

Data connectivity

Service

Visualizations

Template apps

Other

 
Check out the video below for a summary (note that the Q&A synonyms feature mentioned in the video will be released soon):



 
 

Small multiples Generally available

With this release, small multiples is now generally available! Thank you for all of your feedback throughout the preview period, and please continue to send us feedback about how the feature can be improved.

We’ve included two improvements to the feature this month.

First, we’ve improved keyboard navigation and screen reader support for small multiples. Moving focus around the small multiples grid should now be more consistent and intuitive, and screen reader readouts should be descriptive.

Second, we’ve excited to introduce sorting functionality for your small multiples, allowing you to sort the order in which they appear by the measures in your field wells. This is useful for cases like seeing the highest cumulative value small multiple first and will help you make more useful comparisons. It is also coming with a slightly new UI in the context menu that will help us scale better to more sortable elements in the future!

Conditional formatting for more properties

We’ve added conditional formatting options to various properties across our visuals. Now, in addition to all of the properties which already supported conditional format, you will find the fx button next to:

  • Data label colors
  • Total label colors
  • Legend text colors
  • Axis start and end
  • Axis title, gridline, and label colors
  • Funnel visual percent bar label colors
  • Funnel visual category axis color
  • Multi-row card title text, data label colors, and category label colors
  • Gauge visual axis colors, including start, minimum, and maximum
  • Slicer slider and header font colors

Power BI’s built-in visuals now include the Power Automate visual Preview

Back in April we released a preview of the Power Automate visual to AppSource. As a refresher, the Power Automate visual allows users go from insights to action without leaving the context of the report. In this month’s release, the visual is now available in the visualization pane by default. Now, with a single click, you can add the Power Automate visual to your reports without having to download or import the visual.

Within Power BI Desktop or Power BI Service, you can add the visual from the Visualizations pane:

If you’re using Power BI Desktop, you can also access the visual from the ribbon by navigating to the Insert tab and selecting Power Automate (preview) within the Power Platform section:

To learn more about the Power Automate visual, check out our documentation.
 

Sensitivity labels in Power BI Desktop Generally available

Microsoft Information Protection (MIP) sensitivity labels are now generally available in Power BI Desktop. With MIP labels creators can label and protect sensitive content in Power BI Desktop.

Sensitivity labels in Power BI Desktop generally available

Learn more 
 

Republish PBIX with option to not override label in destination.

With this release, creators will be able to republish PBIX files without overriding sensitivity labels on destination dataset and/or report. In some cases, the sensitivity label applied on PBIX file doesn’t match the sensitivity of the data of target dataset or report in Power BI service, whether it’s because the data sources are different or because the report in the service is applied with different sensitivity label than the one set on the dataset.

Learn more 
 

Inherit sensitivity label set to Excel files when importing data into Power BI

Excel files are one of the most popular data sources for Power BI reports. Many organizations use MIP labels to label and protect Excel files. Starting with this release, when you get data from protected Excel files in Power BI desktop and in the Power BI service, Power BI will inherit the MIP sensitivity label from the Excel file and apply it on downstream Power BI datasets and reports.

Learn more 

 
 

New Model View Generally available

We’re excited to announce the new model view UI is generally available! Thank you to everyone who gave continued feedback. To see all the new features that were added, you can visit one of our previous blog posts. Keep in mind that if you are using a report that you haven’t already upgraded to the new model view, it will automatically be upgraded for you now.
 

DirectQuery for Azure Analysis Services & Power BI datasets Updates Preview

This month, we’ve continued to add support for more properties set on a remote model to flow to your local model. The first improvement is related to date tables and auto-generated date tables. If the remote model you’ve connected to has date tables or auto-generated date tables, those will now show up in your local model. The second improvement is related to lineage tags. If your remote model has lineage tags defined, any renames on the remote model will show up in your local model without the renamed objects being deleted and recreated. This also means you won’t lose any local customizations on objects that have been renamed.
 
 

Amazon Athena (new connector)

We are excited to announce the release of the Amazon Athena connector! Below is an excerpt from the Amazon Athena team on this release.

“Amazon Athena is an interactive query service that makes it easy to analyze data stored in Amazon S3 and other relational, non-relational, and custom data sources through federated queries. Using the Amazon Athena connector for Microsoft Power BI, you can now query, analyze, visualize, and share insights from your data lake with teammates across your organization.”
 

Databricks (updated connector)

This update includes improved stability and performance of large imports and fixes an issue with the handling of invalid credentials.
 

Dremio (updated connector)

This update fixes an issue where any error would cause Power BI to repeatedly display an “Encryption Support” prompt.
 

MariaDB (updated connector)

This update includes a fix for misreported COLUMN_SIZE for the VARCHAR data type.
 
 

Streaming dataflows Preview

Last month as part of MBAS and BUILD, we announced the upcoming preview release of streaming dataflows, and that day is finally here.

As Arun Ulag put it: “Customers want to work with data as it comes in, and not days, or weeks later. Our vision is simple — the distinctions between batch, real-time, and streaming data today will disappear. Customers should be able to work with all data as soon as it is available”.

Streaming dataflows allows every business analyst to work with streaming data with beautiful, drag and drop, no-code experiences. Working with streaming data is no longer limited just to data engineers. Users can connect to, prepare, and visualize real-time data to create end-to-end streaming analytics solutions directly in Power BI.

As of today, streaming dataflows allows users to connect to streaming data in Azure (IoT Hub and Event Hub), perform streaming-specific data preparation operations like joins and filters as well as time windowing aggregations (such as tumbling, hopping, and session windows) for group by operations. All of Power BI’s rich data visualization capabilities will work with streaming data just as they with batch data today. Streaming dataflows is included as part of Power BI Premium, including Premium Per User.

To get quickly started, please head to our announcement blog post and  documentation. Since this new real-time data experience is built from the ground up, we would love to get as much feedback as we can get. That is why we have created a new forum for users to provide any requests, feedback, and comments about streaming dataflows.
 

Mandatory label policy Preview

Many organizations require to classify their sensitive information to meet regulatory, compliance or internal audit requirements. Now, with a mandatory label policy, you can require creators to set a sensitivity label when they create new content or edit existing content in Power BI. Creators will be required to apply the sensitivity label when they upload PBIX file to Power BI or when they create new content or edit content without a label in Power BI.

Applying a sensitivity label in the Power BI service
 

Custom help link for sensitivity labels

To help your organization’s Power BI users understand what your sensitivity labels mean or how they should be used, you can provide a ‘Learn more’ link pointing to your organization’s custom web page that users will see when they’re applying or being prompted to apply sensitivity labels.


 

Datasets hub improvements

New sharing capabilities

We’ve added new sharing capabilities to the Datasets hub to make it easier for our users to share their content with others.

Chat in Teams

Use the Chat in Teams feature to quickly start conversations when you’re viewing your dataset and want to share it with others.

Only users with Power BI license and relevant dataset permissions will be able to click the Chat in Teams link. If you want to share content with users who don’t have access to the dataset, use the new Share capability.

Share

The new Share feature allows you to share your datasets with others and to provide the relevant access permissions. You can provide different types of access for different users, as well as send them a notification email.

You can also use the manage permission page (available via dataset settings) to edit and/or remove dataset access from particular users.

Refresh and schedule refresh

When you navigate to the dataset page you can now, from the dataset action bar, see the status of the last refresh, trigger a manual refresh, and even schedule a refresh!

Dataset description

We’ve moved the dataset description field to a new dataset description section in the dataset settings to make it easier for dataset owners to find and fill in. The dataset description is very important, and helps other analysts in the organization see whether the dataset answers their business needs so that they can start using it.

Goals

With this release, we’re adding Goals to the list of dataset-related reports. When a new scorecard is created, it also generates a dataset that holds the scorecard data. You can find this dataset in the datasets hub, and will see the scorecard among the other related reports in the dataset’s related reports list.

All actions are available in the dataset hub landing page and in the dataset page

When you click on a specific dataset, in the datasets hub or in the workspace content list, you get to that dataset’s dataset page. In the dataset page you see information about the dataset, actions you can perform, and a list of reports that are built on top of the dataset (only reports you have access to are listed).


 

Goals support in lineage view

When you open lineage view, you can now see the workspace’s scorecards and their connections.


 

Scanner API (Admin REST APIs) enhancements to include dataset tables, columns, measures, DAX expressions, and mashup queries

Last year In December we announced new Scanner APIs for extracting tenant-level metadata using Admin REST APIs. Already we see many customers using the new Scanner APIs to query Power BI in order to build their own reporting and homegrown catalogs. We’ve built the APIs in such a way that they support scaling for big tenants and at the same time allow us to add more metadata to the API response as time goes along. This huge enhancement to the APIs includes the items our customers have been asking for most. Now, as part of the API response, you can get a dataset’s tables, columns, measures, DAX expressions, and mashup queries.

Read more in the blog post.
 
 

New visuals

New this month is the Multi Info Cards!
 

Charticulator (custom visual version 1.0.5)

With Charticulator version 1.0.5, we have made a number of updates and bugfixes to expand the visual’s functionality, improve quality of life, and address issues.

  • Set the default values for font (font family: Segoe UI; font size: 12) for text & text box.
  • Set the default chart properties (size: 600×400; margins: 20,20,20,20), and add them to the visuals format panel.
  • Set the default color (Power BI’s default blue) for shapes and symbols.
  • Enable the update of colors based on the report theme: users can turn this on/off from the Color settings property in the visuals format panel.
  • Enable the setting of default panels position in the visuals format panel.
  • Save the order for the categorical axis in the template.
  • Save chart changes history on closing editor.
  • Bind links to glyph center if no marks with anchor.
  • Scroll to the attribute field in the Attributes panel on opening a scale from the Scales panel.
  • For the Date data type, display date string (e.g., 06/08/2021) instead of number in the scale editor.
  • Set the default aggregation function to “first” for categorical kinds (even if they are the Number data type).
  • Fixed a number of bugs and issues, including:
    • save wasn’t working in certain cases
    • labeling of the automatic domain inference, and moved the UI location in the Scale Editor
    • attribute mapping on drag guide in the glyph editor
    • popup view opens at the top left corner
    • converting empty values from Power BI
    • updating data kind and data type

Thank you for your feedback, and please keep sending us suggestions and issues you encounter!
 

Multiple Sparklines

It is difficult to see trends or patterns when you are presented with a table full of rows and columns of numbers. This Power BI Custom Visual transforms your Table numbers into stunning charts to give more insights into your data. The visual supports following chart types:

• Line Chart / Area Chart

• Column Chart

• Bubble Chart

• Donut Chart

• Bullet/ Bar chart

• Normal values (Text, Numbers, Image Urls, Web Urls, Unicodes etc.)

You can sort by any column by clicking on header row, rearrange charts/columns, drag rows and columns to resize, add data labels to charts, apply different formats and styles etc.

Download this visual from AppSource.

For more information visit https://www.excelnaccess.com/sparklines/ or contact zubair@excelnaccess.com.
 

Acterys Reporting

Acterys Reporting is the latest addition to the Acterys integrated planning and performance management framework for Power BI.

Users can create financial reports with spreadsheet flexibility without the need for DAX:

  • Adding row & column calculations,
  • Applying typical financial reporting formatting requirements including visualizations according to IBCS principles
  • Adding row-based comments

In addition to the reporting functionality, the visual supports all planning, writeback and data modelling functionality included in the 7 other Acterys visuals listed on AppSource, the Acterys Modeller and the Power BI Sync external tool.


 

PureViz Infographic – from PowerPoint to Power BI

PureViz Infographic is a new Power BI visual that lets business users to create their own visuals using PowerPoint and bring their designs to life in Power BI very easily. Users can format shapes, set text fields, and animate any layer in their design using existing measures.

After a super-easy design process in PowerPoint, you can export your design as .SVG image and then select this file in Power BI. Then, you can utilize following features of PureViz Infographic to finalize your visual.

  • Shape Formatting: Fill color, gradient fill, size/position, visibility, rotation, scale…
  • Text Formatting: Text content, font size, text position, visibility, rotation…
  • Conditional Formatting: Binding data fields to properties, using if/else
  • Math & Number Formatting: Visual level calculations without new measure
  • Shape Transform Animations: Rotation, position, color/opacity, scale
  • Text Transform Animations: Typing animation, count down/up
  • Click & Hover Actions: Hyperlinks, tooltips
  • Advanced Color Fill: Directional shape fill, dynamic fill, gauge fill
  • Advanced Formulas: Using nested brackets and arithmetic operators

In following overview video, you can find all these features in action.

To learn more about PureViz Infographic and find sample report, please visit our web page or download the visual directly from AppSource.
 

Dynamic radial bar chart by JTA

Dynamic radial bar chart by JTA: The Data Scientists combines two of the most effective and common charts in the data visualization field, the bar chart and the radial chart. With multiple configurations available, the visual will allow you to navigate and quickly understand your data.

With a vaste range of functionalities and customizing options, you will be able to drill-down your information to see it in detail, define global or individual targets by category to compare it with your data, choose between multiple fields when drilling-down and much more.

With the latest version, these are some of the key features you will find:

  • Updated logic to define target values or load them automatically as a field;
  • Added options to choose whether you want your target to be displayed on a label or not;
  • Improved tooltip customizing, using data fields of your choice;
  • Improved the total value calculation and relative totals, with the option to add only some categories to the grand total;
  • Updated formatting options and default values for settings such as radial bars curviness, background and shadow colors, multiple choices of gradual color schemes, etc;
  • Standard Power BI fonts added;
  • Updated visual API version, to comply with the latest Power BI recomendations.

If you liked what you saw, you can try it for yourself and find more information here. Also, if you want to download it, you can find the visual package on the AppSource.
 

Drill Down Waterfall PRO

Control column sequence, add subtotals and drill down into each category.

Visualize totals, subtotals and sequence of the columns straight from the dataset and use rich formatting options to control the look of the chart. Interactive zooming and drilldowns will ensure that data is easy and quick to explore.

  • Touch-driven slicer – filter the report page by using the visual itself (no need for external slicers).
  • On-chart interactions – zoom, click and drag or drill down to explore and filter data.
  • Display of Total – turn on or off the Total column
  • Sub-totals – set display values in dataset or let the visual calculate them automatically
  • Rich customization options – customize increasing, decreasing, and totals series separately (colors, outlines, column widths, connectors, value labels and more)
  • Static and dynamic thresholds – set up to 4 thresholds to demonstrate targets or benchmarks
  • Mobile friendly – use on touch and multi-touch devices

Create reports that are easy to use. To evaluate Drill Down Waterfall PRO for free, start your 30-day trial period now!  Download Drill Down Combo Bar PRO in AppSource. Or explore a sample report.
 

Control Chart XmR by Nova Silva

Years ago, Stacey Barr introduced us to the magic of Control Charts. Magic it is, because it allows everyone to split their temporal data in two: random noise and real signals. And we all are looking for real signals, and don’t want to be distracted by random noise.

Stacey applies Control Charts based on the so-called Wheeler rules (as specified by Dr. Donald J. Wheeler). This is why our first release of the Control Chart XmR supports this set of rules. Obviously, the Wheeler rules are not the only set of rules.

A couple of months ago we were contacted by a large manufacturing organization. They use Control Charts to continuously improve their processes, and this helped them in obtaining the highest CMMI maturity level.

They required support for the Nelson rules. Now the Control Chart XmR supports both the Wheeler and Nelson rule sets: the user selects the most appropriate rule set.

Don’t hesitate and try the Control Chart XmR now on your own data by downloading it from the AppSource. All features are available for free to evaluate this visual within Power BI Desktop.

Questions or remarks? Visit us at: https://visuals.novasilva.com.
 

Editor’s picks

The Editor’s picks visuals of the month are:

The Editor’s picks can be found in the in-product AppSource in Power BI Desktop and Service under Editor’s picks category.
 
 

Analyze your email marketing performance using Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign

Connect to your Mailchimp or ActiveCampaign Email marketing services to Power BI and analyze the performance of your campaigns and audiences.

Sending out email campaigns by your business isn’t much help unless you can track and analyze your successes and failures and quickly adjust your messaging. While the best-of-breed email marketing services offer a good level of analytics and can track open and click rate data, or offer color-coded charts and statistics, there is no better platform than Power BI to provide best-of-breed analytics capabilities to tune your email campaigns.

DataChant teamed up with DailyCookie to release two Power BI apps on AppSource for to get you to the next level in understanding your email campaigns on Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign.

Mailchip Email Marketing

Mailchimp Email Marketing is a Power BI app that connects to your Mailchimp account and analyzes the performance of your campaigns. The app requires an active Mailchimp account and API Access Key to refresh automatically. You can explore the various pages on the left sidebar to analyze different aspects of your campaign, including a campaign view, tagged audiences, performance analysis, and unsubscription reasons. The app enables interactive view to crucial email marketing KPIs such as open rates, CTR (Clickthrough Rate), and CTOR (Click-to-Open Rate).

The basic version of this app is free. It allows you to import your last 6 months of recently created campaigns, up to 500 members per list, and up to 5 unsubscribers per campaign. To lift these limitations, you can subscribe for the Premium version and allow you to import all historical data.

With both free and premium versions, the report layout can be edited, and the data can be imported or connected live via Excel and Power BI to build your own reporting tools from your Mailchimp data.

Learn more about the app here.

ActiveCampaign Email Marketing

ActiveCampaign Email Marketing is a Power BI app that connects to your ActiveCampaign account and analyzes the performance of your campaigns. The app requires an active ActiveCampaign account and API Access Key to refresh automatically. Like the MailChimp app, you can explore the various pages on the left sidebar to analyze different aspects of your campaign, including a campaign view, tagged audiences, performance analysis, and unsubscription reasons. The app enables interactive view to crucial email marketing KPIs such as open rates, CTR (Clickthrough Rate), and CTOR (Click-to-Open Rate).
This app was recognized by ActiveCampaign as an official app, and is featured on their Apps & Integration portal here.

Learn more about the app here.


 
 

Power BI Desktop Installer Changes & WebView2

As called out in last month’s blog, starting this month, the Power BI Desktop .exe installer will now attempt to download Microsoft Edge WebView2 as part of the installation process. WebView2 is not a requirement at the moment, so if you’re installing offline, you should not notice any changes. If WebView2 fails to download or install for any reason, everything will continue to work, and you will notice no difference during the install process or while using Power BI Desktop.

This is our first step in transitioning part of our infrastructure from using CefSharp to WebView2. We’re making this switch to better optimize our development and release process (which means we’ll be able to spend more time developing new features!). It also means that you’ll automatically get the latest security patches as the WebView2 team ships them instead of waiting for us to update Power BI Desktop.

Again, WebView2 is not currently required, but it’s important to know that at some point in the future it will be. When that happens, it will be required to fully install and run Power BI Desktop. At that time, if you don’t have WebView2 installed, you’ll need to be connected to the internet when you’re first installing through the .exe, so it can be downloaded automatically. For organizations installing Power BI Desktop for your employees, you’ll also need to install WebView2, if it’s not already installed.

We have not set a date for this transition yet, and we will give plenty of advance warning before it does.

If you’d like to start using Power BI Desktop with WebView2 instead of CefSharp right away, you can enable it through the Power BI Desktop infrastructure update preview feature. The option will only be visible if you have WebView2 installed. Once you’ve turned it on and restarted Power BI Desktop, we’ll automatically start using WebView2. You shouldn’t notice any changes between the two experiences, but of course, please let us know if you do have any issues.

The "Power BI Desktop infrastructure update" preview feature checked within the Options dialog.

That is all for this month! Please continue sending us your feedback and do not forget to vote for other features that you would like to see in Power BI! We hope that you enjoy the update! If you installed Power BI Desktop from the Microsoft Store, please leave us a review.

Also, don’t forget to vote on your favorite feature this month over on our community website. 

As always, keep voting on Ideas to help us determine what to build next.

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

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