New features in the March 2018 update of Power BI Desktop
Part two of a five-part series of blogs

By far the biggest new feature in the March 2018 update of Power BI Desktop is bookmarks (so big, in fact, that it gets a summary treatment in this blog and a separate, longer blog all to itself).

  1. Power BI Desktop - March 2018 Update - New Features
  2. Bookmarks (this blog)
  3. Formatting columns of numbers or dates in a table or matrix
  4. Suppressing display headers for visuals in published reports
  5. Features still in preview as of March 2018

For a cumulative list of all of the updates to Power BI Desktop in the last few year or two, see this blog.  Our two-day Power BI Desktop course always uses the latest version of the software.

Posted by Andy Brown on 20 March 2018

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Bookmarks

A bookmark preserves the state of a page, including sorting, filtering, slicer, spotlighting and visibility settings.  Since that sentence make no sense on its own, I've included  a three-stage worked example below to give you an idea of what's possible.

This blog only touches on what's possible with bookmarks - for more in-depth information, try Sam's much longer blog on bookmarks.

Step 1 - Setting up the example

Suppose that you want to make sorting really easy by providing big, slightly asymmetrical buttons:

Sort buttons

Clicking on a button should sort the regions in the appropriate order.

 

To do this, first add an arrow image:

Adding an arrow

Use this tool to add an arrow, then copy and paste it to get another.

 

You can change the Rotation property of an arrow to turn it upside down:

Rotating an arrow

To turn an arrow upside down, rotate it 180 degrees.

 

Step 2 - Creating bookmarks

Now create a bookmark.  First choose to display the Bookmarks Pane:

Displaying bookmarks

Tick this box on the View tab of the ribbon to show bookmarks.

 

Configure the table how you want it to look for the first bookmark:

Sorting descending

Here I've sorted the table into reverse alphabetical order by region.

 

Now choose to add a bookrmark:

Adding a bookmark

The tool to add a bookmark.

 

Rename it:

Rename this bookmark

Rename this bookmark, and call it Descending.

 

Repeat the above steps (but sorting the regions alphabetically this time) so that you have two bookmarks:

Ordering bookmarks

I've dragged the Ascending bookmark above the Descending so they come in a more logical order.

 

Step 3 - Assigning bookmarks to shapes

Now select one of the arrows:

Select an arrow

Here I've gone for the upward pointing one, which a user will click on to sort the regions in descending order.

 

With the shape selected, change its Link property:

Link property

Turn the Link property to On, then choose to get Power BI Desktop to go to a bookmark when someone clicks on the shape.

 

Choose the bookmark you want to link to:

Choose a bookmark

Here we'll link to the Descending bookmark, which has saved within it a view of the table in descending region name order.

 

Repeat the above steps for the other shape and bookmark, and you should have clickable sort buttons!  You can test these out by holding down the Ctrl key and clicking on a button:

Clicking on arrow

When you publish your report, you'll be able to go to a bookmark just by clicking on the shape (there will be no need to hold down the Ctrl key).

Some more ideas for how you might use bookmarks

The problem with bookmarks is that they give you a framework in which to work, but the rest is up to your imagination!  Here are a few ideas...

You could have a picture of a doughnut, such that when you click on it Power BI Desktop applies spotlighting to a doughnut chart on your page:

Spotlighting

Spotlighting (as shown here) is part of the settings saved as part of a bookmark.

Or how about a playing card picture, which when clicked hides all of the visuals on a page apart from a card of interest?

Selection pane

You can use the Selection pane to turn visibility off for all of the visuals on a page apart from one, then save this setting as part of a bookmark.

Or how about a series of pictures which you can click on to filter a chart?

Chart with pictures

When you click on the bird, the chart will display just data for Bird sales.  Obviously this could be on a different page.

My experience of bookmarks so far is that they allow much more innovative and dynamic reports, but that they're also quite fiddly and time-consuming to set up.

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