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A summary of new features added to Power BI Desktop in the May 2018 update
Part five of a six-part series of blogs

New features introduced into Power BI Desktop in this update include conditional formatting by different fields, the inclusion of filters in drill-through and minor improvements to line and funnel charts.

  1. Power BI Desktop - May 2018 update new features
  2. Conditional formatting by different fields
  3. Drill-through uses all field values and works with measures
  4. Various improvements to charts
  5. Improvements to slicer syncing (this blog)
  6. Features still in preview as of May 2018

For a cumulative list of all of the updates to Power BI Desktop since November 2016 see this blog, or have a look at the Power BI courses that we run.

Posted by Andy Brown on 14 May 2018

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Improvements to slicer syncing

The May 2018 update has introduced a couple of improvements to the synchronisation of slicers.  Before I explain these, you'll first need to have the Sync slicers pane open.

Showing the sync slicer pane

In February 2018, Microsoft introduced synchronised slicers:

Sync slicers tick box

You can tick this box to show an additional pane for synchronising slicers.

How synchronised slicers work

To understand how synchronised slicers work, the easiest thing to do is to create one and copy it a few times:

Copying a slicer

So I've got a slicer on page 1 of my report which allows me to choose an environment, and I want to put a copy of this onto pages 2, 3 and 4.


Every time I paste the slicer onto a new page, I see this message:

Choosing to synchronise slicers

I've selected the default Sync button in each case, so all of my slicers are synchronised.

You can see the results in the Sync slicers pane:

Sync slicers choices

The slicers on pages 1, 2, 3 and 4 are all visible (that's what the right-hand column means) and all synchronised (that's what the left-hand column says!).


What this means is that if I make a choice on one page, this is replicated across the others:

Slicer choices

I've chosen to view data for the Air environment on page 1, but the slicers on the other 3 pages will now also show this same choice (that's what synchronisation means).


Grouping slicers

Suppose, however, that you want pages 1 and 3 to be synchronised, and pages 2 and 4, but you want the two groups to be independent of each other?  To do this you can choose Advanced options to assign each slicer to a group:

Hufflepuff group

I've selected the slicer on page 1, and typed in a group name of Hufflepuff. Notice that the Sync slicers pane is now showing that this isn't synchronised with any other slicer (because no other slicer belongs in the same group).


I'll now go to the slicer on page 3, and repeat the process:

Slicer on page 3

You can see from the ticks against page 1 at the top of this pane that the slicers on pages 1 and 3 are now synchronised, as they belong to the same group (Hufflepuff).


By assigning the slicers on pages 2 and 4 to Ravenclaw, I can synchronise them:

Slicers on pages 2 and 4

Pages 2 and 4 belong to the same group too (although it's a different group from the one for pages 1 and 3).


A neat way to choose how to synchronise slicers (although I do wonder just how many people would ever want to use this feature).

Finally - updating related slicers

There's one other change in the new update - you can update multiple slicers at the same time:

Sync field changes

The all-important tick box.


Well, to some extent anyway.  I decided I wanted the slicer on page 4 to slice by centre type, and not environment, so I made two changes:

Slicer changes

The slicer has a different title, and filters by a different field.


The slicer on page 2 (which belongs to the same group) has been partially updated:

Page 2 changes

Good news: the field has been changed. Bad news: the title hasn't been.


Meanwhile, the slicers on pages 1 and 3 haven't been affected, since they belong to a different group.

What this shows is that data changes are replicated between two or more slicers in the same group, but formatting changes aren't.

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