A summary of new features added to Power BI Desktop in the May 2018 update
Part four 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 (this blog)
  5. Improvements to slicer syncing
  6. Features still in preview as of May 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 14 May 2018

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Various improvements to charts

This page shows 3 small improvements made to charts for this update:

  1. You can now set a line chart to have an invisible line (or zero stroke width).
  2. You can show data labels within the blocks of a funnel chart.
  3. Log axes now work properly.

Below is an explanation and example for each change.

Line charts which don't have lines

Line charts with lines look very different to line charts without them!

Line chart with lines

This line chart shows for each year the highest and average number of sales.

 

However, you can now set the line stroke width to 0:

Line stroke width zero

A zero width line.

 

Here's what the result looks like:

Zero width line

A line chart without a line (just markers).

 

Note that to reproduce this example I had to change the x-axis Type property from Continuous to Categorical, so that I could display markers.

Data labels in a funnel chart

A neat feature is that you can show for each bar of a funnel chart what percentage it constitutes of the previous one:

Funnel chart data label options

Here I've chosen Percent of previous.

Here's what the result might look like:

Data labels

Power BI only displays the labels within the bars when there is room to do so.

Log axes now working properly

Providing that all of your values are positive, these help show a chart where one value is far more than the others:

Chart with one large value

In this chart the Shopping Centre figures dwarf the others, and makes comparisons difficult.

 

You've been able to show this as a log chart for some time:

A log chart

You can change the Scale type to Log to flatten out effects.

 

This makes your chart look very different:

Log chart

I'm not convinced that this is a meaningful way to compare sales data by centre type, but it does illustrate log charts!

 

So this isn't a new feature, but an improved one.  Here's what Microsoft have to say on the subject: "While we have supported (using a) log axis for a very long time, the support has been inconsistent across charts and could sometimes be hard to use".

If your chart includes negative values, you get a warning message in the properties pane:

Negative sales

Mysteriously, we've managed to make negative sales for one of our centre types.

Here's the warning message:

Warning message

Note that although the triangle symbol always appears, it seems to be hard to get the popup caption to appear (sometimes it flashes in the background only). No doubt this is a tiny bug which will be ironed out very soon.

 
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