A run-through the new features in the August update of Power BI Desktop
Part five of a nine-part series of blogs

This is a bigger update than most, largely because it includes two major new features emerging from preview (report themes and desktop Q&A), but it's the export to PDF feature which really catches the eye.

  1. New features in the August 2018 update of Power BI
  2. Exporting a report to PDF
  3. Report Themes
  4. Q and A improved and incorporated within Power BI Desktop
  5. Conditional formatting by field values (this blog)
  6. Bookmark groups
  7. Showing slicer choices in the header - filter restatement
  8. Ability to change the categories of measures
  9. Summary of features still waiting in preview

For a cumulative list of all of the updates to Power BI Desktop in the last few year or two, see this blog, or have a look at the Power BI courses that we run.

Posted by Andy Brown on 14 August 2018

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Conditional formatting by field values

This nifty new feature makes it easier to assign colours to different parts of a matrix or table.  I have this matrix, and I want to change the colours of the environments to something more suitable:

Colouring by field value

I'm thinking brown for land, blue for air and green for the sea ...

I could do this with conditional formatting as it stood before this latest release of Power BI, or I could hard-code the colours, but it will take a while for every table or matrix that i create.

The biggest drawback, though, is that if I have lots of categories I will have to create lots of conditions or assign lots of colours, which will quickly get quite tedious.

Assigning colours

What I've chosen to do instead is to add a calculated column to my table of environments, assigning a colour to each:

Assigning colours

See below for how to do this.

 

I did this by using the following DAX expression:

Colour = SWITCH(

tblEnvironment[EnvironmentName],

"Land","Brown",

"Air","Blue",

"Water","Green"

)

Creating conditional formats

I can now start to format my column colours like this:

Formatting value

Click on the drop arrow next to a Values section field in the field well, as always.

 

As before, you can choose whether you want to change the foreground or background colour, or add data bars:

Conditional formatting menu

Here I'm going for formatting the background colour of the matrix cells.

Now choose the new Field value option:

Field value option

The new option in this release of Power BI.

 

Choose the field you want to use for colouring:

Choosing a field

Power BI only lets you choose from text fields. Here I'm going to colour each environment by the first environment colour I find for it!

The results are disappointing, but that's just because I didn't use a hex shade of colour:

Coloured columns

Where's Laa Laa? And will anyone get that reference?

Wondering what happens if you choose a field whose values aren't colours?  I was too - the answer is that the background colours don't change, which I guess is what you'd expect.

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