WiseOwl Training - Established 1992 Wise Owl Training

Established May 1992
30 years in business
Wise Owl Training
30 years in business
See 527 reviews for our classroom and online training
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 since November 2016 see this blog, or have a look at the Power BI courses that we run.

Posted by Andy Brown on 14 August 2018

You need a minimum screen resolution of about 700 pixels width to see our blogs. This is because they contain diagrams and tables which would not be viewable easily on a mobile phone or small laptop. Please use a larger tablet, notebook or desktop computer, or change your screen resolution settings.

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(






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.

This blog has 0 threads Add post