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A run-through the new features in the August update of Power BI Desktop
Part eight 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
  6. Bookmark groups
  7. Showing slicer choices in the header - filter restatement
  8. Ability to change the categories of measures (this blog)
  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

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Ability to change the categories of measures

This general-sounding change is actually quite niche when you look into it.  It seems to have been included almost entirely to allow for the inclusion of dynamic URLs in matrices, so I'll give an example of this.

Unlike most pages in this blog series, this doesn't attempt to be a tutorial; I've included it just to show what the point of this new feature is.  If you do try implementing it yourself, be aware that the syntax of the URL used is very picky (not to mention case-sensitive)!

So suppose you've published a report containing this chart:

Chart on report

You want to make the chart show data just for a particular region's towns and a particular environment's habitats.

Getting the Report URL

After publishing, the unique URL of a report will be of this format:


where XXX is some long series of identifying numbers and letters unique to your user acccount.  To this you want to add the region id and environment id in a parameter string - the syntax is this:

Syntax of multiple filters

Notice the very picky syntax!  If you can read it, admittedly ...

Creating a measure to get the URL

So what I've done now is to create a measure which builds up this URL:

Measure for URL

Not for the faint-hearted!

Note that I've used the VALUES function to pick out the only environment id and only region id, so I must hide the matrix grand total (since these will refer to data from more than one environment and more than one region).

I now need to tell Power BI that this measure is a URL:

Making measure a URL

Select the measure, and choose to make it into a web URL.  This is the change introduced in this Power BI update!


Creating the matrix

I can now create a matrix displaying this measure:

Matrix with measure

I've chosen to display the URL as an icon, otherwise the text would be way too long!


The final system

I can now click on one of the icons to see data for just that region and environment:

Sales for environment and region

Sales for the environment and region chosen.

Except (full disclosure) I can't quite get it to work! The region filter is working fine, but the environment one is being ignored.

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