A summary of the new features introduced in the September 2018 Power BI update
Part eight of an eight-part series of blogs

The September update of Power BI finally breathes life into report page tooltips, which have been in limbo for a while. You can also copy data from Power BI reports by right-clicking, use some keyboard short-cuts for visual design, apply built-in themes, set fixed-width padding by column example and show categories on the X axis of scatter charts.

  1. Changes introduced in the September 2018 Power BI update
  2. Report page tooltips
  3. Copying values and records
  4. Keyboard short-cuts in Power BI Desktop
  5. Built-in themes
  6. Column From Examples now allows for text padding
  7. Improvements to dot (scatter) charts
  8. Features awaiting in preview as of September 2018 (this blog)

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 21 September 2018

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Features awaiting in preview as of September 2018

What does the near future hold, if you're a Power BI aficionado?  This page shows features currently in preview, with some notes below on what each new feature will bring to the Power BI party.

Microsoft have also said that they are working on providing the ability to copy a visual from one page to another - a long overdue addition, which probably will go live without passing through preview.

Here are the current features in preview:

Features in preview

The Shape map visual is the resident with the longest stay in this particular hotel ...

 

Here's my take on how each of the above features might affect your working life:

Feature Notes Rating Months
Shape map visual The release of the MapBox custom visual and ArcGIS visual makes it ever less likely that this will ever see the light of day. 4
M Intellisense Guessing your way round the M language (used to manipulate data loaded into your data model using Query Editor) will become much easier when this is introduced. 8 1
New From Web experience Currently you can only import data from HTML tables; this will analyse web pages and allow you to import almost any content. 8 5
Spanish language support for Q&A Will Power BI show better answers when you put your question in Spanish?  Time will tell - hasta luego. 2 8
Custom data connectors You'll be able to define your own connections to data sources, using the M language. 2 8
Get data from PDF files Impressively, you'll be able to load data into a model from tables in a PDF file. 7 1
Dates as a hierarchy When you create a date hierarchy, this will appear in the field well. 2 8
Python support The ability to specify a Python program which outputs data as a data source. 3 2
Incremental Refresh Policies For Power BI Premium only, to begin with, you'll be able to update only data which has changed. 7 5
Composite Models You'll be able to mix and match data sources (so have a report getting some data via DirectQuery and some not), as well as change how Power BI caches tables. 6 3
Direct Query mode for DB2 I imagine this will be of limited interest if you don't happen to use DB2! 1 1
Manage aggregations You will be able to load data at a summarised level into a data model (thus taking up far less space), while still allowing users to drill down to a lower level. 6 1

Notes:

  1. The subjective Wise Owl rating goes from 1 (of little importance for most Power BI Desktop users) up to 10 (will have a huge impact on your everyday report designs).
  2. The final column shows the number of months that each feature has spent in preview since I started tracking it.
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