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A summary of the new features introduced in the September 2018 Power BI update
Part two 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 (this blog)
  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

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 21 September 2018

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Report page tooltips

These have emerged, blinking, from the darkness of preview mode into the light of day!

Report tooltip example

When you hover over the North West region for this table, you see a tooltip showing a breakdown of sales for the towns in this region.

Report tooltips are a nice and fun feature, but there's currently no way to interact with a report page tooltip (so you couldn't scroll down to see the other towns in the North West region in the tooltip above).

To create a tooltip effect like the one above, follow the numbered headings below.

Step 1 - Create a Tooltip Page

To create a pie chart page like the one shown above, create a page and give it these properties:

Tooltip properties

Give the page a sensible name so that you'll remember it's being used for a tooltip (here I've gone for Tooltip - region), specify that it is to be used as a Tooltip page and tell Power BI that it is of page size type Tooltip.


I think it helps then to display the page in the actual size that it will appear on screen:

Actual size view

Choose to display your tooltip page as it will appear on screen (then you won't be tempted to fit too much onto it!).


You might also like to hide your page, since you only want people to see it when they hover over a region:

Hiding a page

Right-click on the page to hide it.

Step 2 - Assign fields to your tooltip page

When do we want this tooltip page to appear?  The answer is whenever a user hovers over a region, but only when a user is aggregating data by region:

Assigning fields to tooltips

With your tooltip page selected, drag the RegionName field into the tooltip fields part of the field well. You can choose whether to display the tooltip when somenone is aggregating data for each region in a table, matrix or chart, or when they're aggregating (presumably counting) regions themselves.


Step 3 - Create your tooltip page

Having done all of this, it's time to create the page which you want to display as a tooltip:

Tooltip page visual

The pie chart looks cluttered because it's displaying data for all regions (when you hover over a region, Power BI will automatically filter it to show only towns for the region you're hovering over).

Step 4 - Create and customise your main page

Firstly, create your main page:

Main page visual

I've gone for a single table, summing sales by region.

Now with the above table selected, specify that it should display tooltips:

Tooltip property

Set the Tooltip formatting property to On.  If you then specify that tooltips should appear automatically (Auto), as for this example, they will appear according to the tooltip fields you've set for your separate tooltip report page (so in this case, whenever you're grouping data by region).  If you choose a specific named page Power BI will just display this page as a tooltip when you linger over this visual.


Providing that your tooltip report fits into its space, you'll now get a nice effect:

East Anglian towns

The pie chart is a bit ambitious, as it has too many data points to fit into the space allowed.

 One other thing: my Power BI Desktop file got corrupted and was unusable after I deleted a page referenced by tooltips.  Just a warning!

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