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

Not an earth-shaking update, but lots of nice new features nonetheless to make your life easier, including a better DAX editor, the ability to search for text when filtering a visual and a clever new connector which guesses what you want to import from a website.

  1. Changes introduced in the October 2018 Power BI update
  2. Changes to the DAX editor
  3. Filters are now searchable
  4. Explaining why an increase or decrease has happened
  5. Controlling exporting of data
  6. The Web by Example connector
  7. Other changes in the October 2018 update
  8. Features awaiting in preview as of October 2018 (this blog)

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 19 October 2018

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Features awaiting in preview as of October 2018

This page shows what you can look forward to seeing in Power BI in the coming months.

In addition to the features below, the latest update says that Microsoft are working on providing conditional formatting for charts, using the same functionality as for tables and matrices.  Watch this space!

Here are the current features in preview:

Preview features

And STILL the shape map remains in preview!

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 9
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 2
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 9
Get data from PDF files Impressively, you'll be able to load data into a model from tables in a PDF file. 7 2
Enable column profiling Query Editor will assess the quality of data when you import a column and list possible errors. 8 1
Dates as a hierarchy When you create a date hierarchy, this will appear in the field well. 2 9
Python support The ability to specify a Python program which outputs data as a data source. 3 3
Incremental Refresh Policies For Power BI Premium only, to begin with, you'll be able to update only data which has changed. 7 6
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 4
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 2
Enable fuzzy merge You'll be able to control how similar items have to be to be considered the same when merging data. 6 1

I'm not sure what happened to Custom Data Connectors, which have disappeared from the preview list without showing up in the update.


  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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