New features introduced in the May 2019 update of Power BI
Part three of a six-part series of blogs

There's not much new in this month's update. The Performance Analyzer is a great idea, for working out which bits of your report are running slowly, but all of the other changes are minor (as you'll see if you read this blog!).

  1. Changes to Power BI in the May 2019 Update
  2. Analysing the speed of Power BI reports
  3. Speeding up reports (this blog)
  4. Small changes for line chart and KPI labels
  5. Improvements to geolocation in ArcGIS Maps
  6. Features currently in preview for Power BI

For a cumulative list of all of the updates to Power BI Desktop in the last few years see this blog, or have a look at the Power BI courses that we run.

Posted by Andy Brown on 20 May 2019

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Speeding up reports

Staying with the theme of analysing why reports are running more slowly, Microsoft have introduced two new ways to speed them up.

Stopping the automatic creation of unnecessary date tables

You can use the CALENDAR or CALENDARAUTO function in DAX to generate date tables automatically (Sam has recently blogged about this):

Date table functions

These functions analyse all of the tables in your model, and generate a date table accordingly.

 

However, if (like me) you'd much prefer to load your own date table, you can now tell Power BI to stop creating the internal date tables needed to support the above feature:

Auto date/time for new files

Go to File => Options, and untick this box to stop Power BI creating unnecessary internal date files for each table.

Except this new feature seems to be disabled by default anyway after you update Power BI (on my laptop, this box was already unticked).

Cancelling queries

It seems that Power BI was completing the execution of queries, even when their results weren't going to be needed.  Microsoft have added the following optimisations:

Number Scenario
1 When you change filtering or slicer choices, any running query dependent on previous choices made is cancelled.
2 When you hide a visual, any query being run to populate/display the now-hidden visual is cancelled.
3 When you switch to a different report, any queries running for visuals on other pages are cancelled.
4 When you close a report, all of its running queries are cancelled.

It's quite surprising that this didn't happen anyway, but reassuring to know that your computer is no longer chugging away to generate data which will never be used.

Note that all of the above is for Power BI Desktop only at the moment, although Microsoft intend to roll similar features out to Power BI Service soon.

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