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The March 2020 update to Power BI desktop is a full one, as this blog shows!
Part two of a eleven-part series of blogs

New goodies in this month's update include the roll-out (sort of) of the new ribbon, new actions for buttons, multi-column sorting and a second axis for line charts.

  1. The March 2020 Power BI Desktop Update
  2. The new ribbon is live (sort of) (this blog)
  3. Page navigation buttons
  4. Drill-through navigation buttons
  5. Multi-column sorting
  6. Searching in the filter pane
  7. Line charts can now have a dual axis
  8. The new DAX COALESCE function
  9. Changes to ArcGIS
  10. Query Diagnostics
  11. Generating embed codes is now turned off by default

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 14 March 2020

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The new ribbon is live (sort of)

When you update your Power BI application, the following message should appear: 

Learning more about ribbon

Click on the link to see more information about the new ribbon (or failing that, click here).  The ribbon is actually still in preview mode, but the option is now turned on by default.

A summary of the new ribbon

Here are what the main ribbons look like:

The new Power BI ribbon

The main new ribbons.

There's also a new look to Power BI too (less yellow, more monochrome):

New monochrome look

It's all familiar, but not the same - the colours seem to have been muted a bit.


Collapsing the ribbon

A nice idea is that you can collapse the ribbon to make it take up less space (here it's collapsed to a single row):

Toggling collapsed ribbon

Click on this arrow at the top right of Power BI to collapse (or expand) the ribbon.

This will toggle your view of the ribbon:

Toggling ribbon view

Here we've reverted to the full ribbon.

Custom number formats

My favourite new feature of the ribbon is that you can now type custom number formats into a sensible place:

Custom number formats

If you want a column or measure to appear with a custom number format, you can type this into the Format box (although nothing tells you that you can do this!).

After about 5 different goes, Microsoft have finally got number formatting right in Power BI!

Dynamic context

The ribbon now reflects what you're doing - so (for example) if I've got a measure selected I see everything that I could do with measures:

Measure tools

The Measure tools part of the ribbon.

But if, conversely, I've got a calculated column selected, I see a different ribbon:

The calculated column ribbon

The Column tools part of the ribbon.

All very slick, and it makes Power BI easier to use (which can only be a good thing).

Keyboard short-cuts

You can now press Alt in combination with the Windows key to use short-cut keys:

Alt + Windows key

Hold down the Alt key and press the Windows key to enter accessibility mode.


Now you just have to learn all of the letters!

The home accessibility keys

The Home tab menu in accessibility mode.

Removing the new ribbon from preview

Technically the new ribbon isn't live yet.  What Microsoft have sneakily done is to enable its preview.  To undo this, select this option:

Options and settings

Select to change your options and settings.


Now untick this box:

Preview box

Untick the box to turn off the updated ribbon.

You'll need to restart Power BI to see the effect.

However, it's hard to see why you'd want to remove the ribbon: the options are much more sensibly organised, and I've found that it doesn't take any time at all to get used to it.

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