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The March 2020 update to Power BI desktop is a full one, as this blog shows!
Part ten 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)
  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 (this blog)
  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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Query Diagnostics

This is a strange new feature - it's almost as if Microsoft are embarrassed about it!  Here's what the Microsoft March update page has to say:

Query Diagnostics update

And yet the blog covers every other new feature in detail!

Query Diagnostics allow you to pinpoint bottlenecks in your data retrieval.  To see how it works, the steps below show how to test whether a table of regions is taking a long time to load.

Start Diagnostics

Go into Query Editor, and choose to start your diagnostics:

Starting diagnostics

Click on this tool in the Tools tab of the ribbon.

Refreshing your test table

Without doing anything else in Query Editor, return to Power BI and right-click on the table whose load speed you want to test:

Refreshing a table

Right-click on the table name, or click on the ... button.


Choose to refresh your data:

Refresh menu option

Select this option to load the latest version of this data.


Wait until the data has refreshed:

Wait for refresh

Wait until this message disappears.


Stopping diagnostics

Don't forget now to stop your diagnostics running:

Stopping diagnostics

Return to Query Editor, and click on this tool to stop your diagnostics running.

Interpreting diagnostic results

You should now have two tables giving your results:

Diagnostics tables

You get one table of detailed results, and one giving summary information.


Here's the start of the summary table:

Results table

Even this simple refresh (of a query containing only 4 steps, and returning only 9 rows) generated a table with 18 columns of data and 25 rows.

And at this point, I hand over control to those people who understand the minutiae of how Power Query loads data.  Microsoft have promised a deep dive into the subject next month ...

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