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Our take on the April update to Power BI (announced on May 6th!)
Part two of a five-part series of blogs

It was announced 6 days after the end of the month, but the April 2020 update to Power BI was worth waiting for - if only for the fact that you can now select visuals by clicking and dragging with the mouse. See our take on the new features in this update in the latest in our series of monthly update blogs.

  1. April 2020 update to Power BI
  2. Three significant changes to your everyday Power BI use (this blog)
  3. Custom theme editor
  4. Other changes in the April 2020 Power BI update
  5. Features waiting in preview

We've been creating our idiosyncratic monthly blogs on Power BI updates since November 2016, and also deliver online and classroom Power BI courses.

Posted by Andy Brown on 09 May 2020

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Three significant changes to your everyday Power BI use

This pages lists - for us - the big changes to Power BI in the April 2020 update.  They won't let you do anything different, but they will change your existing way of working.

 

New visual icons

For us this is the biggest change!

New visual icons

The functions haven't changed, but the forms certainly have!  Personally I preferred the old icons (sorry).

 

We've just had to update our entire Power BI courseware to reflect the new ribbon; now we'll have to do it again for the new icons.  Pity the poor Power BI training company ... !

Easier way to select visuals (rectangular lasso)

This is long, long overdue - but has an irritating quirk.  Suppose I want to select these three visuals:

Selecting 3 visuals

Previously I would have had to hold down the Ctrl key and click on each visual in turn.

 

Alleluia!  I can now click and drag with my mouse to select the visuals:

Rectangular lasso

Microsoft call this a "rectangular lasso".  You'll probably calling it "clicking and dragging with your mouse".

But ... Power BI only selects the visual wholly contained within the drawn area (which is why my pie chart isn't selected above).  Please, Microsoft: change this!

Making conditional formatting more obvious

This is probably the most obvious change which has been waiting to happen to Power BI.  Wherever a property can be set to be a conditional expression, it's now obvious that this is the case:

Conditional expression icon

The fx symbol shows that you can set the title of a visual, for example, to be a measure.

 

I've shown in previous update blogs how to set conditional expressions for different visual properties (here and here, for example).

This was a puzzling omission.  Reporting Services used the method above to show a property whose value could be an expression - why did the Power BI team take so long to adopt the same successful approach, rather than asking users to hover over properties in the hope that a pop-up menu might appear?

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