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Details of the Power BI Desktop Update for April 2021
Part four of a five-part series of blogs

The April 2021 update to Power BI Desktop makes it easier to load text, CSV, JSON and Excel files and includes a wider range of shapes, with more drawing effects

  1. Details of the Power BI Desktop Update for April 2021
  2. Loading Text and CSV files by example
  3. Suggested tables for Excel (and JSON improvements)
  4. New and better shapes (this blog)
  5. Inverting axes of charts

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 28 April 2021

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New and better shapes

Historically you have been able to insert a small number of shapes in a Power BI report:

Previous shapes

The previous set of shapes that you could use.


Now this has changed!

Range of shapes

The much wider range of shapes that you can now insert.  You can also convert shapes in old reports (as shown towards the end of this page).


Adding text within shapes 

Having added a shape, you can set text to appear within it:

Text within shape

You can also set margins for the text within the shape, and controls its font colour and size.

Additional formatting effects for shapes 

In addition you can set shadow effects:

Shadow effects Final heart
These effects ... ... would show this shape.

And glow effects (although I'm struggling to see these!):

Glow effects Heart with glow
Glow effects ... ... won't change your life!

Impressively, you can also rotate not just a shape but (independently) the text within it:

Rotation effects Upside-down heart
Here the shape and text are rotated a quarter-turn together ... ... then both are separately rotated another quarter-turn.

Converting old shapes 

If you have some shapes in an old report (that is, one which predates the April 2021 update) you will be given the option to convert them:

An old shape

These slicers are surrounded by a rectangle shape with rounded borders.

To convert one or more shapes, click on a shape:

Selecting a shape

Here we've selected the rounded rectangle above.

Power BI shows a Convert button in the formatting pane: 

Converting a shape

You can click on this button to convert your shape to a newer format.


When you click on this button, you'll be given the option of converting all of the shapes in this report:

Upgrading shapes

Why not?


This doesn't bring any immediate benefits, but ...

Upgraded shape

The shape looks the same, but you can now add shadow, glow and rotation effects to it, as well as inserting text within it (should you want to).

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