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Power BI Desktop update for May 2021
Part two of a six-part series of blogs

May's update to Power BI Desktop is a big one, encompassing new ways of viewing models, tables and fields, a new text box, smart narratives (to explain data) and a new anomaly detection feature (to explain exceptions).

  1. Power BI Desktop update for May 2021
  2. A new model view (this blog)
  3. Standardised table and field lists across Power BI views
  4. New text boxes
  5. Smart Narratives
  6. Automatic detection of anomalies

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 19 May 2021

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A new model view

This is - finally - now turned on by default:

The new model view

The new model view is cleaner and easier to read.

See the headings below for a summary of the new features that you can enjoy.

For existing reports you'll have to click on a prompt button to enable the new model view, but the big difference is that it will now automatically be turned on for new reports.

Collapsing and expanding tables

This is a great idea!  To give yourself more room, you can collapse tables:

Collapsing a table

Click on the obvious link to make a table shrink.


However, the implementation is weird.  Here's what you get for the above table for example:

Expand icon

A strange definition of collapsing! More "shrinking slightly". 


From what I can see the approximate rules are that when you collapse a table you will be left with two visible fields at the top, unless the table only has two fields in it (in which case you will be left with only one).

Table information

When you hover over a table's header you can see when it was last refreshed, and whether it uses Direct Query or not:

Header info

You can see the date and time when this table was last refreshed.

Hiding a table

You can click on the eye symbol next to a table's name to hide the table:

Hiding a table

Slightly oddly, when you hide a table Power BI also hides all of its fields (which seems to this blogger both superfluous and confusing, but that might just be me).


A full context menu

You can click on the three dots at the top right of a table to bring up a menu of everything you can do to the table:

Menu for table

The full list of everything you can do to a table.


A feature that didn't make it into the new view

Why, oh why, didn't Microsoft take this opportunity to ensure that relationship lines connect the right fields?

Relatiionship line

You can only tell which fields a relationship joins by hovering over it (the line in this diagram makes it look as if the RegionId in the left table connects to the TownId in the right table).

Microsoft Access has had this feature since its inception; surely it can be ported to the much more modern Power BI? 


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