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Changes to Power BI Desktop for August 2021
Part two of a five-part series of blogs

This month sees individually customisable shapes and further refinements to the X axis constant line, among other improvements to Power BI Desktop.

  1. Changes to Power BI Desktop for August 2021
  2. You can now tweak the properties of individual shapes (this blog)
  3. More options for the X axis constant line
  4. Sharing Q and A synonyms
  5. A New Date/Time Format for DAX

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 31 August 2021

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You can now tweak the properties of individual shapes

It's not PowerPoint yet, but Power BI now lets you tweak the appearance of certain shapes:

House and speech bubble

Alongside the owl image the shapes used here are a speech bubble and an up arrow.


To show how this works, let's use the example of a speech bubble (which seems to be the most customisable shape).  To get the one above, start by adding a basic shape:

Speech bubble

The range of shapes available, with the speech bubble shape selected.


Change the background colour and transparency of the shape, and round off the edges (all of these are standard formatting options):

Before shape After shape
Before After

Add some text:

Adding text to speech bubble

The properties used for the speech bubble in the screen shot at the top of this page.


You can now fine-tune where you want the speech bubble's arrow to be:

Positioning arrow

The best way to do this is by trial and error! The settings shown here would give the arrow below.


Here's the final call-out:

The final speech bubble

Make sure you position this "above" the owl image, so that it isn't obscured by it.


As one other example, here are the settings for the "house" in the top screen shot:

House settings

By making the shaft of the arrowhead a high percentage of its length and the stem a high percentage of its width, we can turn the arrow into a house.


Be warned that customising shapes is a frustrating experience in Power BI, as you'll continually want to click and drag on parts of the shape which don't exist (everything is still done - as ever - through the formatting properties).

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