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Power BI November 2021 Update
Part two of a six-part series of blogs

This month's update is a biggie, with the introduction of a page navigator and a bookmark navigator, but it's the new formatting pane waiting in preview which will really changes people's lives.

  1. Power BI November 2021 Update
  2. Preview features: new formatting pane and scorecard visual (this blog)
  3. Create a page navigator
  4. Bookmark navigators
  5. Two small improvements to charts
  6. Text boxes support bullet points and superscript/subscript

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 23 November 2021

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Preview features: new formatting pane and scorecard visual

I try not to blog about new features in Power BI which are in preview, but this month sees two exciting announcements that I can't ignore.

Two new preview features

November 2021 sees a new format pane and new scorecard visual pop up in preview.


The new format pane

I will blog about this properly when it's integrated into Power BI, but here are some impressions.  The first one is that the most important tools in Power BI have moved and changed:

Format and fields tools

The data, format and analytics tools are now above the visualisations pane.


Formatting properties are split into two parts - ones specific to a visual, and general ones:

The new formatting pane

The properties are now so much easier to set!


Here's what you see for a pie chart's visual-specific formatting properties for example:

Visual format properties

The properties are not only presented in a better way, but are categorised better too (Microsoft have sensibly added subcategories too).


Double scroll-bars are a thing of the past:

Double scroll bars are toast

Now scroll bars just expand as necessary (the double-scroll bar required very fine mouse skills to use, and I won't miss it!).


In many cases you can now choose what the changes you're making will apply to:

Changing a button

Changing button settings, for example, is easier now because you can say which aspect of the button's formatting you're updating.


Results from the search box are much easier to interpret:

Search box results

It's much easier to see, for example, all of the properties to do with the word font.


Microsoft have clearly put an immense amount of work into this change, going through every format property of every visual to see how it should be represented on screen, making this one of the best changes to hit Power BI for some time.  I would give this change a rare 10/10 (that's like a Paul Hollywood handshake, for "Great British Bake-Off" fans).

A new scorecard visual

Scorecards and goals have been popping up in Power BI Service regularly now for some time, but I've avoided blogging on them because I try to restrict my updates to changes that will affect desktop developers.  However, there's now a new scorecard visual in preview:

Scorecard visual icon

The new scorecard visual has a cute cup icon.


If you add a scorecard, you're prompted to sign in to Power BI Service:

New scorecard visual

The message which appears when you add a scorecard visual in Power BI Desktop.


After signing in, this changes:

Scorecard after sign-in

The new message which appears when you've signed in to Power BI Service.


In theory I can then create scorecards in the same way as on Power BI Service, although I couldn't actually get this to work in the preview version.  Here's what a typical scorecard looks like in Power BI Service:

Scorecard in PBI Service

A scorecard consists of a series of goals, measuring your progress against each at any point in time.

For those who haven't used them, the great thing about a scorecard is that you can choose to connect to a data point by clicking on it in a visual:

Connect to data point

Want to set a goal against your average production cost? Click on a figure representing this in a visual.

I'll blog about this properly when it goes live.  It'll be interesting to see whether you can view your progress for a scorecard in Power BI Desktop (I can't see how Microsoft are going to get round the fact that a scorecard can measure goals against lots of different datasets).

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