If you work in Power BI on a daily basis, it is worthwhile to follow the Power BI new features summary update that Microsoft releases each month.
Keeping up with the latest additions allows you to enhance your analytics and Business Intelligence solutions and make the development of Power BI reports and Power BI dashboards more efficient than ever before.
In their monthly update, called a “feature summary”, Microsoft is very specific about each new feature. They provide detailed instructions on where to find it and how to use it.
Nevertheless, we have decided to look closer into these Power BI feature updates. We have chosen the major ones, and try them out, providing a condensed overview.
In this article, we will dive deep into new Power BI features in Service, Mobile, and Paginated Reports in January, February, March, and April.
Power BI Service
New Get Data experience
First, Microsoft Power BI has enhanced the Get data experience. In the Power BI Service, the Get data page was upgraded, which allows access to comparable features within workspaces:
- When uploading files to Power BI, such as a pbix file, xlsx, or rdl, you can use the Upload option. It enables you to upload files from your local computer or connect to data sources on OneDrive or a SharePoint site (no need to connect to files on a personal OneDrive account),
- When creating Power BI datasets from data sources such as Excel or CSV, you can now access that functionality through the New > Power BI Dataset option in the workspace you want to create the Power BI dataset in,
- When uploading a Power BI dataset, you are taken to a new page with options to create a dataset of an Excel, CSV, or by pasting data. Once you select the file, the behavior used to generate the dataset is the same as previously used on the Get data page. Once the Power BI dataset is created, you’ll be taken to the dataset’s details page in the Data Hub.
Storytelling in PowerPoint
Another major update in Microsoft Power BI Service is the general availability of Power BI’s integrations with PowerPoint. As a result, Power BI users can include interactive Power BI data visualizations in their PowerPoint presentations.
If you are excited about this feature, you should keep in mind that:
- Power BI/PowerPoint integration is possible in all Microsoft clouds,
- You can visualize data with one click,
- You can use smart insights to get a text narrative of the data displayed in the add-in.
The Power BI Storytelling add-in for PowerPoint allows you to add Power BI reports and visuals to PowerPoint slides. As a result, you can enjoy the dynamic, interactive experience of live Power BI data inside your presentations.
There was already a small enhancement, which is a new styling menu item called outlines. You can use the outline to:
- Add a border to your add-in, making your Power BI data stand out,
- Get the default style,
- Customize the border to fit your slide and data.
Power BI orgnization app multiple audiences
In August 2022, Microsoft announced the launch of the public preview for multiple audiences for Power BI org apps. In March 2023 it finally became generally available.
Consequently, the multiple audiences feature will now be supported by Power BI Mobile. With multiple audiences for an app, the Power BI app creator can create multiple audience groups with the same app and assign different permissions to each group.
If you want to read more about this feature, I highly recommend a detailed article on the Microsoft site.
Announcing new Scanner API scenarios
The Scanner API is an element of the Microsoft Power BI admin API. It enables administrators to automatically retrieve meaningful information about their organization’s Power BI assets, such as:
Then they can leverage this information for their own custom-made solutions.
The feature was created to improve the efficiency and performance of the Power BI scan. What is more, it allows for large numbers of data assets while still conforming to the security practices of companies. The scanner allows for service principal authentication and incremental scanning and returns metadata such as endorsement status, or sensitivity label.
The Scanner API reached general availability over a year ago. Since then, an increasing number of businesses have been actively taking advantage of it to better understand their products, get meaningful insights that assist them in making data-driven decisions and achieving their governance goals.
As a result, to further develop this feature, Microsoft added several new capabilities, such as:
- Additional artifact metadata, such as scheduled refresh settings, RDL data source properties,
- Dataset sub-artifact metadata, such as dataset tables whose Enable load property is set to OFF, Row-level security configuration,
- Dataset sub-artifact coverage, such asXMLA changes, Autogenerated datasets, Datasets created via Quick create and Quick share, Web modeling modifications,
- Datamarts support.
Another update for Power BI Scorecards that has been added in 2023 is the possibility to subscribe to Power BI scorecards. As a result, Power BI users can receive email notifications and keep up with the most valuable scorecards for them and their Power BI team.
If you need to set up a subscription, you should select the Subscribe button in the ribbon and select Add new subscription in the pane that opens on the right side.
Then you can specify the details, such as:
- Email message details,
- Frequency, for example, hourly, daily, weekly,
- Set a scheduled time for the subscription,
- Specify the time zone,
- Select the start date and, optionally, the end date.
Apart from this, you can also include a link to the Power BI scorecard in the email and give recipients permission to view the scorecard. Once finished, you can save and close.
Once you subscribe, you will get an email from Power Bi with a table with the scorecard data (metric name, status, value, and due date). The table allows you to check up to 50 metrics, and you can add up to 24 subscriptions per scorecard, with unique recipients, times, and frequencies.
To check your current Power BI subscriptions, you can open the Subscriptions pane from a scorecard in My Workspace by clicking Manage all subscriptions.
New features to the deployment pipeline – viewing schema changes line-by-line
To enhance the deployment pipeline experience, Microsoft Power BI has also enhanced the Compare tool in the deployment pipeline. It allows report developers to deploy changes with confidence and significantly decreases the risk of errors and inconsistencies.
Microsoft has added the option to review an item’s changes line, as, from now on, they are:
- highlighted in its schema,
- presented in a dedicated pop-up window designed by industry standards for code comparison of several versions.
Choose whether to continue the deployment in the event of a failure
Moreover, to even further enhance the deployment experience for Power BI developers, data scientists, data engineers, or data analysts, Microsoft has introduced an option to continue the deployment when one item’s deployment fails.
Before, by default, a deployment stopped when it failed to deploy an item, so subsequent items were not deployed either.
From now on, there is an option to continue the deployment in such a case. Consequently, the failed item’s downstream items will be skipped, but other subsequent items will still be deployed.
Visualizing views in Power Apps with a Power BI quick report is enabled by default
This year, Microsoft has also made Power BI quick reports in Power Apps generally available. They can help you get data and share insights from business data easily from within business applications.
The feature represents a seamless integration of Power Apps, Power BI, and Dataverse into a single experience. One that allows every business user to turn data into meaningful insights with just one click.
As of now, everyone can create a visually appealing, meaningful interactive Power BI report based on a view in a model-driven app and save the report into the Power BI service easily.
Other Power BI Service improvements
Apart from the above, there were some minor capabilities updates in Microsoft Power BI Service, such as:
- Changing the follow metric to an alert icon for better association with notifications,
- Improving linked metrics by preserving parent-child relationships and the metrics’ order from the source scorecard in the destination scorecard and possibility to apply “set for all” to apply permission to descendant metrics on the source scorecard,
- Compact view for Power BI scorecards for better readability on smaller screens and better responsiveness.
Power BI Mobile
Discover external organizations’ content in your mobile app
The first quarter of 2023 also made it easier to access external content from Microsoft Power BI mobile apps. Now you don’t have to have a link to access such items. Instead, you can find them directly from the app itself.
If you have access to Power BI items from external companies, you can have these show up for quick access on the app’s home page by default. You just need to tap the newly added drop-down on the third content strip to change Recommended to From external orgs.
You can also access your external items by tapping the More option and choosing From external orgs.
Once you tap an item, you are navigated to the external tenant, where, as a guest user, you can view all the content that has been shared with you.
Granting access on the go
Another addition to Mobile Power BI is the possibility of getting a push notification on your mobile device whenever someone requests access to one of your Power BI reports. You just need to tap the notification to respond immediately.
Enhanced tooltips on visuals in the mobile app
In Mobile Power BI, Microsoft has also introduced a new look and feel for tooltips on visuals. Once you tap and hold on a data point, you get to experience a sleek, user-friendly tooltip that includes:
- a pointer to help you identify the selected data point,
- clear, easy-to-use actions (drill-down, drill-through),
- custom styling as configured by the Power BI report creator.
Moreover, Power BI report creators can disable a tooltip on mobile devices by changing the setting in the mobile layout visual formatting pane in Microsoft Power BI Desktop.
Hierarchies in the mobile app
The last major addition to Mobile is hierarchies for your Power BI metrics and Power BI scorecards. Adding them allows you to drill in easier and check the status at different levels of your data.
Hierarchies are available in the mobile map, where you can drill into the hierarchy to check progress and statuses, as well as do check-ins at different levels.
To view all the available hierarchies and change the selection in your Power BI reports, you can use the Hierarchies button in the scorecard footer.
Power BI paginated reports
As paginated reports are known for their use of parameters, Microsoft introduced a few accessibility improvements for better screen reader support and keyboard navigation, such as:
- The Date picker now has a Go to today, month, and year view to facilitate date selection,
- All dropdown list values are resizable, so you can drag and resize values with longer lengths.
Creating a report from a Power BI Datamart
Another major update is the possibility to create a paginated report directly from a Power BI Datamart:
- Directly from the context menu of a Power BI Datamart,
- From the Data Hub, click on the Power BI Datamart to open the details.
From now on, you can add filters when you create paginated reports in the Power BI service.
As a result, you can filter data at the report level, which means that the filter applies to all the pages of the report.
You can use two ways to add a column to the Filters pane:
- Select columns from the Data pane,
- Drag and drop inside the Filters pane to add data fields.
Data Preview has been updated to allow you to view the underlying data of a selected table or columns from the Power BI dataset. Moreover, you can export the data to supported file formats or create a Power BI report.
If you want summarized data, you can select Create paginated report, and if you want, you can also switch from summarized to underlying data by choosing more options in the Field data pane.
Capacity Planning for Paginated Reports
If you are interested in migrating your own organization’s enterprise on-premises Business Intelligence report to Power BI, you are now able to plan your Power BI Premium capacity to get the best performance out of your paginated reports. You can also look into the capacity document Microsoft prepared to decide which capacity (Power BI Pro or Power BI Premium) and Power BI license to use.
As you can see, the first few months of 2023 have already resulted in multiple Power BI new features in Power BI Service, Mobile, and Paginated reports. All of them aim at:
- enhancing the user experience with additional Power BI features,
- increasing the quality and efficiency of your Business Intelligence solutions in Microsoft Power BI, and
- enabling business users to make better data-driven business decisions using Power BI services.
As a result, it is advisable to check out Power BI new features and see for yourself which are the most useful for your needs to create reports and Power BI dashboards, taking advantage of the state-of-the-art capabilities that Microsoft developers add.
If you are also interested in the new additional features in Power BI in Reporting, Modeling, and Analytics, you can check out our article here. You can also check out what 2023 has brought to Power BI Datamarts, which have been part of the Power BI ecosystem for almost a year now, in this article.
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