Power BI updates in Reporting, Modeling, and Developer in 2023, part 3

BI & Data Science Analyst at 10 Senses

Microsoft Power BI is a suite of business analytics tools that is currently is a business intelligence (BI) market leader. It equips organizations and users worldwide with powerful analytics tools to analyze data and share insights with key stakeholders.

Although Power BI already has numerous powerful features, Microsoft enhances Power BI with new features on a regular basis and publishes summaries each month.

To keep up with all the changes, you need to visit the latest news from Power BI on the Microsoft Power BI blog every month. Nevertheless, we have decided to look closer into these Power BI updates and try them out, and we are excited to announce the third part of the 2023 feature summary update.

We have already covered the 1st and 2nd quarters of the 2023 feature summary here. In this article, we will go through all the Power BI updates in Reporting, Modeling, and Developer in August, September, and October. Let’s dive in!

Power BI: new features in Reporting

New layout switcher

When it comes to the Reporting new features, Microsoft added buttons that facilitate switching between web and mobile layouts when you develop your business intelligence solutions in Power BI. From now on, you can find them at the bottom left of the screen, right below the canvas:

Power BI updates - new layout switcher

New bubble range scaling setting

There has also appeared a new customization option in scatter charts and map visuals, which is the bubble range scaling setting.

This new feature allows you to better control the bubble (marker) sizes in the formatting options menu. As a result, you can make it more distinctive or accurate based on the needs of target business users.

Power BI updates - range scaling in map visuals

Using the magnitude option, you can simply adjust the bubble or marker areas to the data proportions.

Power BI new features - range scaling in bubble charts

You can find this new feature in Format pane –>Markers –>Shape –>Range scaling for scatter plots, or Bubbles –>Size –>Range scaling for map visuals.

As you can see, there are 3 options available for this new functionality:

  • Magnitude: to make the bubble areas follow the data proportions,
  • Data range: to make the bubble size be mapped to data minimum and maximum,
  • Auto option (default setting for all new reports): to make Power BI choose the optimal option based on data characteristics.


All reports not created in the Power BI new version will have these settings defaulted to Deprecated for scatter plots and Data range for map visuals:

Power BI new features - range scaling in scatter charts

Interactive canvas in mobile layout

Another useful addition to the Power BI Mobile and Reporting features is the mobile canvas interactivity.

As a result, you can test how buttons, slicers, and visuals behave on your application before you publish the report.

Apart from this, you can also directly interact with visuals, adjusting, for example, column headers.

Smart Narrative visual update

There has also been an upgrade to the Smart Narrative visual.

As a result, from now on, when presenting data for a column, it can display either text or numeric values. Up until now, it could only show numeric values.

Integration of Power BI Desktop OneDrive and SharePoint

In the 2nd quarter overview, we mentioned the update concerning opening, saving, and sharing reports in OneDrive and SharePoint.

Recently, Microsoft has improved this new capability, and, consequently, you now can:

  • Use the file menu to open all reports stored in SharePoint and OneDrive.
  • Save files directly to SharePoint and OneDrive.
  • Share reports stored in SharePoint and OneDrive directly from Power BI Desktop.


As a result, you can easily streamline your workflows if you use OneDrive and SharePoint to collaborate on Power BI reports in your organization.

Also, these new possibilities release you from the need to download PBIX files from SharePoint or OneDrive, as you can just interact with your report directly in OneDrive or SharePoint.

Moreover, these advancements have made ad-hoc reporting easier, as new users will feel comfortable with the familiar Office interface.

Deduplication settings for composite models

As you probably know, tables and measures in data models need to have unique names.

Nevertheless, if you use composite models, it is easy to find yourself in a situation where tables and measure names, coming from different data sources, have duplicate names and are not unique.

Until now, Microsoft automatically renamed measures and tables for you. For example, it renamed one table to “Sales 2” when there were already two tables with the name “Sales”. Unfortunately, such a fix led to confusion when it was not clear which data sources this “Sales 2” table came from.

Luckily, with the deduplication feature, you can add name disambiguation settings in a composite model when you are aware that there are name conflicts with measures or tables from another source.

You can set up a text to be added as a prefix or a suffix. You can also decide whether Power BI should add when a duplication occurs or all the time.

Power BI update - deduplication settings

Source: Power BI October 2023 Feature Summary | Microsoft Power BI Blog | Microsoft Power BI

Preview Power BI feature updates in Reporting

Updates to On-Object Interaction

On-object interaction has already been mentioned in earlier condensed Power BI feature summary updates on our blog.

This is one of the preview features that Microsoft upgrades on a regular basis, adding improvements based on users’ feedback and bug fixes. As a result, recently they have added:

  • resizing and positioning the on-object menus,
  • supporting sub-selections in spotlight and focus mode,
  • date hierarchy on the data flyout,
  • placeholder text for direct text editing,
  • ribbon and funnel charts now support on-object formatting.


Resizing and positioning the on-object menus

From now on, you can freely resize the on-object menus horizontally. It allows you to work more smoothly with long field names when adding new visuals.

Apart from resizing, Microsoft has also improved the positioning of the on-object menu.

From now on, it effectively uses the whole canvas space. Instead of trying to be super small and fit into small spaces, now it automatically finds the best place and positions itself in a way that users don’t need to scroll to build new visuals.

Supporting sub-selections in spotlight and focus mode

Another useful On-Object interaction update is the possibility to use the on-object menu when spotlighting the visual or working in focus mode.

As a result, you can use the menu to subselect formats and styles in spotlight mode.

When it comes to the focus mode, there is a button that indicates that you are in the format mode. You can also notice a subtle border.

Date hierarchy on the data flyout

When you work with dates, you usually need to choose whether to use a hierarchy or a raw date field. Recently, Microsoft added an option to switch between hierarchy and raw on the data flyout as well.

Placeholder text for direct text editing

Another useful update is adding a placeholder for text elements that have no auto value set on, for example, table titles.

When you use direct text editing, you will see placeholders appear in the settings if you delete all the characters, but the text element is still on.

Keep in mind, though, that the placeholders appear when certain visuals are selected while editing. Also, they appear directly in the new visual, not in the format pane.

Ribbon and funnel charts now support on-object formatting

Finally, editing ribbon and funnel charts has become easier as you can format these charts directly on-object and apply customization options:

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Power BI Home in Desktop

Power BI Home in Desktop is a new Power BI experience.

If you enable this preview feature, once you open Power BI Desktop, you will see a hub where you can analyze data, share, or manage all your reports from one single location.

As a result, you no longer must navigate through menus and tabs to create or start a report. With the new Power BI in Desktop Home, you can:

  • create a new report directly from the new home screen,
  • access reports from recommendations,
  • locate your most recent reports using the Quick Access lists.


Power BI: new features in Modeling

ORDERBY DAX function update

In August, the function ORDERBY was updated. It allows you to specify where to order blanks in your data by adding “BLANKS LAST”, or “BLANKS FIRST”.

Nonetheless, handling blank specifications is fully optional. If you use these settings, though, you can specify the order direction for handling blanks (descending or ascending).

Valid options involve:

  • Blanks default: for numerical values, blank values are ordered between the range 0 and negative values. For strings, blank values are ordered before all strings, including the empty ones.
  • Blanks first: ordering blanks at the beginning, despite the ascending or descending sorting order,
  • Blanks last: ordering blanks on the end, despite the ascending or descending sorting order.


MINX and MAXX DAX functions update

Apart from the ORDERBY function, Microsoft has updated the MINX and MAXX DAX functions as well.

Up until now, these functions ignored text, boolean values, or mixed data types (for example, text and numeric). Nonetheless, with the latest update, you can add an optional variant parameter set to TRUE, which tells functions to take into consideration text values as well.

Nevertheless, the default value of the MINX and MAXX functions optional variant parameter is FALSE. Therefore, all existing expressions will not be affected by this enhancement.

General availability of editing relationships in the properties pane

The option to edit relationships in the properties pane had been available as one of the preview features. Now it has gained general availability.

As a result, from now on, all you need to do to edit relationships in your model is click on any relationship line in the modeling. This feature is available both in the Power BI Service and Desktop.

Editing linguistic relationships in a Q&A setup

As you probably know, Q&A is a powerful visual that helps users better understand business data and get answers by asking questions and getting responses in the form of visuals.

Consequently, it provides users with an alternative option to explore their data in ways that are not covered by the rest of the report without deep knowledge of the model or report authoring.

Although the visual is effective at responding to precise questions about data, it sometimes struggles to associate every single word or phase a user puts in with the data in the model.

To resolve this issue and ensure that the Q&A visual equips users with the most accurate answers to their questions, Microsoft has upgraded the visual with setup tools to analyze data more effectively.

As a result, users can now equip the visual with synonyms for column and table names in the model.

Nevertheless, some terms, like verbs or adjectives, cannot be defined with such straightforward mappings, as they are best understood when they are part of a whole phrase. Therefore, they qualify other terms or relate other terms together.

Microsoft addressed this issue as well and has added an entire tab. Using these settings, you can create and manage linguistic relationships for your data and enhance your Q&A visual.

As you can see, in this new tab, you can define a wide selection of relationships, like:

  • verb,
  • adjective,
  • noun,
  • preposition,


and more. You can choose which type best fits the term you are trying to define, then follow the prompts to define what it translates into in the context of your data.

Preview Power BI feature updates in Modeling

Updates to editing your data model in Power BI Service

In April, we already covered adding the possibility to edit your data model in Power BI Online.

It was released to preview features, and Microsoft has been collecting users’ feedback and trying to improve the experience. As a result, Microsoft added a few enhancements that will improve the layout limitations, such as:

  • Synchronization of updates between Service and Desktop,
  • Editing model relationships.


Synchronization of updates between Service and Desktop

Firstly, from now on, once you make a change to layouts, they will persist between Desktop and Service. As a result:

  • all the modifications you make to data model layouts in the Desktop will be incorporated into the Service once you upload the PBIX file,
  • all the modifications you make to the model within the Service will be incorporated into the the Desktop once you download the PBIX file.


Editing model relationships

As a result, from now on, you can access, easily identify, and edit all relationships within your model directly in the Power BI service by selecting the “Manage relationships” button in the Home tab.

Once you click it, you will see a comprehensive view of all your relationships, along with key properties, in one location, where you can create new relationships or edit an existing one.

By using this features, you can apply filters and focus on specific relationships in your model based on cardinality and cross-filter direction.

Source: Power BI October 2023 Feature Summary | Microsoft Power BI Blog | Microsoft Power BI

Model Explorer public preview with calculation group authoring and creating relationships in the properties pane

Finally, the last update in preview reporting features is the public preview of Model Explorer in the model view.

Consequently, you can get a full overview of all dataset semantic modeling objects in one place and easily navigate between them.

As a bonus, you can also notice new icons in the Data pane.

It is worth mentioning that there is a predefined hierarchy in the model explorer. Measures will always be shown at the top, followed by calculation groups and, finally, the other tables in the model.

Calculation groups are a powerful feature that it is worthwhile to use. If you want to find out more about calculation groups, you can read more here.

Power BI: new features in Developer

Git integration improvements

The Git integration with Power BI topic was already covered by us in the article Why Git integration with Power BI is such a big thing.

Nevertheless, in September, Microsoft announced a few enhancements to this new feature, such as:

  • supporting paginated reports: developers of paginated reports can enjoy better collaboration, effective versioning, and modern developer workflows offered in Power BI and Microsoft Fabric,
  • checking out and switching branches in a workspace for performance improvements, easier conflict resolutions, and working smoother on a few branches,
  • adding an E2E CI/CD tutorial.


AppSource Visuals can now generate leads in the Partner Center and CRM

Another useful update in Power BI Developer is the possibility to get more leads through Power BI using the Desktop, or web embedded AppSource. In the past, you could only download your customer leads from the Microsoft Store (Appsource).

Now, when you want to access new customer leads, you can go to the Referrals workspace in the Partner Center. There you can find all the leads you receive from Power BI, AppSource, and your CRM, if you are connected.

Using these leads may significantly help you reach more clients and accelerate your business’s growth. Therefore, it is worthwhile to keep up with your top leads on a regular basis.

Publishing a Power BI Project (PBIP) directly from the Power BI Desktop

Another useful feature update in the Power BI Developer area is the possibility to publish your Power BI project (PBIP) files directly from your the Desktop. As a result, you no longer must save it as PBIX to activate the Publish option.

Once you have a Power BI project opened, you can navigate to the Home ribbon and choose File –> Publish –> Publish to Power BI or Publish. Then, you just need to choose the destination workspace and publish your PBIP there.

Summing up, the last three months have enhanced the Power BI suite of business analytics with powerful new features. It is highly recommended to try them out by yourself and check which Power BI updates can help you create more useful reports, monitor your business data, upgrade your data analysis, and generate actionable insights for business users.

In this article, we have covered the news from Power BI concerning Reporting, Modeling, and Developer capabilities. Nevertheless, in the upcoming days, there will be another part with Power BI Service updates, along with a few improvements in Power BI Mobile.

Therefore, in the meantime, download the latest version of Power BI, try out the above Power BI updates, and stay tuned for the next update!

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