Power BI Desktop Update – Feb 2019

Power BI has released their first update for 2019 for Power BI Desktop. This update is filled with some exciting features that enhance what you are capable of achieving through Power BI. Two of the most exciting updates is in the analytical section where the Key Influencers visual is a new addition that allows you to explore data that are influencing data points and the Q&A feature with added auto-generated questions provide very strong analytical capabilities to Power BI.

Here follows a short summary of the new features, which will be explained in this blog post.

Analytics 

  • Key Influencers visual (preview) 
  • Insights questions in Q&A 
  • Auto-generated suggested questions for Q&A explorer  

Reporting 

  • Improved filter pane formatting (preview) 
  • Word wrap on titles 
  • Update default visual interaction to cross-filter 
  • Rounded corners for visual borders 
  • Accessibility improvements for the new filtering experience (preview)

AI in Power BI – Analytics Updates

Key Influencers visual (preview)

A new visual is on offer from Power BI to preview this month, Key influencers. This is a visual that quickly makes sense of the key drivers of the input fields of a visual.

To activate this feature you need to navigate to the Options dialog, where you can enable the preview feature.

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In the Key Influencers fields you may insert fields you want to Analyze and the fields by which you want it to be analyzed, namely Explained by. The Analyze field serve as the input for the column that you would like to analyze the key drivers thereof. The Explain by field therefore serves as the input field for the variable that you want to analyze by.

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The visual has strong and quick analytical capabilities, once both fields have adequate values, the visual will run an automatic analysis and provide some interesting results. The visual is flexible in the way you would like to analyze your results by. You are able to change the value that you would like to explore. For example, if you had a survey where you would like to determine how likely someone is to buy a bike you may toggle the Analyze field to analyze what was the main influencers of someone who would buy a bike (1) and someone who won’t buy a bike (0).

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The visual comes with quite neat functionalities that really allows you to drill into your influencers. As seen in the image you are able to select a key influencer on the left and the visualization on the right will give you more information on that specific influencer. The visual further has the ability to filter by only those categories that really has the biggest impact on your influencer. This is especially useful if there are a lot of categories that may have an effect on the influencer, but you only require, like in most cases, to see the main categories. This may be filtered by checking the “Only show values that are influencers” checkbox on the bottom right to filter the visual.

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The second view of the visual is Top segments. This view will allow you to see data points within the topic that you are analyzing. In the below example we see segments of the population most likely to buy a bike.

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If you click on a segment, you can see the details of the segment including the number of data points in that segment, what percentage of the segment has the value of interest and key influencers for that segment. If I select segment 1 I can see that the segment is made up of people owning less than or equal to one car and comes from the Pacific region. This segment is 75.1 % likely to won a bike and is 26 percentage points higher than the average of 49.4 %.

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AI Insights questions in Q&A

The Q&A functionality comes with some more great features in the new release. You are now able to ask Q&A Insights related questions, such as “What is the comparative cost bet Q1 and Q3 of 2018” or “What is the effect on sales by marketing medium”.

Auto-generated suggested questions for Q&A explore

While the Q&A functionality is really useful there are times where you just don’t know what sort of questions to as from your data. This becomes much easier now with the new auto-populate suggested questions.

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Reporting

Improved filter pane formatting (preview)

Power BI released a new preview feature this past November, the filter pane. In this month’s release, the filter pane is greatly advanced where you can personalize your title text size, header text size, and font family to the Filter pane card. This is a great feature as it gives added professionalism to your reports as you can customize your filter to match your report formatting.

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The formatting pane also has some new features namely:

  • font + icon color
  • text size
  • font family, and;
  • input box colour

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Word Wrap on Tiles

One frustrating aspect around visuals was the truncation of visual titles. If you had a long title and not enough space on your visual, just a fraction of your title was displayed with the rest of title ‘hidden’. Those days are gone with the new functionality of word wrapping, working the same as in other Microsoft apps such as Excel.

Current title truncation looks as follow:

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The word wrap feature for the title of your visual is found in the formatting pane under the title.

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Your title will now be displayed in two or more lines.

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Update default visual interaction to cross-filter

The default feature of visuals to interact with each other is set to cross-highlight. Currently, when you want to update your filters to cross-filter you have to manually go one by one and update all of your visuals through the edit visual interactions feature. This is no longer necessary with the new release. You simply go to the Options dialogue and select the added option under Report Setting namely: Change default visual interaction from cross highlighting to cross-filtering.

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When this feature is selected your visual interactions will default to cross-filter. You will however still have the option to manually edit those visuals that you rather want to cross-highlight.

Rounded corners for visual borders

Another simple yet useful added feature that will enhance the flexibility that you have in formatting your visuals is the added the ability to round the corners of your visual borders. This option may be found in the formatting pane under the border card, select the border card and simply adjust the radius to suit your desired roundness of the borders.

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That is it for the summary of Power BI’s February release. If you want the full list of new feature please visit the link below to see the full Power BI release.

https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/power-bi-desktop-february-2019-feature-summary/