Power BI is and incredible product, yet there are still niggling issues that can frustrate and annoy the best of us (me included). Having said that, changes and improvements are happening all the time and it is easy for new features that address old issues to slip past us without noticing. In today’s article I call out 3 improvements from recent releases that are worthy of your attention. The 3 items are
- Multi-Select Lasso Grab
- Formula Bar Copy and Paste Fix
- Personalising Visuals in the Service
Multi-Select Lasso Grab
Have you ever needed to select multiple visual assets on your report (eg so you can align them), and been frustrated that you had to control-click each one to do it? This situation is even worse when some of those visuals are buttons, as “selecting” a button and “clicking” the button use the same keystrokes in Power BI Desktop!
If you answered yes, then this feature will improve your quality of life. I know it has improved mine.
The recent April 2020 update of Power BI Desktop introduced the new lasso multiselect, allowing you to simply click and drag across your report to select multiple assets.
Note: If you want to copy everything on a page, you can also simply click anywhere on the page, and then Ctrl+a, to select everything.
Formula Bar Copy and Paste Fix
I am sure many of you have gritted your teeth as often as I have over this little bug. The use case is when you want to copy a measure formula and reuse it as a starting point for another measure. This should be simple: highlight the formula in the formula bar, then Ctrl+c to copy, create a new measure and Ctrl+v to paste. There has been a frustrating bug (for at least a year) that has made this simple process very difficult. If your mouse pointer was inside the formula bar when you released the mouse button, the highlighted text was blue, and you could copy successfully. If your mouse pointer was outside of the formula bar when you released the mouse button, the highlighted text was subtly grey and it could not be copied.
The difference was difficult to spot and you would likely end up not realising there was an issue until after you had created the new measure and tried to paste it. After realising there was an issue, you would then go back to your original measure and try again. And then you get annoyed because it ends up taking longer to copy and paste than if you had just written the new formula from scratch.
This is now fixed. When you highlight the measure in the formula bar, it doesn’t matter where your mouse pointer is when you release the mouse button, you can can always Ctrl+c to copy the blue highlighted text.
The Microsoft developers have fixed this little bug as part of the May 2020 release (I think Darren Gosbell of “DAX Studio” fame was the one that worked out the exact “issue” with this one and reported it to MS). It now just works. In fact the MS developers went one step further and made it as easy as ever to highlight the entire contents of the formula bar even if you only select part of the formula (see below).
Personalising Visuals in the Service
The last new feature I want to bring to your attention is the new capability to allow end-user customisation of visuals in your reports. Previously, the only ways end-users could explore and modify the properties of a visual was to have edit access to the entire report so they could manually alter the report to their liking, or to have the report author duplicate the visual, make the requested modifications, and save it back into the report (possibly with a bookmark to toggle the options). The new “Personalize Visuals” feature allows you, as report author, to set a freedom permission on the visuals in your report. This empowers your end-users to adapt and personalise visuals to their taste, all within the “read view” of a report in PowerBI.com.
In the visual below, you can see the default behaviour of a visual. In this instance, the only layer of interactivity available in the visual header are the drill icons, the filter funnel, and focus mode.
Personalize Visuals is currently a preview feature only, so to enable it we need to go into File, Options and Settings, Options. Then under the Global options you need to click on Preview Features and tick the Personalize Visuals.
Once activated, you’ll see a new section in the options of the Current File, Report Settings. Simply tick to allow report readers to personalise visuals to suit their needs.
In Power BI Desktop, you will now see a new icon present in the visual header of each visual. This icon indicates that the visual can be personalised. Turning on this feature will result in all visuals on your report having the freedom of personalisation.
You can turn this off for specific visuals if you like. To turn it off, first select the visual, navigate to the format options, find the Visual Header card, scroll all the way to the bottom and turn off the personalisation option.
When you share your report on PowerBI.com with the Personalize Visuals feature turned on, your readers will see the new Personalize Visual icon in the visual header. They will be able to interact with the visual and customise it to their needs. This isn’t just limited to the look, either. This feature gives the end-user the flexibility to:
- Change the visualisation type
- Add or swap out a measure
- Alter a dimension (Axis or Column)
- Add or remove a legend
- Compare two or more different measures
- Change aggregations
It gives them the power to redesign the visual to meet their needs and preferences.
Comments and Thoughts?
These are just a few of the improvements that came out over the last couple of months. What are your thoughts? Do you like these new features? Are there other features you think deserved a mention?