Happy Second Birthday Power BI - Excelerator BI

Happy Second Birthday Power BI

The 24th of July, 2017 is the second birthday for Power BI.  I thought I would take the occasion of its second birthday to reflect on all the great work that the crack Power BI team at Microsoft has done over the last year. I think it would be a tough job working in a large software company, trying to deliver great new features while not breaking any legacy capabilities.  We all have 20:20 vision with hindsight, but we must remember that Microsoft makes design decisions before we all get the benefit of hindsight. I just seriously want to say a big THANKS to the Power BI team for such an outstanding product. Please keep going – we are all depending on you for ongoing and continuous improvement.

Below is a list of all the major features delivered as part of Power BI desktop over the year.  I haven’t listed all the great work that has been done completely on the service side (or mobile for that matter).  Thanks to those teams as well.

Here is what has been delivered by the Desktop team (thanks to Ramana for collating this list for me).

Query Editing

New transform – Convert Table Column to a listSeptember 2016
New transform – Extract values from a nested listJanuary 2017
New transform – Extract text before/after/between delimitersMay 2017
New transform – Unpivot only selected columnsMay 2017
Query Editor ribbon support for scalar values – new Contextual Ribbon tabs that expose common transformations for Text; Date/Time and Number values.September 2016
Option to Merge/Append as New QueryAugust 2016
Query Dependencies viewSeptember 2016
Added Maximize and Restore buttons in Navigator and Query DependenciesNovember 2016
Add Column from ExamplesApril 2017
Add Column from Examples enhancements – provision of Suggestions and support for additional transformations including many Date/Time operations.June 2017
Add Column from Examples enhancements – support for additional transformationsJune 2017
Add Column from Examples enhancements – support for a few additional Number and Date/Time/Timezone data transformationsJuly 2017
Quickly change a column’s data type and locale with the new Using locale option in the Column headers type menuFebruary 2017
Support for percentage data typeNovember 2016
Expand & Aggregate columns – support for Load More valuesSeptember 2016
Add Column – Invoke Custom FunctionSeptember 2016
Invoke Function dialog – support for table parameters (holds both for built-in and custom functions). You can select an existing table query as the input value to the function.October 2016
Improved function authoring experience – When a function is created using Convert to Function on a query modifying the query steps will automatically modify the function code.November 2016
Split column by delimiter – automatic detection of delimiter characterMarch 2017
Split column (by delimiter/number of characters) into rowsApril 2017
Group by: basic modeApril 2017
Go to columnApril 2017
Easily insert steps into existing queries using the new Insert Step After optionFebruary 2017
Show Errors experienceSeptember 2016
Keyboarding – support for smart typing in drop-down menusSeptember 2016

Power Query Online Training

Report View

Predefined matrix styles (similar to table formatting in Excel)August 2016
Table and matrix column formattingNovember 2016
Matrix conditional formattingNovember 2016
Table and matrix conditional formatting improvement – blank formattingJanuary 2017
Table header word wrapJanuary 2017
Matrix row headers word wrapFebruary 2017
More URL support in table and matrix visualsMay 2017
New matrix visual (Preview)March 2017
New matrix visual enhancements (Preview):</br>column sorting</br>column resizing</br>word wrapApril 2017
New table visual (Preview)May 2017
Data bars for new table and matrix visuals (Preview)June 2017
New table & matrix visuals – general availabilityJuly 2017
Drill-down / drill-up on line chartsAugust 2016
Line chart – line thickness and join type controlsFebruary 2017
High density line samplingJune 2017
Continuous axis for the Date axisAugust 2016
Improved date axis range formattingOctober 2016
Hierarchical axisNovember 2016
Axis label and title color controlNovember 2016
X- and Y-axis font size controlFebruary 2017
Rename axis titlesApril 2017
Reorder fields in charts and tooltipsAugust 2016
Renaming fields in visualsJuly 2017
Inline Hierarchies – general availabilityAugust 2016
Updated drill experience – ability to use both inline hierarchy and older drill experience in the same visual.September 2016
Phone report layout (Preview)September 2016
Phone reports scrollingNovember 2016
Phone reports general availabilityJanuary 2017
Date slicerOctober 2016
Dropdown slicerNovember 2016
Numeric range slicer (Preview)March 2017
Relative date slicer (Preview)May 2017
Horizontal image slicerJune 2017
Combo chart formatting updates – Shade area of the lineJune 2017
Markers on line; area; and combo visuals (Preview)June 2017
Data label improvements – data label capabilities to column; bar; and waterfall charts – orientation; position and density.October 2016
Data labels on pie and doughnut visuals – percent of totalMarch 2017
Combo chart data label enhancementsMay 2017
Bing maps – two new formatting options – ability to set bubble size and set the zoom level and stick to it.October 2016
Bing maps improvements – Map themes and improved geo-hierarchy experienceJune 2017
ArcGIS Maps for Power BI (Preview)September 2016
Textbox – ability to choose font colorMarch 2017
mailto links in textboxMay 2017
Visual font family settingJune 2017
Combo chart formatting updates – Force zeros to align between the two axesJune 2017
Colour formatting for KPI visualAugust 2016
Report gridlines and snap to grid (Preview)October 2016
New aggregations for string and DateTime columnsJanuary 2017
Cartesian chart minimum category widthFebruary 2017
Report theming (Preview)March 2017
Accessible reportsJune 2017
Relative date filtersJuly 2017
Cross-highlight using multiple seriesMarch 2017
Responsive layout for visuals (preview)July 2017
New waterfall chart option – breakdownJuly 2017
Custom visuals store integrationJuly 2017
Custom visual updates – Drilldown ChoroplethJuly 2017
Custom visual updates – Drilldown CartogramJuly 2017
Custom visual updates – Drilldown PlayerJuly 2017
Custom visual updates – Certified custom visualsJuly 2017


Analytics pane (**New**) – the new central location for all analytical features. You can find this pane next to the formatting pane when you have a visual selected.August 2016
Dynamic reference lines – added ability to create multiple data bound reference lines on clustered column and bar charts; line charts; and scatter charts. These new reference lines are calculated based on the max; min; median; average; or different percentiles of a selected measure.August 2016
Forecasting (Preview) – new forecasting feature on your line chart to do predictive analytics on your data.September 2016
Forecasting – general availability.November 2016
Use your own R IDE – When editing your R visual you can select the pop out icon to open the default application for .R files on your computer.September 2016
Grouping – the ability to group up points on your visual to help you more easily explore and analyze related categories.October 2016
Groups on the ribbon – You can create and edit groups from the Modelling tab or from the Data / Drill tab when you are on a chart.November 2016
Binning – you can also now use binning on numerical and time fields.October 2016
Bin by count – recommended number or size of bins.May 2017
Top-N filter – a new filter type  to filter by the Top or Bottom number of categories sorted by a specific measure.October 2016
Include/exclude data points – useful to focus on a specific set of points – Include will filter out all points except for those you’ve chosen to include. Exclude will filter out the points you’ve chosen to exclude.October 2016
R-powered custom visuals – you can simply download a pre-built R-powered custom visual from the custom visual’s gallery instead of having to build it yourself.October 2016
Clustering (preview) – Clustering lets you quickly find groups of similar data points in a subset of your data.November 2016
Clustering – general availabilityMarch 2017
Two new Quick Calcs in Matrix visual: Percent of row total and percent of column totalFebruary 2017
Quick measures (Preview) – lets you quickly create new measures based on measures and numerical columns in your table.April 2017
Two new quick measures (Preview): Total for category & Rolling average.May 2017
General improvements to the quick measures feature – </br>how blanks should be treated</br>quick measures match the formatting of the base measure if the chosen measure doesn’t need a specific formatting.May 2017
Quick measures from the community – Star ratingJuly 2017
Quick measures from the community – Concatenated list of valuesJuly 2017
Show value as (Preview) –  a quick way to change the way your values appear in a chart or table.April 2017
Q&A in Spanish (Preview)April 2017
Report level measures for live connections to Analysis Services tabular models and Power BI service datasetsMay 2017
Bidirectional cross filtering for DirectQuery – general availabilityJuly 2017

Power BI Online Training

Data Connectivity

Snowflake data connector (Preview)August 2016
Snowflake data connector – DirectQuery supportSeptember 2016
Snowflake data connector – general availabilityJuly 2017
ProjectPlace connector (**New**)September 2016
Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Financials (Beta) (**New**)October 2016
Dynamics 365 for Customer Insights (**New**)May 2017
OLE DB (**New**)October 2016
ODBC and OLE DB connectors – support for Select related tablesFebruary 2017
Mixpanel (**New**)October 2016
Spark DirectQuery (**New**)November 2016
PowerApps Common Data Service connector (**New**)February 2017
Azure Analysis Services (Preview)November 2016
Azure Analysis Services database (Beta) (**New**)March 2017
Azure Data Lake Store general availabilityMarch 2017
Impala connector – DirectQuery supportAugust 2016
Impala connector general availabilityJune 2017
Web connector – Web page previewsAugust 2016
Web connector – support for specifying HTTP request headers within the dialogSeptember 2016
Web connector –  improvements to the refresh of cloud based data sources – new datasets that leverage import from Web pages won’t be automatically configured for refresh in Power BI on the web and will require the use of a gateway such as the Personal Gateway or On-Premises data gatewayNovember 2016
SAP Business Warehouse connector general availabilityAugust 2016
SAP Business Warehouse and SAP HANA connectors – enhancements to parameter input interfaceSeptember 2016
SAP Business Warehouse and SAP HANA connectors – enhancements to parameter input experienceApril 2017
SAP Business Warehouse connector – DirectQuery supportJune 2017
Oracle connector – improved Navigator previews performanceSeptember 2016
OData connector – support for Select Related Tables optionSeptember 2016
OData connector – folding of expand record operationsNovember 2016
Folder connector – combine binaries – combine all binaries within a folder as long as they have a homogeneous file type and structure. You can also easily apply additional transformation/extraction steps by modifying the exemplar query without having to worry about any additional function invocation steps as they’re automatically generated for you.November 2016
Folder connector – support for combining binaries from the Preview dialog with the options CombineCombine & Load (bypassing the Query Editor)February 2017
Combine binaries – ability to specify a sample file to useMarch 2017
Combine files – ability to reference First File as exampleMay 2017
Text/CSV connector – unified Text and CSV connectors into a single connectorFebruary 2017
Visual Studio Team Services connector (Beta)January 2017
SQL Server connector – support for SQL Failover optionJanuary 2017
Redshift Connector: beta support and Publish to Power BI serviceApril 2017
Amazon Redshift connector general availabilityJune 2017
DB2 connector – option to specify package collectionMarch 2017
Connect to datasets in the Power BI service (Preview)April 2017
Custom Data Connectors supportJune 2017
Power BI service Live Connect to On-premises and Push streaming datasetsJune 2017
IBM Netezza connector (beta)June 2017


Auto-recover Desktop filesAugust 2016
In-product links to the Power BI CommunitySeptember 2016
Diagnostics information in the About dialogOctober 2016
Solutions Templates and Partner Showcase quick accessFebruary 2017

4 thoughts on “Happy Second Birthday Power BI”

  1. Matt,
    For SAP BW I think you should include a mention of the October 2017 update “Support for additional member properties”. Up until then it was a pain to mirror a SAP BW report in Power BI.

    Good job though and an eye opener for the pace of development.

  2. Neville de Sousa

    Thanks Matt. This is a great reference. I was actually thinking of doing this a couple of weeks back as it hard to keep track of all the great features released.

  3. Hi Matt! Thanks for the great summary list. I am looking forward to see an article from you on Custom Data Connector. Especially how to ‘get data’ from a password protected website. Thanks in advance.

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