Power BI – What new features has Microsoft given us in April 2021?

Power BI Update


By Zoe Stovell, Senior BI Developer & Team Leader, CSL



Microsoft has recently released the April 2021 updates in line with the monthly release schedule. 

Before we go through the updates it’s worth noting that after its release to public review last year, the Power BI Premium Per User licence is now on general availability. This will give you access to the Premium features on a per-user basis, making the use of Power BI cheaper and more accessible to smaller businesses. Please get in touch for more details on the Power BI Premium Per User licencing option.

Below I have pulled some of the more interesting reporting points from this release. Some of these updates are only preview features in Power BI desktop. To be able to view them you’ll need to ensure you’ve selected ‘Preview Features’ on the Options pane: 


Here are the highlights:



Power Automate for Power BI 

This new feature allows end users to trigger a pre-selected task without leaving Power BI. For example, if an end user found a data discrepancy on their report, at the click of a button they can raise a ticket for this to be investigated. 

When added to a report there is a handy guide on how to create the process. The button can be customised to send specific fields, linked to a selected flow, and be updated to match the look and feel of the report.


This is currently a preview feature and can be downloaded from the AppSource. 


Small multiples: padding controls and combo chart support

Since small multiples were introduced in December, two new features have been added. 

Padding controls have been added to the guideline controls, however, it is worth noting that the effect of these control will vary depending on the type of gridlines selected. For finer adjustments there is the option to use the advanced padding options. 

The second new feature is that small multiples can now be used on combo charts. This will allow two types of data to be displayed on one chart, giving end users the ability to track two metrics on one chart. 

Both features are currently only in preview. 


New and improved shapes 

This update is bringing us more design options for Power BI reports. Giving us more ways to visualise data, information, and headings.

Whilst our familiar favourites are here to stay, there are now over 20 shapes to choose from with a range of new formatting options including:
•    Text options
•    Round edges for corners
•    Shadow and glow effects
•    Shape and text rotation


When adding these new visuals, you will notice the padding has been removed from around the outside allowing the whole space to be filled with the shape.  

To upgrade the pre-existing shapes just click on ‘Convert’ on the ‘format shape’ pane.



•    DirectQuery for Power BI datasets and Azure Analysis Services 
•    CROSSFILTER supports many-to-many relationships
•    Performance improvements to IF and SWITCH functions


Data connectivity

•    New Connector: Bloomberg Data and Analytics
•    New Connector: SoftOne BI
•    Text/CSV By Example now generally available
•    Automatic Table Detection from Excel files now generally available
•    Automatic Table Detection from JSON files now generally available



•    Easy report sharing via links
•    Improving the Create on top of published dataset experience
•    New capabilities in Deployment Pipelines
•    Enhancements to Sensitivity Labels
•    Sensitivity labels in Power BI embedded now generally available
•    Securing the full data journey from Azure to Office 
•    Admin API to Set and Remove labels in Power BI



New Visualizations

New this month are:
•    Microsoft Charticulator visual
•    Financial Reporting Matrix by Profitbase
•    Merged Bar Chart by Nova Silva
Please be aware that visuals from third party may come with an additional charge to use. 


To Wrap It Up

For a full list, including any feature I did not touch on, here’s the official announcement


If you would like any more information on these features or Power BI reporting, please get in touch with us to see if we have something to suit your needs. 
Call us on 01483 528302 or email Lee Ronan at leer@csl-uk.com.