Power BI – What new features has Microsoft given us in August 2020

Power BI Update

 

By Scott Bryson, BI Developer, CSL

 

Here are the highlights

Microsoft has recently released their August 2020 round of updates. Just remember to enable any preview features in Power BI desktop settings! 

Overview

Not a huge update this month in terms of improvements after a couple of big updates in recent months.

We have a new Rectangular Lasso (preview) which allows the user to highlight a section of data which will then filter corresponding visuals, this is currently in Preview however and only supports 3 visuals:

•    Line Chart
•    Scatter chart
•    Area Chart

It also currently only supports up to 300 data points.

Perspective Support for Visuals (preview)

This in short allows you to control the view that you show within your model. For example you may want your marketing team to see one view and your sales team to see another. Currently this uses an add on called Tabular Editor, but Microsoft have committed to making this available with no add-on going forward. 

Once you have created different views you can set them for the user as per below. 


More detail on this one is in the full release via the link at the end of this article. 

There is however one of the new features which I believe will be extremely useful but is being slightly overlooked, which I've demonstrated below.

Data Preparation

Text/CSV By Example (preview)

A newly launched feature this month, which doesn’t seem like a gamechanger, but adds some very useful customisation to importing Text or CSV files. 

I’ll take you through an example using some Postcode data with our demo Model here at CSL.

Below is our demo model, from here you select ‘Get Data’ at the top right.

 

Select Text/CSV from the list, as shown opposite, and then select your file when the open box appears.

I will be using a generic UK postcode file in this example, but this works with any Text/CSV file.


 

As you can see the file contains lots of columns of data, but we may only want some of those columns. To use the new feature you need to click the “Extract Table Using Examples" button, shown at the bottom of the list of columns.
 

After clicking this you will be presented with the following screen:


You need to select the correct file origin at the top left and then start typing into row 1 which data you want to bring through, as highlighted in the next screenshot where I have taken only Postcode, Latitude Longitude and Country.
 

As you can see above you can bring as much or as little as the data in as you want allowing you to combine columns or simply take out columns you don’t want.

This will be extremely useful when building your model in terms of keeping the data you are bringing in clean.

To Wrap It Up

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

https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/power-bi-desktop-august-2020-feature-summary/