Power BI Update August 2023
By Luke Sisley, Senior Business Intelligence Analyst, CSL
In this month’s Power BI update Microsoft announces new layouts in reports to easily switch between web and mobile layouts, new bubble range scaling settings for scatter chart and map visuals and On-Object Interaction updates in Preview, along with the usual Editor’s pick of the quarter for visualisations.
Main highlights are below. As with previous updates, some of the new features are in preview, meaning that you will need to ensure you’ve selected ‘Preview Features’ in the Options & Settings menu pane.
New layout switcher
New buttons have been added to make it easy for users to quickly switch between web and mobile layouts while developing reports. The new switcher buttons can be found at the bottom of the screen, next to the page navigator as shown below.
New bubble range scaling setting
New bubble range scaling setting for scatter chart and map visuals gives report creators more control over how the bubble (marker) sizes respond to the data, making it more accurate or distinctive based on preference.
With the magnitude option, the bubble areas closely follow the data proportions. With the data-range option, the bubble size limits are mapped to data minimum and maximum. The auto option, which is the default setting for new reports, selects the appropriate option based on data characteristics.
This setting can be adjusted in formatting panel, Markers > Shape > Range scaling for scatter charts or Bubbles > Size > Range scaling for maps.
For reports authored in earlier Power BI versions, these settings default to (Deprecated) for scatter charts (which differs in handling negative values), and Data range for map charts.
Azure Maps charts will also include this feature in a coming product update.
In the figure above, the size of each country represents Urban Population, which is also shown on the y-axis.
On-Object Interaction (Preview) – Updates
More improvements have been made to the preview on-object interaction feature released back in March. Part of the Aug release includes:
Resizing and positioning to the on-object menus
The ability to resize the on-object menus horizontally has now been added, this is especially helpful when working with long field names.
The positioning of the on-object menus has also been improved to make better use of the canvas space. Previously, when a visual was near the bottom of the canvas, the on-object menu was super small and required scrolling to be able to see and use the field wells. Now, the on-object menu moves up and stretches into the canvas to bring the field wells into view without needing to scroll.
On-object format sub-selections are now supported in spotlight and focus mode. When spotlighting a visual or expanding the visual in focus mode, you can now use on-object formatting to sub-select and format styles.
Updates to ORDERBY function
If there are blanks in the data, you can specify where to order them by adding ‘BLANKS LAST’ or ‘BLANKS FIRST’. For example, the below is a perfectly valid expression:
Specifying how blanks are handled is optional and can be combined with specifying the order direction (DESC/ASC). Valid values include:
- BLANKS DEFAULT. This is the default value. The behaviour for numerical values is blank values are ordered between zero and negative values. The behaviour for strings is blank values are ordered before all strings, including empty strings.
- BLANKS FIRST. Blanks are always ordered on the beginning, regardless of ascending or descending sorting order.
- BLANKS LAST. Blanks are always ordered on the end, regardless of ascending or descending sorting order.