Power BI Update May 2023
By Luke Sisley, Senior Business Intelligence Analyst, CSL
In this month’s Power BI update Microsoft announces Microsoft Fabric, an end-to-end, unified analytics platform that brings together all the data and analytics tools that organisations need. More on this later.
With the announcement of Microsoft Fabric comes the renaming of the Power BI free user license. The Power BI Free user license is now the Microsoft Fabric Free user license. This minor change requires no preparation as all functionalities that the Power BI Free user license previously offered, still remain. The renaming of the license serves only to reflect inclusion within Microsoft Fabric.
Our 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.
Fabric integrates technologies like Azure Data Factory, Azure Synapse Analytics, and Power BI into a single unified product.
It is an end-to-end analytics platform, which is lake-centric and open. Fabric is powered by AI, with Azure OpenAI Service at every layer to help users unlock the full potential of their data.
To help foster a data culture, where everyone in the organisation is making better decisions based on data, Fabric deeply integrates with the Microsoft 365 applications people use every day.
Power BI is a core part of Fabric and is already infused across Microsoft 365. Through Power BI’s deep integrations with popular applications such as Excel, Microsoft Teams, PowerPoint, and SharePoint, relevant data from OneLake is easily discoverable and accessible to users right from Microsoft 365—helping drive more value from data.
Existing Microsoft products such as Azure Synapse Analytics, Azure Data Factory, and Azure Data Explorer will continue to provide a platform as a service (PaaS) solution for data analytics. Fabric represents an evolution of those offerings in the form of a simplified Software as a Service (SaaS) solution that can connect to existing PaaS offerings. Users will be able to upgrade from their current products into Fabric at their own pace.
With the announcement of Microsoft Fabric, you’ll find a featured section on all of the new features released.
Azure Maps is now Generally Available
The Azure Maps visual is now Generally Available. It was realeased for private preview over a year ago and has since has a variety of powerful customisation options added. These include support for location name fields (geocoding), pie chart layers, filled map layers, and more.
Microsoft are focusing development efforts on Azure Maps as the single first-party map visual in Power BI. They will fully deprecate older map visuals and migrate even existing reports over to Azure Maps in order to truly unify all map visuals into one.
They are also updating the style of all of the map tiles, including in the Azure Maps visual.
As this will affect all reports, including existing reports, they are rolling this change out to users over time. More features and improvements are planned for the visual in coming releases, so watch this space!
Working with files in OneDrive and SharePoint (Preview)
This month Microsoft start the preview of new Open, Save, and Share options when working with files in OneDrive and SharePoint document libraries. Many report authors save their Power BI files to OneDrive and SharePoint during report creation. These new capabilities help authors with file versioning, collaborating with other authors, and ensuring they always have a backup of their files in the cloud.
Start by enabling the Preview by checking the Save to OneDrive and SharePoint and Share to OneDrive and SharePoint options in the Options > Preview Features.
When enabled, the next time you save a new file in Power BI Desktop, you’ll see OneDrive and SharePoint folders you’ve recently used, in addition to the local folders you’ve used recently.
If you don’t see the folder you need, select the More options… button which opens the new Save As experience that lists the OneDrive and SharePoint locations you have access to, and lets you navigate and create new folders. You can also Browse this device to save to a local folder.
When you press Save, the file will be uploaded to the location you chose. You can press Upload later to keep working and the file will be uploaded when you close Power BI Desktop.
Next time you open Power BI Desktop, you’ll be able to open the file directly from OneDrive and SharePoint document libraries. This downloads the file locally. This update does not add any collaborative editing of Power BI files.
Lastly, when you’re ready to share your work with a colleague, you can click the Share button at the top right-hand corner. If the file is a local file or a new file, you’ll be prompted to save it to OneDrive or SharePoint.
You’ll then be able to use standard SharePoint and OneDrive UI to get a shareable link to send it to the people who need it.
Setting Query Limits in Power BI Desktop
There is now the ability to define query limits in Desktop. This means it is possible to match the limits that will be found, wherever the data is hosted in the Service. This removes the previous problem of having different limits to the time a query is allowed to run and the amount of memory that query is allowed to use.
You can find this new option in the Options > Report settings tab:
New DAX functions: MATCHBY
This month a new DAX function: MATCHBY is introduced. When used within any window function, this function defines the columns that are used to determine how to match data and identify the current row.
This function can only be used within window functions. To learn more about this function, see the documentation page: MATCHBY.