By Luke Sisley, Senior Business Intelligence Analyst, CSL
This month’s Power BI update brings some updates that we have been waiting for! Namely the new slicers layout (Preview). The new button slicer is the first step in Microsoft’s 5-stage development that is intended to revolutionise data exploration experience. Reference labels (Preview) is a new versatile tool for adding custom labels to new cards. And finally, The Co-Pilot smart Narrative (Preview), is an AI tool that allows you to use Copilot to summarise data across your report.
Full highlights are below. As with previous updates, any new features in Preview, means you will need to ensure you’ve selected ‘Preview Features’ in the Options & Settings menu pane.
Button Slicer (Preview)
With the new layout slicer, we can now adjust the layout a lot more than before. Previously we tended to import Microsoft verified slicers because they had more features in. This new feature has updated the main Power BI slicer, and we can now format/edit more and can include pictures and links in it.
The new Button Slicer feature has been toggled ON by default for convenience and is found in either the Visual gallery on the ribbon, or by selecting Build a visual after right-clicking on the canvas, and then choosing the new slicer, or lastly, by selecting new slicer from the on-object dialog. It is possible to also toggle this feature preview ON or OFF by looking under Options > Preview features > New button slicer.
The upgrade includes customising the shape and appearance of a design, it is now possible to divide a design into rows and columns. The button slicer revolutionises alignment and format properties with Image control allowing the user to infuse buttons with images, creating endless possibilities with URL images, as shown below.
Interactive states make designs more engaging with options including on hover, on press, and selected to engage users with responsive interactivity. And with the new multi-select feature there is a significant step forward in user convenience and efficiency.
Reference Labels (Preview)
Reference labels will mainly be used on KPIs and scorecards, where instead of only showing a number or percentage, we can now include more details on the numbers that are being displayed and what constitutes them, along with small images and upsell/downsell indicators.
A versatile tool for adding custom labels to new cards, providing relevant information, comparisons, key metrics, benchmarks, goals, and more, in an appealing and concise manner.
Reference labels can have a horizontal or vertical layout and can have custom spacing and padding.
Narrative visual with Copilot (Preview)
Co-Pilot is one of the AI tools that Microsoft has been implementing in Power BI, it is not yet 100% complete nor very effective in usage.
It seems that this update will allow us to test if this is something that can be implemented. It is essentially a Q&A model within the dashboard, that can return charts answering a question asked by a user.
Microsoft offer suggested prompts to get authors started, such as “Give me an executive summary,” “Answer likely questions from leadership,” and “create a bulleted list of insights.” Users can also type in their own custom prompts and questions that return summaries about their data.
Users have the ability to choose whether they want to summarise over the entire report, select pages, or even specific visuals across their report, giving them flexibility in what their summary looks like.
The narrative visual with Copilot makes it faster to communicate insights about the data that matters to the user. The visual is available in the service and in Power BI Desktop.