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

By Scott Bryson, BI Developer, CSL

Power BI Update


Microsoft has recently released their November 2020 round of updates inline with their monthly release schedule. Below I have pulled out some of the more interesting points from this release. Just remember to enable any preview features in Power BI desktop settings to be able to see some of these.

A link to the full Microsoft blog can be found at the end of our summary.

Here are the highlights


New Field List (Preview)

This will unify the field lists across Data, Model and Report view in Power BI Desktop. This change will create consistency for functionality and UI across views (where applicable) to address customer feedback and confusion.

The screenshot below is a quick view of how this will look.

New Model View (Preview)

The model view in Power BI Desktop allows you to view and work with complex datasets that contain many tables. This month the model view has a new look. To use the new look, go to the model view and press “Upgrade now”. 

In the new view the table card headers now show colours to help you quickly see which tables are from the same kind of source, as shown opposite.

All tables that are in import mode will not show a colour. Tables from the same DirectQuery source (blue in the image below) will show a colour for tables from that same source. 

For tables in dual mode, the header will show a hashed colour to represent that the table is in both import and DirectQuery mode.

Table Card Headers

A number of things have changed from a visual perspective and more details on the new model view can be found in the full release detailed at the bottom of the page.

Visual Zoom Slider

You can now add zoom sliders to your Cartesian charts. Zoom sliders give report creators and consumers an easy way to examine a smaller range of the data in a chart without having to use a filter. Using zoom sliders will not affect contextual information like calculated trendlines.

To use the zoom slider, simply click and drag endpoints to adjust the dimensions of the view window; and click and drag the bar between them to pan that window around. The image above shows this in action. You can enable zoom sliders in their card in the formatting pane of supported visuals. 

As shown in the below screenshot, you will also see a few other options:

The X and Y axis toggles enable or disable the zoom slider for each axis. The slider labels toggle enables a new row of labels next to the slider indicating the full range of the data, and the slider tooltips toggle makes tooltips appear as you click and drag each endpoint, showing you the value of your selection as you work with the slider.

The zoom state of your visual will be saved when you save and publish your report. When end users open the report, the endpoints of the zoom slider will default to whatever you have saved, allowing you to highlight a specific window of data while keeping its context immediately accessible.

Zoom sliders will be enabled for bar/column, line, line and bar/column combo, and scatter charts.


Anomaly Detection (Preview)

Anomaly detection helps you enhance your line charts by automatically detecting anomalies in your time series data. It also provides explanations for the anomalies to help with root cause analysis. This enables the user to easily find insights without slicing and dicing the data.

Once you enable Anomaly detection on a chart by adding “Find Anomalies” from the analytics pane, it gets automatically enriched with the anomalies and expected range of values.

This feature is highly customizable, where you can configure the sensitivity of the algorithm, shape, size, colour of the anomaly, the colour, style, transparency of the expected range.

Once you select the anomaly, Power BI runs an analysis across the fields in your data model to figure out possible explanations. The Anomalies pane provides a natural language explanation of the anomaly and associated factors sorted by their explanatory strength.

You can control the fields that are used for analysis by dragging fields into the Explain by field well. Clicking on an explanation opens the card where you can see more details of the explanation. You can also add the explanation visual to the report.

Report consumers can view anomalies and explanations after the creator publishes the report to the Service.

Data connectivity

Hive LLAP connector generally available

The Hive LLAP connector is now generally available, as well as its addition to the On-Premises Data Gateway.
This connector provides both Import and Direct Query capabilities and the ability to specify Thrift Transport Protocol as ‘Standard’ or ‘HTTP’. 

This connector can be found in the Other category of the Get Data dialog.

New Connectors

New connectors are:

  • Actian (beta)
  • Anaplan
  • Starburst Presto (beta)

and are accessible as shown below:


New Visualizations

To Wrap It Up

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

For support in getting the most out of Power BI, please call us on 01483 528302 or email info@csl-uk.com, or read more about how our Power BI experts can support you here.


Featured Article

Economic Factors Squeezing Pharma