By Zoe Stovell, Senior Business Intelligence Developer, CSL
As Microsoft’s Power BI constantly evolves, with lots of new features and improvements added last year, we wanted to share with you our favourite new features from 2022.
Some of the best, most helpful ones we’ve used from last year’s updates include conditional formatting on data labels, Hierarchical x axis, small multiples, and error bars.
We’ve done a quick summary below on how we have applied these to the dashboards we create for clients.
Conditional formatting is a tool in Power BI that enables us to specify specific cell colours, including gradient colours, based on cell values or fields. To make it simple to see patterns and insights in the data, cell values can also be displayed with data bars.
Conditional formatting for data labels now evaluates for individual data points, rather than just the whole visual. Clients can therefore have conditional formatting rules for all measures or for individual measures.
The example below shows data labels for sales from this year, coloured blue if sales grew above a certain threshold over last year, or red if they didn’t:
Another useful addition to Power BI has been the improvement in visualising additional dimensions on charts via small multiples and the hierarchical x-axis.
Hierarchical x axis
The 2022 update improved the experience of viewing visuals that contain a hierarchy through the implementation of a hierarchical x axis. A hierarchical x axis, also known as a multi-level or multi-tier x axis, is a type of x axis that displays data in a hierarchical structure, with different levels or tiers of data represented by different groups of labels on the x axis. It allows you to break the data down into smaller, more manageable chunks and display it in a more organized and visually appealing way.
As clients drill, they can better understand where in the hierarchy the visual is.
Small multiples, also known as trellis charts or panel charts, are a type of data visualisation that allows you to compare and contrast multiple data sets or groups of data by displaying them in a grid of small, separate charts or plots. They are also a good way to display a large amount of data in a compact and easy-to-understand format, as the small size of the individual charts allows you to see a lot of information at a glance.
Power BI updates now allow combo charts, line and clustered/stacked column charts, to be displayed as small multiples.
Additionally, improved padding controls allow CSL to optimise the space on dashboards by making the visuals use the space in the best way.
For clients to best interpret their data and fully understand the usefulness of certain data points, error bars are very beneficial. Where data is uncertain, the displayed value of a point needs to be contextualised by the range of its possible values. With this update, clients are now able to specify upper and lower bounds to the values on their line chart and customise the way the uncertainty is visualised in them.
By keeping up to date with the new components of Power BI, as well as the most contemporary implementation of existing tools, CSL is better able to assist the production of client’s data solutions.
We optimise client’s data and visuals, enabling them to identify trends and patterns in order to make more informed business decisions.