Power BI April 2020 release

It’s power week and Power BI team has released a bunch of super cool Power BI updates!!! Some of them highly requested by the Power BI community. Excited to learn all about them?

Check out our Top 5 features you need to know about:

#5: Rectangular lasso select across visuals

You can now select your visuals and other report elements by clicking and dragging over the canvas to create a rectangular lasso. All visuals that are entirely encapsulated within the lasso will be selected. If you are holding down Ctrl + G you can also group visuals.

#4: Customized themes

The new theme dialog is now generally available. You can customize a theme in the theme dialog, with you company colour, font etc, an icon will represent that custom theme in a separate section and will update whenever you customize your theme.

 If you hover over the icon, a tooltip will show up that explains that the theme is a custom theme, and the theme name will also show up if you define it. 

#3: Improved discoverability for conditional formatting & Conditional formatting for totals and subtotals in table and matrix

These are actually 2 separate updates but they definitely deserve to be mentioned, the menu to access the conditional formatting was very difficult to find previously but with his release Microsoft team have updated the entry point into the conditional formatting dialog to make it more discoverable, but displaying an fx button to the right of the object you would like to format.

Clicking the fx button will bring up the conditional formatting dialog. After applying a conditional formatting rule, the input field should now look like this:

Conditional formatting for totals and subtotals in table and matrix

This is probably one of the most requested features by the community, now it will be possible to apply conditional formatting rules to totals and subtotals in table and matrix visuals.

 

#2:Change detection for page refresh

This is a new option for an automatic page refresh, in which the page is refreshed based on change detection instead of a specific refresh interval. This is a query that will run in the background to check if data has changed and will only refresh the report if a change has been detected. In this release, we will have a new data change detection option to specify how to query for changes to our Direct query source, specifically which measure should be evaluated and how frequently they should be checked for changes to that measure.

Important considerations for this new capability:

  • Only DirectQuery sources are supported
  • You’re only allowed to specify one change detection measure per model
  • In Desktop, when you set up change detection, visuals won’t refresh. You will have to publish to the service for page refresh to work, which includes re-authenticating with the same credentials for refresh.
  • This is a premium only feature
  • Premium capacity admin must turn this on in the admin portal

#1:Personalize visuals

This is a new visual personalization feature to allow your end-users to explore and personalize visuals all within the consumption view of a report. This is definitely our favorite new feature as it gives the end-users the ability to explore and modify the properties of a visual by having the full editing experience.

Using this feature, your end-users can explore a visual in many ways:

  • Change the visualization type
  • Swap out a measure or dimension
  • Add or remove a legend
  • Compare two or more different measures
  • Change aggregations, etc.

Not only does this feature allow for new exploration capabilities, but it also includes ways for end-users to capture, share, and revert their changes:

  • Capture their changes
  • Share their changes
  • Reset all their changes to a report
  • Reset all their changes to a visual
  • Clear out their recent changes

Please let us know which was your favorite release and if you agree with our top 5.

To know more about the power BI April 2020 update visit:

https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/power-bi-desktop-april-2020-feature-summary/#_Personalize_visuals

Where should I live to be happier?

This is almost a clickbaite question, but is possible to know which country would make you happier depending on what you value the most. In the report below we are using the “Happiness rank and scores by country, 2019″ dataset, extracted from Kaggle.

On a side note Kaggle is a wonderful resource for free datasets to use on your projects.

As you can see the happiest countries overall in the world are Finland, followed by Denmark and Norway, so if you don’t mind the cold weather, pack your things and join the Finns 🙂

On the other hand if you prefer the warm weather and health is one of your main concerns, Singapore or Spain would be your best bet.

Have fun exploring the happiness report below and let me know, which would be the perfect country for you.

Emails Tracker with Power Automate and Power BI

Many times we need to keep tracking emails related with a particular subject, received from a specific address or sent to a defined mailbox, etc. From day-to-day operations to external contacts, there are plenty of real life scenarios when it happens and there is a big probability be doing it currently.
The majority of the time our options are either, go email by email and copy the entries into a spreadsheet or pay for one of the thousand software off-the-shelf available in the market nowadays. If the latter can be expensive, the former is not only time-consuming but also it can lead to many errors.

The good news are there is a third option that is a really cheap and easy way to automate and improve this process. We are going to use Power Automate, Outlook, SharePoint and Power BI from your Office 365 subscription.

Flow diagram

In this scenario we are tracking emails received in a Shared Mailbox with a particular Subject. In order to automate the process we are going to create a flow in Microsoft Flow that is recording and entry for each email received in a SharePoint List. Then we connect Power BI to the SharePoint List and import the data to create a Report that is going to be our Email Tracker. After published to the Power BI Service we are going to embed the report into a SharePoint Page. Parallel to it, an email with dashboard is sent daily to the subscribers. Continue reading “Emails Tracker with Power Automate and Power BI”

Microsoft Certification: Exam 70-778 and Exam 70-779

Many people have asked me how I prepared to take Microsoft Exam 70-778 (Power BI) and Exam 70-779 (Excel).

So, this is my advice based in my experience:

You must be already familiarized with DAX, Power Query, T-SQL and SSAS. Doesn’t mean you cannot learn it and pass the exam but without some previous knowledge about these topics it will surely take longer, and you are increasing the probabilities of be unsuccessful.

If you are only starting now working with Power BI, better to consolidate the basics before taking the exam. There are plenty of invaluable resources in the web where you can learn, for free! From Microsoft Documentation to gurus’ blogs such as CurbalPowerPivot Pro, RADACAD, SQLBI, Guy in a Cube… and many, many others.

In my personal case, I already had a solid 2+ years learning Power BI in a work environment when I decided to sit for the exams. It doesn’t mean you can’t do it without such length of experience, but I think it is important to notice it.

The first book I read was Power Pivot and Power BI – by Rob Collie & Avi Singh and I honestly recommend it.

Then I did the Microsoft courses Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Power BI and Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Excel in EDX which are also the online training recommended by  Microsoft in the Exams page.
Note you can just Audit the curses, i.e., you don’t need to pay for them unless you are pursuing the certification. In my case, yes, I did paid but was because these were part of the Microsoft Professional Certification in Data Science I was taking at the time.

When I decided sitting for the exams (Summer ’18), I bought the official exam reference books Exam Ref 70-778 Analyzing and Visualizing Data by Using Microsoft Power BI  by  Daniil Maslyuk and Exam Ref 70-779 Analyzing and Visualizing Data by Using Microsoft Excel by Chris Sorensen.

The two Exam Ref are well organized, and one can see Authors have put a lot of effort to create a study path. Chapters follow the Exam structure and reference many extra resources. Kudos to them. Important, I studied for one exam at the time, 70-778 first and then 70-779. There are so many similarities between Power BI and Excel that can trick you that I won’t recommend to study for both exams at same time.

A third important resource I used was the white paper recently published at the time: Planning a Power BI Enterprise Deployment by Melissa Coates and Chris Webb.
This paper has been extremely useful for me until today and still one of my main references to a complete view of Power BI Environment.

As Practice Questions, I summarized and reviewed the questions of the Microsoft Curses, the Exam Ref books and I did the free test provided by Accelerated Ideas.

Following the practice examples in the Exam Ref books is also recommended and a good way to train.

The exams length time is between 120 and 150 minutes but you must read carefully the case studies and the questions, hence is important to manage tightly the time. There are questions that all answers are right, and you most select the most complete. Be aware of these.

And finally, be calm! If you get stuck move for the next question. You can come back to it later.

I hope it would help you and good luck for the exams!

Intro to Measures and Slicers

Check out Video #5 of Power BI Series and learn about DAX Measures and Slicers in Power BI Desktop.

This video covers:

  • How to create a Measure
  • Intro to Quick Measures and standard calculations
  • Intro to Slicers and Edit Interactions

If you are starting learning DAX I suggest:

  • Book:  Power Pivot and Power BI by Rob Collin & Avi Singh.  This was one of the first books I read about DAX.
  • Blog:  DAX Fridays  by Curbal.com . Ruth releases a video every Friday covering DAX functions (and more) and to date, the playlist counts with more than 80 videos.  Awesome work .

There are plenty of other sources (books, blogs, videos, etc), but these are my recommendations if you are new to DAX and Power BI and want to learn the basics.

Calculated Columns in Power BI Desktop

Check out Video #4 of Power BI Series and learn two easy ways how to create a calculated column in Power BI Desktop.

This video covers:

  • Create a Calculated Column in DAX
  • Create a Calculated Column in Power Query
  • Delete Calculated Columns differences and Errors

You can download the files here:
Link to GitHub

And access the online dashboard here