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Power BI Desktop gets September update - here's all that's new

Microsoft's updates to Power BI in recent weeks include an alteration to summarized data export behavior, addition of URL parameters for paginated reports, and a revamped look for Power BI Mobile. Last month, the August update for Power BI Desktop brought a new visual-grouping feature, recommendations for template apps, and more.

Now, Microsoft has unveiled the feature summary for this month's update to the data analytics service's desktop version, bringing a plethora of improvements.

For starters, there is now a more modern default theme for reports, and the number of in-built theme options have been doubled. For theme authors, there are updates to the theme JSON format, making it easier to create custom themes. Moreover, one of the more requested features - custom format strings - has made it to the latest version as well. There are plenty of other incremental changes including performance improvements and more dynamic formatting options, among others.

Here is a rundown of all the major updates that are included in the latest release:

  • Reporting
    • Color and text classes in themes
    • New default themes
    • Personalized visualization pane improvements (preview)
      • Unpin default visuals
      • About info for visuals
  • Analytics
    • Custom format strings
    • Conditional formatting for more visual formatting options
      • Alt text
      • Border color
      • Gauge colors
    • Drill through discoverability improvement
    • New DAX expressions: REMOVEFILTERS and CONVERT
  • Visualizations
    • PowerApps visual now generally available
  • Data connectivity
    • PostgreSQL connector enhancements:
      • Support for folding over Native Database queries
      • DirectQuery support generally available
  • Data preparation
    • Copy to clipboard from data profiling
  • Template apps
    • Google Analytics report
  • Other
    • Performance improvements for multi-dimensional models
    • Query performance improvements for DirectQuery models

You an also watch the video below to learn about these in a bit more detail:

As has been mentioned before, the Power BI team also begun the process of recommending recently released template apps to users each month - starting last month. For September, "Google Analytics report", designed by Havens consulting has been highlighted. Built upon the Google Analytics data connector, the report model can be connected to Analytics data using your credentials. It is also noted to be quite helpful for a deep-dive analysis on daily page views, and it contains support for some major Power BI features including bookmarks, advanced conditional formatting, and more. You can download the template app here.

Importantly, starting this month, Microsoft is releasing only a single .exe installer that includes all languages. So, users who automatically have it downloaded from the Download Center each month will need to update their scripts. The Power BI Desktop documentation provides some useful information about how to do this, while a bit more can be learned with regards to this at the end of the original blog post as well. You can download the latest version of the service's desktop client from here.

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