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Power BI is an amazing product, yet there are still nagging issues that can frustrate and annoy the best of us (myself included). With that being said, changes and improvements happen all the time and it's easy for new features that address old problems to slip past us without realizing it. In today's article, I mention 3 recent release enhancements that deserve your attention. The 3 elements are

  1. Multiple selection lasso grip
  2. Fix copy paste in formula bar
  3. Customization of visual elements in the service

Multiple selection lasso grip

Have you ever needed to select multiple visual assets in your report (for example, to be able to align them) and been frustrated with having to control and click on each one to do so? This situation is even worse when some of those visuals are buttons, as "selecting" a button and "clicking" the button use the same keystrokes in Power BI Desktop.

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If you answered yes, then this feature will improve your quality of life. I know mine has improved.

The recent April 2020 update to Power BI Desktop introduced the new lasso multiple selection, which allows you to simply click and drag across your report to select multiple assets.

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Note: If you want to copy everything on one page, you can also just click anywhere on the page and then Ctrl + a, to select everything.

Formula bar copy paste fix

I'm sure many of you have clenched your teeth as often as I have because of this little mistake. The use case is when you want to copy a measure formula and reuse it as a starting point for another measure. This should be simple: highlight the formula in the formula bar, then Ctrl + c to copy, create a new measure, and Ctrl + v to paste. There has been a frustrating bug (for at least a year) that has made this simple process very difficult. If the mouse pointer was inside the formula bar when you released the mouse button, the highlighted text was blue and you could copy successfully. If the mouse pointer was outside the formula bar when you released the mouse button, the highlighted text was slightly gray and could not be copied.

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The difference was hard to spot and you would probably end up not realizing there was a problem until after you created the new measurement and tried to paste it. After realizing there was a problem, he would go back to his original measurement and try again. And then you get mad because it ends up taking more time to copy and paste than if you had written the new formula from scratch.

This is now fixed. When you highlight the measure in the formula bar, no matter where the mouse pointer is when you release the mouse button, you can always press Ctrl + c to copy the blue highlighted text.

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The Microsoft developers have fixed this little bug as part of the May 2020 release (I think Darren Gosbell of "DAX Studio" fame was the one who fixed the exact "problem" with it and reported it to MS). Now it just works. In fact, MS developers went one step further and made it easier than ever to highlight the entire content of the formula bar, even if you only select a part of the formula (see below).

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Customization of visual elements in the service

The last new feature that I want to bring to your attention is the new ability to allow the end user to customize the images in their reports. Previously, the only ways that end users could explore and modify the properties of a visual was to have edit access to the entire report so that they could manually modify the report to their liking, or have the author of the report duplicate the visual and perform the requested. modifications and save it back to the report (possibly with a bookmark to toggle the options). The new "Customize visuals" feature allows you, as the report author, to set a free permission on the visuals in your report. This allows end users to tailor and customize the images to their liking, all within the "reading view" of a report on PowerBI.com.

In the visual below, you can see the default behavior of a visual. In this case, the only interactivity layer available in the visual header is the browse icons, filter funnel, and focus mode.

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Customizing images is currently only a preview function, so to enable it we must go to File, Options and settings, Options. Then in the global options, you need to click on Preview Features and check Custom images.

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Once activated, you will see a new section in the Current File options, Report Settings. Just check to allow report readers to customize the images to suit your needs.

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In Power BI Desktop, you will now see a new icon present in the visual header for each visual. This icon indicates that the image can be customized. By activating this feature, all images in your report will have the freedom of customization.

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You can disable this for specific images if you want. To turn it off, first select the visual, navigate to the formatting options, find the visual header card, scroll to the bottom, and turn off the customization option.

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When you share your report on PowerBI.com with the Customize Visuals feature enabled, your readers will see the new Customize Visuals icon in the visual header. They will be able to interact with the visual and customize it according to their needs. This is not limited to appearance either. This feature gives the end user the flexibility to:

  • Change display type
  • Add or change a measure
  • Modify a dimension (axis or column)
  • Add or remove a legend
  • Compare two or more different measurements
  • Change aggregations

It gives them the power to redesign the visual to meet their needs and preferences.

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Comments and Thoughts?

These are just a few of the improvements that have emerged over the past few months. What are your thoughts? Do you like these new features? Are there other features that you think deserve a mention?

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