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Anonymous
Not applicable

Top 11 Low Hanging Fruit features for PowerBI

I compiled a list of “low hanging fruit” that I strongly believe would be universally beneficial to either the report designer, the end user, or both.

 

I'm posting this here instead of User Voice because User Voice has inherent limitations. My concern isn't so much that the wrong ideas are top-voted, but that other genuinely good ideas are getting missed. Additionally, some ideas are vague and other ideas overlap, so as a user it becomes hard to know which idea(s) to support for any given need (which spreads the votes out or discourages voting).

 

This list identifies the features that PowerBI has neglected or implemented in a limited capacity. 

These features have the following in common:

  • They’re pain points for essentially all users (either designer or end user) with no or limited workarounds.
  • Every major competitor (Tableau, Qlik, SiSense, SAP BusinessObjects, etc.) has these features in some capacity.
  • They’ve been implemented in other Microsoft tools, or in PowerBI itself (or certain visualizations), so we know it’s possible and that the know-how already exists within Microsoft.

I'm genuinely shocked and disappointed in the updates lately, not because they aren’t impressive or clever features, but because they seemingly are consistently features that will only benefit <=1% of users.  The latest update was announced with the following tagline: “This month we are introducing some features that will enhance the overall user experience.”  The features were predefined table styles (which doesn’t address anything that could already be done) and Custom maps that requires specially configured maps to be designed and implemented).  Those aren’t overall user experience features.

Features such as Augmented Reality tiles and QR scanning have been prioritized over shoring up the basics;  Too often we're seeing seemingly random or limited use case features such as QR codes and AR tiles that likely <0.1% of users will ever use.

  1. Snap to Grid
    1. SSRS has it. Powerpoint has it. Competitors have it. PowerBI has a grid coordinate already, yet requires so much time to develop sharp looking reports because it lacks Snap to Grid. This feature was marked as planned and I’ve seen it mentioned from PowerBI teams 6-7 months ago.  Every report designer would benefit from it, and the reports they create would draw in more end users because it would be visually appealing.  
  2. Lasso Select and Lasso Pin to dashboard.
    1. Right now, in order to create a report that is as visually appealing as reports that can be made in Tableau and other competing solutions, you need to rely on layers. However, if I have a visual or shape on top of another one, I need to first move it, then multi-select each object.  A lasso-select would resolve this.
    2. Additionally, if I create a great looking visual that is actually a composition of multiple visuals, it would be great if I could lasso the relevant visuals and Pin it to one dashboard tile (so the tile would be composed of multiple visuals).
  3. Set and Store Color Themes
    1. It would be great if there was an area where we could declare the most commonly used colors, and those would appear in a list similar to “Recently Used” whenever we go to change the color. Right now Recently used is buggy, and only maintains between shapes/visuals of the same type. 
    2. Bonus points if we could not only declare our own palettes of colors, but also set the default color for various fields. For example, if I know that I typically want all my Title text to be #048edd, I could set that in one area and that would become the default option whenever I create a new visual.  I’d still be able to change it in the visual if I wanted, but I wouldn’t have to change it for every visual every time.
  4. Conditional Coloring – Already available in KPI card on PowerBI, and SSRS obviously. For things such as table values and Multi-Card visuals it’d be great to be able to set targets or rules and choose the color that is displayed.
  5. Formatting for Cards
    1. Where the data and category labels are positioned (above, below, side etc.), wrapped text for both, Sparklines behind. Ability to add a tooltip for more information and an image for the tooltip indicator (“?” or * for example).
  6. Ability to set transparency for the bar, line, or pie chart.
    1. The default should be 0, but this ability would allow designers to create more dynamic and customizable reports. In order to design sharp reports that look great we have to depend on layering, but the inability to set the bar in a bar graph to transparent can limit some more creative uses.  Using transparent bar charts over an image of a “?” would allow for effective uses of tooltips for example. 
  7. Ability to copy and paste certain shapes and cards to other reports, not just within the same report.
    1. Even if the visual couldn’t render because of different data models in the reports, at least the formatting could be reused.
    2. Most report designers will have similar needs from one report to another, even if the data is completely different. This would facilitate creating reports significantly.
  8. Text wrap options throughout visuals.
    1. Text wrap needs to be available in far more visuals, and in each aspect of the visual: Data labels, category labels, titles, axis and legends.
  9. Allow Tables to cross filter if the user wants.
    1. Similar to the Table Sorter custom visual made by Microsoft, so we know it’s feasible.
    2. Best practice right now is to never use Custom visuals, as they are liable to break at any time and with any update. This means any report designer using custom visuals have to cross their fingers each month that the update won’t break their reports or require them to go into each report, update the visual, and re-publish.  Any end user consuming the report with a broken custom visual would lose trust in not only the data/report, but also PowerBI as a tool.
  10. Dropdown component for slicers
    1. Saves valuable space and is user friendly. Similair to the dropdown components in SSRS Mobile 2016 reports.
  11. Fix the deprecated dynamic web page viewing or provide options that are reliable workarounds
    1. It’s a pain when you design a great looking report, and then present it on a projector or different monitor and it looks different/deprecated.
4 REPLIES 4
samk9009
Frequent Visitor

Great post. I would also like to add that in Tableau you can overlay coordinates on top of polygonal areas on a map. This is a huge requirement since I work in a very large organization.

Anonymous
Not applicable

@Sandy

@MiguelMartinez

 

I compiled a list of “low hanging fruit” that I strongly believe would be universally beneficial to either the report designer, the end user, or both.

 

I'm posting this here instead of User Voice because User Voice has inherent limitations. My concern isn't so much that the wrong ideas are top-voted, but that other genuinely good ideas are getting missed. Additionally, some ideas are vague and other ideas overlap, so as a user it becomes hard to know which idea(s) to support for any given need (which spreads the votes out or discourages voting).

 

This list identifies the features that PowerBI has neglected or implemented in a limited capacity. 

These features have the following in common:

  • They’re pain points for essentially all users (either designer or end user) with no or limited workarounds.
  • Every major competitor (Tableau, Qlik, SiSense, SAP BusinessObjects, etc.) has these features in some capacity.
  • They’ve been implemented in other Microsoft tools, or in PowerBI itself (or certain visualizations), so we know it’s possible and that the know-how already exists within Microsoft.

I'm genuinely shocked and disappointed in the updates lately, not because they aren’t impressive or clever features, but because they seemingly are consistently features that will only benefit <=1% of users.  The latest update was announced with the following tagline: “This month we are introducing some features that will enhance the overall user experience.”  The features were predefined table styles (which doesn’t address anything that could already be done) and Custom maps that requires specially configured maps to be designed and implemented).  Those aren’t overall user experience features.

Features such as Augmented Reality tiles and QR scanning have been prioritized over shoring up the basics;  Too often we're seeing seemingly random or limited use case features such as QR codes and AR tiles that likely <0.1% of users will ever use.

  1. Snap to Grid
    1. SSRS has it. Powerpoint has it. Competitors have it. PowerBI has a grid coordinate already, yet requires so much time to develop sharp looking reports because it lacks Snap to Grid. This feature was marked as planned and I’ve seen it mentioned from PowerBI teams 6-7 months ago.  Every report designer would benefit from it, and the reports they create would draw in more end users because it would be visually appealing.  
  2. Lasso Select and Lasso Pin to dashboard.
    1. Right now, in order to create a report that is as visually appealing as reports that can be made in Tableau and other competing solutions, you need to rely on layers. However, if I have a visual or shape on top of another one, I need to first move it, then multi-select each object.  A lasso-select would resolve this.
    2. Additionally, if I create a great looking visual that is actually a composition of multiple visuals, it would be great if I could lasso the relevant visuals and Pin it to one dashboard tile (so the tile would be composed of multiple visuals).
  3. Set and Store Color Themes
    1. It would be great if there was an area where we could declare the most commonly used colors, and those would appear in a list similar to “Recently Used” whenever we go to change the color. Right now Recently used is buggy, and only maintains between shapes/visuals of the same type. 
    2. Bonus points if we could not only declare our own palettes of colors, but also set the default color for various fields. For example, if I know that I typically want all my Title text to be #048edd, I could set that in one area and that would become the default option whenever I create a new visual.  I’d still be able to change it in the visual if I wanted, but I wouldn’t have to change it for every visual every time.
  4. Conditional Coloring – Already available in KPI card on PowerBI, and SSRS obviously. For things such as table values and Multi-Card visuals it’d be great to be able to set targets or rules and choose the color that is displayed.
  5. Formatting for Cards
    1. Where the data and category labels are positioned (above, below, side etc.), wrapped text for both, Sparklines behind. Ability to add a tooltip for more information and an image for the tooltip indicator (“?” or * for example).
  6. Ability to set transparency for the bar, line, or pie chart.
    1. The default should be 0, but this ability would allow designers to create more dynamic and customizable reports. In order to design sharp reports that look great we have to depend on layering, but the inability to set the bar in a bar graph to transparent can limit some more creative uses.  Using transparent bar charts over an image of a “?” would allow for effective uses of tooltips for example. 
  7. Ability to copy and paste certain shapes and cards to other reports, not just within the same report.
    1. Even if the visual couldn’t render because of different data models in the reports, at least the formatting could be reused.
    2. Most report designers will have similar needs from one report to another, even if the data is completely different. This would facilitate creating reports significantly.
  8. Text wrap options throughout visuals.
    1. Text wrap needs to be available in far more visuals, and in each aspect of the visual: Data labels, category labels, titles, axis and legends.
  9. Allow Tables to cross filter if the user wants.
    1. Similar to the Table Sorter custom visual made by Microsoft, so we know it’s feasible.
    2. Best practice right now is to never use Custom visuals, as they are liable to break at any time and with any update. This means any report designer using custom visuals have to cross their fingers each month that the update won’t break their reports or require them to go into each report, update the visual, and re-publish.  Any end user consuming the report with a broken custom visual would lose trust in not only the data/report, but also PowerBI as a tool.
  10. Dropdown component for slicers
    1. Saves valuable space and is user friendly. Similair to the dropdown components in SSRS Mobile 2016 reports.
  11. Fix the deprecated dynamic web page viewing or provide options that are reliable workarounds
    1. It’s a pain when you design a great looking report, and then present it on a projector or different monitor and it looks different/deprecated.

Great post mate. So many of these seem to have been on the promise list for so many months - Custom colour pallette is now a year old.

// if this is a solution please mark as such. Kudos always appreciated.
pat_energetics
Advocate II
Advocate II

Great to see someone willing to put this out there, and agree that the development focus should be on getting the basics to a solid and reliable level. This should be prioritised - even at the expense of monthly updates of lower value features. Smiley Happy

 

The comments regarding custom visuals deserve a point on their own - especially those which are Microsoft sourced - this is an absolute nightmare every month !Smiley Sad

 

At least the version number and date of publish is available from the visual gallery, but no notice of updates available.....

 

Chiclet slicer is probably the best example - 4 updates in the course of one month between PBI desktop updates !

 

 

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