Power BI Designer May Update

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by 19 May 2015 11:00 AM (original source: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/powerbi/archive/2015/05/19/power-bi-designer-may-update.aspx)

Today we’re announcing a new update to the Power BI Designer Preview.

This month’s update is packed with lots of new features across the Data Modeling, Analytics, Get Data & Transformations areas of the product:

Data Modeling & Analytics

Get Data & Transformations

You can continue reading below for more details about each item.

Calculated Columns

This month we’re adding the ability to create “Calculated Columns” from the Report view.

With Calculated Columns, you can add new data to a table already in your model. But instead of querying and loading values into your new column from a data source, you create a Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) formula that defines the column’s values.

You can create “Calculated Columns” from the Report view by using the “New Column” button under the “Data Tools – Modeling” contextual tab.

Calculated columns you create appear in the Fields list just like any other field, but they’ll have a special icon showing its values are the result of a formula. You can name your columns whatever you want, and add them to a report visualization just like other fields.

You can watch this feature in action in the following video:

Learn more about Calculated Columns in the Power BI Designer

Data Categorization

Another new feature this month is the ability to specify data categorization for columns loaded into your report. When the Power BI Designer imports data it gathers all the information it can from the source (e.g. it is a primary key), the data in the column, the table and column names, etc.  With that information the Power BI designer makes some assumptions about how to give you a good default experience when creating a visual.  A simple example is if we know that a column is a date time column we’ll assume a time hierarchy for an axis on a line chart.   A more difficult example is geography.

With this month’s update, you can manually specify the categories for your columns by accessing the Data Category dropdown menu in the “Data Tools – Modeling” tab within the Report view.

Watch the following video to learn how to use this feature in the Power BI Designer.

Learn more about Data Categorization in the Power BI Designer.

Sort By Another Column

With Sort by Column, on the Data Tools Modeling tab in Power BI Designer, you can change how values in a column are sorted in a visualization.

When you add a column to a visualization, the default sort order works well most of the time. But, sometimes a column’s natural sort order isn’t really what you need.

Common cases where you would want to use “Sort By” column include: Weekdays or Months (sort days/months by chronological order rather than by alphabetical order), Funnel Stages (sort by logical order rather than alphabetical), etc.

“Sort By Column” can be found under the “Data Tools – Modeling” tab within the Report view.

This option brings up the sorting dialog where you can specify which column you want to sort and which column will define the sorting order.

You can watch the following video for more details.

Learn more about “Sort by Another Column” in the Power BI Designer

Improved DAX Formula Editor: Function Help and Prototype

We’re improving our DAX formula authoring support by offering you function help and prototype tooltips as you author your formulas.

New “ODBC Tables” connector (Beta)

One of the biggest challenges when trying to connect to a data source via ODBC is having to write custom query statements to specify the data that needs to be retrieved.

With this month’s update, we’re making it possible for users to retrieve tables via ODBC without having to provide a query. Simply specify the Connection String and use the Navigator dialog to select one or multiple tables. You can also reshape these tables or mash them up with other tables in the Query view, just like you would do when connecting to other sources.

Learn more about this feature by watching the following video:

Improvements to the “Excel Workbook” connector

We have improved the “Excel Workbook” connector in two different areas this month:

  • Improved Column Type Inference when importing worksheets.
  • Faster load for Data Previews.

New Text Column Filters

In this update we have added a couple of new Text Filters to the Query view: “Does Not Start With” and “Does Not End With”. These filters are available within the Filters menu for Text columns.

Watch the following video to see these new filters in action:

Enhanced Privacy Levels dialog

We are improving the Privacy Levels dialog where users are asked to provide privacy levels for all data sources involved in a query. With this update, users can control whether privacy levels apply to a specific location or a more general one. For instance, control whether privacy levels should be applied to a page vs. an entire site.

See this feature in action:

That’s all for this month. As mentioned previously, we’re making lots of incremental improvements to the Power BI Designer and we hope that you find it better with every new monthly update…

Please continue sending us feedback using our “Send a Smile/Frown” feature, or by voting for what you’d like to see next.

Here is also a full version of the video that combines all What’s New videos from this announcement.


Top Support Solutions for Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V)

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By Mary Hutson

Here is a list of the top Microsoft Support solutions for the most common issues experienced when you use Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V).

1. Solutions related to application does not function as expected:

2. Solutions related to application does not load or run:

3. Solutions related to App-V Sequencer setup, configuration, and use

4. Solutions related to application error, hang, or crash:

5. Solutions related to application publishing:

Power Query Super Charges the Internet

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by Matt Allington

I guess most of the readers of PowerPivotPro.com will already have a pretty good idea that Power Query is awesome.  I spent time recently thinking about how Power Query has really opened up the data on the Internet and made it more accessible to us all.  It reminded me of something I worked on a couple of years ago when I first discovered Power Query. I want to share my journey from back then to demonstrate the point about how Power Query really “Super Charges” the Internet – and because the example is just cool.

First the background

The long story short is that I was frustrated one day when SalesForce.com released its “Spring” release of its software.  Now as someone that lives in the southern hemisphere, giving a software release a “northern hemisphere” season for a name is totally meaningless – let alone completely confusing.  Anyway in my rage (and spare time), I set about trying to find out what percentage of the world population experiences “southern hemisphere” seasons (go figure why! – I’m just like that sometimes).

Anyway, in my journey I found a link to a NASA website that provided tables of data with the total population of the world at every 1 degree of longitude and every 2 degrees of latitude.  So basically it was just a big text file 360 columns wide and 180 rows long, with each number being the population in that 2 degree square surface area of the earth – just what I needed to check the population in each hemisphere.

The text file looks exactly like this (but bigger of course).


So using Power Query I converted the text file and parsed the awkward data into usable data in Excel.  Once I had the data into Excel, it was easy to write a couple of formulae to work out the answer.  For the record, the answer was “not many” – less than 6% actually vs 79% for the northern hemisphere seasons (I guess it is acceptable to name your software after a “northern hemisphere” season after all – by a factor of 13 to 1).  Note the balance making up 100% live in the tropics.

But then I had an idea – I wondered what this spreadsheet would look like if I applied conditional formatting over the top of the data. So I made the columns really narrow (about 2.0 wide) and then applied standard conditional formatting over the top, and to my pleasant surprise it looked like the image below.   This image is simply a spreadsheet of values converted with Power Query from the text file above with conditional formatting applied.


Now the reason the ocean is green is because each of these cells has a zero value – makes sense I guess – zero population in the sea.  So I decided to remove all those zeros and replace them with null (again using the transformation tools in Power Query) to see what that looked like, and I ended up with a more granular level of detail as shown in the image below.  Power Map eat your heart out!


Here is the spreadsheet if you want to take a look for yourself.

So what sparks your interest to explore?

There are a couple of key points about all this.  Firstly there is a wealth of data available on the Internet.  I guess we all know this already.  But with the arrival of Power Query it has never been easier to get this data into Excel – from whatever format it is in (a TXT file in this case) – into something that you can actually use.

Hopefully this has inspired a few people to think about data they are interested in and do some recreational analysis.  I would love to hear of any interesting data sets other people find and have been able to use.  http://www.gapminder.org/ is one of my favourites.


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totally misunderstood…

the availability of System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager SP1 and System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP2

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below from MS:

System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager SP1 and System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP2 are now generally available and can be downloaded on the Microsoft Evaluation Center. These service packs deliver full compatibility with existing features for Windows 10 deployment, upgrade, and management.

Also included in these service packs are new hybrid features for customers using System Center Configuration Manager integrated with Microsoft Intune to manage devices. Some of the hybrid features that you can expect to see are conditional access policy, mobile application management, and support for Apple Device Enrollment Program (DEP). You can view the full list of hybrid features included in these service packs here.

Below are a few additional links that you may find helpful as you begin to explore these new releases.

MSDN subscribers can expect these service pack downloads to be available next week.

We hope you enjoy these new releases!


The System Center Configuration Manager Team

Performance Series | EP1, The Basics: How IT Pros Troubleshoot Slow PC’s and Servers (or, how they SHOULD)

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