Another month, another batch of Power BI updates. This time, Microsoft introduces new tools for working in full-screen mode.
In Power BI, Microsoft's cloud-powered business intelligence (BI) and analytics offering, full-screen mode offers a focused view of the software's dashboard and its visualizations. It's useful for presentations and discussing data points in meetings, but it's a little lacking in flexibility.
With a new batch of updates, Microsoft has added new features that allow users to do more in full-screen mode, announced Microsoft Power BI Program Manager Amanda Cofsky in a March 11 company blog post
These include the ability to print without requiring users to exit full-screen mode. Now, while the Power BI dashboard occupies the entire screen, moving the cursor will reveal a menu overlay with additional options, including print. Selecting it, will open up a Web browser's print window.
Another option, Fit to Width, helps presenters eliminate distracting visual gaps in vertically oriented dashboards.
"Fit to Width expands your tiles to fill the entire canvas. This is useful for those dashboards that are taller than they are wide," wrote Cofsky. "For example, in Full Screen mode, the dashboard below has a lot of empty space to the right and the tiles are too small to be seen in the back of the room."
For users who like to reposition their tiles—Power BI displays visualizations and data points using a reconfigurable tiled interface—the software now allows users to customize their dashboards while maintaining an orderly appearance using the new Tile Flow feature. Turning on Tile Flow will align tiles to the top left of the UI, again helping to eliminate unsightly gaps.
Power BI's natural-language Q&A feature, which automatically generates visualizations after a user asks a question pertaining to his or her data, now supports two new charts, gauge and area, in addition to bar charts and other common chart and graph types. "To use these visuals, just add 'as area chart' or 'as gauge' to the end of your question," instructed Cofsky.
Earlier this week, Microsoft announced a new custom visual, the Gantt chart. Preferred by executives and project managers, this chart type provides an at-a-glance understanding of a project's timeline, progress and current status.
Finally, Microsoft has upgraded the Q&A feature itself. Q&A will now offer auto-complete suggestions after typing just a few characters. Power BI Q&A will also now suggest visual types after users type "as" at the end of their questions.
Power BI is quickly becoming the face of Microsoft analytics. The product supports live connections to SQL Server databases and integrates with a growing number of the company's business software products, including Dynamics AX
, Microsoft's new cloud-first enterprise resource planning (ERP) product offering.
Power BI can also be used to keep a watchful eye on Azure customer deployments. Last month's update to Azure Security Center
enables users, by way of a new content pack, to monitor attack patterns, view security alerts and uncover security risks affecting their Azure virtual machines.