Microsoft's Power BI Gains Timeline Slicer, iPhone Landscape Mode

Microsoft gives Power BI users more ways to slice and dice date-based data along with adding a new, more information-packed viewing mode for iPhone users.

Power BI

Microsoft continues to add new ways of exploring big data to its cloud-powered business intelligence offering, Power BI. Today, the software maker announced a new tool called the Timeline Slicer, a top-requested feature.

"The Timeline Slicer is a graphical date range selector used as a filtering component in Power BI," said Amir Netz, a Microsoft technical fellow, in a Nov. 3 announcement. The slicer makes it easier to select date ranges that span multiple months, quarters and years to generate the corresponding data and visualizations. Previously, users had to individually define date ranges using a "tedious" point-and-click selection process.

"With this simple slider control for dates, all you need to do is just click and drag to the range that you want," Netz instructed. Users can also select from a variety of background and selection colors to further customize the control.

"To use, simply import the Timeline Slicer from the Visuals gallery to your Power BI report and use it with a date column and immerse yourself with this amazing experience now." A video walkthrough of the new functionality is available here.

In addition, for iPhone users tired of the Power BI app's vertical orientation, Microsoft has turned the experience on its side.

A new landscape mode is available, mimicking the look and feel of the browser-based experience. "To view your dashboard in landscape, open it and simply rotate your phone. The dashboard layout will change from a serial list of tiles to a 'Bird's eye' view, meaning you will see all of your dashboard's tiles as they are in the Power BI web app," wrote Microsoft's Power BI group in a Nov. 2 blog post.

Users can zoom in and explore individual Power BI tiles by using a pinch gesture. Alternately, users can tap on a tile to enter the app's focus mode. "The new landscape capability combined with the existing focus mode enables you to choose the best orientation for each tile you want to view. For example, several tile types, such as trend lines and continuous bar charts that contain a lot of horizontal data, are best viewed in landscape mode," explained the group.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is working on providing a unified mobile business intelligence experience anchored by Power BI. "Whether using SQL Server Reporting Services on-premises, Power BI in the cloud, or both as your report delivery solution, we'll have a single mobile application (for each of Windows, iOS and Android) for consumption of all report types," stated the company in its analytics reporting roadmap.

Finally, mobile app developers have a new way of measuring the app store performance of their software.

appFigures, a New York-based app store intelligence company, announced that its platform is now a Power BI data source, enabling users to visualize several performance indicators in near real time. "With this integration, our users are now able to monitor and analyze an impressive set of app store metrics—from app download data to ratings to ad clicks and revenue—all with rich and interactive visual dashboards," said James Phillips, corporate vice president of Microsoft Business Intelligence products group, in a statement.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...