Power BI Reports Support QR Codes on iOS

Microsoft makes several updates to Power BI, including the ability for iPhone users to create QR codes that point to their reports.

Microsoft BI on iPhone

Power BI mobile users, at least those clutching to their iPhones, have another option for quickly getting to their reports: QR codes.

QR, or quick-response, codes are blocky, barcode-like symbols that can be used for a variety of purposes. Consumers typically encounter them in magazine advertisements, signage and other printed materials. When scanned with a smartphone camera and compatible app, the machine-readable code can take a user to a product's or promotional campaign's Website.

In Power BI for iOS, QR codes provide a shortcut to reports authored on the platform.

The time-saving feature spares iPhone users the time it takes to hunt down a report by allowing users of the iPhone app to simply scan a code and arrive at the intended report. "First, sign in to the Power BI service and open the report you want to link. Click the ellipsis (…) for the action menu in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, and select Generate QR," Romi Koifman, a Microsoft Power BI program manager, instructed in a May 9 announcement. With the code in hand, a user can send it via email or print it out.

The Android version of the Power BI app gains a new global search function with autocomplete capabilities that enables users to search reports, groups and dashboards by name. As its name suggests, the Recent menu provides one-tap access to previously viewed Power BI items.

Viewing SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services analytics data on both the Android and iOS of the app is now less resource-intensive, added Koifman. The apps support parameter-constrained shared data sets, reducing load times and the amount of data that is pushed to a mobile device, helping users avoid their mobile carrier's data caps and overage charges.

Also new is the ability to view mobile reports featuring custom themes with highlighted metrics. On Windows Mobile, the Power BI app now includes a notification that alerts users when dashboards are shared with them. Finally, the report slicers in all three versions of the app (Android, iOS and Windows) gain a new multi-select option.

Power BI users have more custom visualizations to choose from in May. Newly added visuals include the LineDot chart, Time Brush, Table Sorter, Network Navigator and Attribute Slicer.

Power BI users in charge of their organization's social media marketing or outreach will be particularly interested in the new visuals, according to Microsoft Power Group Program Manager Jono Luk.

"Using the Time Brush visual, our users are able to quickly filter to the time range that is of interest to inspect. From there, the Network Navigator visual enables the user to easily identify the at-mentions and hash-tags that are trending well/heavily used," blogged Luk. "These will show you the influencers reach out to and to follow." Users can then call up the Attribute Slicer and Table Sorter visuals to discover trending tags and users on Twitter and other social media outlets.

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 Internet.com network of...