Power BI Helper December 2019 Feature Summary

December 2019 is a major update in Power BI Helper. We believe this is the biggest update we have done so far. The list of updates is big. To name a few, now we have pages, visuals and bookmarks metadata available, visual comparer, visualization tree, the reverse dependency tree, DMV execution page, and dependant calculations for tables and columns with many more features. The layout of the Power BI Helper also had some changes in this version, which we believe would be well received. Let’s see what’s hot and new in the December 2019 version.

Special Thanks

Special thanks to Ferenc Csonka (Twitter), who spent time in this holiday period and tested the product with great attention to details and coming up with some awesome suggestions and ideas.

This update includes features below:

    • Visualization
      • List of NOT used fields or tables
      • New layout
        • Visualization tab
        • Bookmarks and tables added there
        • Fewer clicks, easier navigation
        • Better look
      • Search enhancement (Bug-fix)
      • Pages metadata (size, filter, order, etc)
      • Visuals metadata (type, custom title, etc)
      • Filter visuals based on pages
      • Filter fields based on pages or visuals
      • Visual/layout comparer
      • Visualization Tree
    • Documentation
      • Documentation of all visuals/pages/files used/not used/bookmarks
    • Modeling
      • Reverse dependency tree
      • Icons in the dependency tree
      • Dependent calculations for tables and columns
      • Relationships metadata
      • DMV Explorer

Check out this video to learn all about features above:

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New layout

New Look

We have a new layout with some pleasant look and feel;

Visualization Tab

In the new Visualization tab, now you can find information about fields and tables in one place (previously this was spread into two tabs);

Bookmarks in the Visualization tab

Bookmarks that previous was in another tab, now is added under the same tab too:

Easier Navigation

You can now navigate easier using some smart menu options. If you are in the search or M script tab, that requires the selecting Power BI file to be done first, those tabs are disabled

List of NOT used fields or tables

The very first version of Power BI Helper came with the list of fields and tables that are USED in visualization. However, we had many requests to come up with the list of tables and fields that are NOT used in visualizations, and that list is already under the Visualization tab (to get this feature working, you need to go to Model Analysis tab and connect to model first, then select the PBIX file in the Visualization tab)

You can see in the screenshot above that the expression used in visuals is also split into field name, table name, and aggregation for a better analysis of the results.

Search Enhancement

This version of Power BI helper comes with some search enhancements and bug fixes. here is an example of how it works:

Pages Information and Metadata

You can now get the list of all pages with all their information in the Visualization tab. Information includes page name, display name, size, display order, and some other information about filters.

Visualizations Information and Metadata

Similar to report pages, now you can also get all metadata information of visualizations, this includes the visual type, custom titles, their location, filters, and much other information.

Filter visuals and bookmarks based on the selected page

List of visuals can get filtered by selecting the page in the grid above;

Filter fields used in a page, or visual

Similar to the above, with selecting a page or visuals, you can see all fields (expressions) used for making it

Visualization Tree

The visual layout of every Power BI file (PBIX) file is stored as a tree structure (in JSON format). We have been always using this tree in developer mode ourselves but thought you probably get some benefits of seeing the tree.

Compare Tab: Visual Layout Comparer

Imke Feldmann previously created an awesome tool to compare two Power BI files, and it works perfectly. We do encourage you to check out her tool here and use it whenever needed. We also had some inquiries of adding something close to it (not exactly similar) in the Power BI helper. So here you go.

We are glad to introduce a new tab, which is a tool itself, called Compare. In this tab, you can select a second Power BI file, and compare it with the existing file.

The comparison comes in different tabs, you can see the actual layout tree:

You can even compare the two M scripts. At the moment, our compare tab doesn’t highlight the differences in the script. Hopefully, that comes later.

Documentation of all above

Power BI Helper had the documentation module in it since the very first few months, and now with all the information of metadata added above, the documentation has them all included. You can do the documentation either from the Model Analysis tab or from the Visualization tab.

Here is a screenshot view of part of the document generated:




We have some stunning new functions in the modeling part too. Let’s check them out.

The expression for columns, tables, and measures all in the Model Analysis Tab

In the Model Analysis tab, now you can see all the expressions needed, for calculated tables, columns and measures. Previously there was a section for all the expression, now we have an expression section for each type.

Dependency List

Now you can select a table, and see all the calculations that something from this table been used in it. You can also select a field and see all the calculations that this field has been used in:

Reverse Dependency Tree

We had the very popular feature of the dependency tree from a while ago in Power BI Helper. We’ve added some icons in the tree so that you can easier distinguish tables, columns, and measures from each other. We have also added a new tree: Reverse Dependency tree. The way that this tree works, is that with selecting a measure in the list above, it will create a list of other measures that are using this measure in them. We believe this would be even more useful than the dependency tree.

In the screenshot above, you can see which measures been using the measure “Sales Rolling 12 months” in their calculation hierarchy (Reverse Dependency Tree), and which other measures, tables, and columns been used to create the calculation of “Sales Rolling 12 Months” (Measure Dependency Tree)

Relationship Metadata

Previously we had just the list of inactive or both-directional relationships in the Modeling Advice tab, however, now you can see all properties for relationships;

The relationship metadata is also added to the documentation export.

DMV Explorer

DAX Studio is a great tool to write DAX statements, and if you haven’t used it so far, we do recommend you to download and use it. The tool is created by SQLBI and Darren Gobsell. DAX Studio had the DMV explorer for a long time, and we had the feeling that the audience will get benefits if this is also added as part of the Power BI Helper. So here it is, DMV explorer. DMV stands for Dynamic Management Views. These are views that give you some metadata information about the Analysis Services data model, and because the Power BI model is an analysis services model behind the scene, most of these views work for Power BI too. In Power BI Helper, these DMVs provide information about the model you are connected to.

You can select a DMV from the list, and see the outcome of executing it on the connected model;

There are also some bug-fixes and small changes here and there, you’ll find them when you start playing with the new version. Enjoy!

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Reza Rad
Trainer, Consultant, Mentor
Reza Rad is a Microsoft Regional Director, an Author, Trainer, Speaker and Consultant. He has a BSc in Computer engineering; he has more than 20 years’ experience in data analysis, BI, databases, programming, and development mostly on Microsoft technologies. He is a Microsoft Data Platform MVP for 12 continuous years (from 2011 till now) for his dedication in Microsoft BI. Reza is an active blogger and co-founder of RADACAD. Reza is also co-founder and co-organizer of Difinity conference in New Zealand, Power BI Summit, and Data Insight Summit.
Reza is author of more than 14 books on Microsoft Business Intelligence, most of these books are published under Power BI category. Among these are books such as Power BI DAX Simplified, Pro Power BI Architecture, Power BI from Rookie to Rock Star, Power Query books series, Row-Level Security in Power BI and etc.
He is an International Speaker in Microsoft Ignite, Microsoft Business Applications Summit, Data Insight Summit, PASS Summit, SQL Saturday and SQL user groups. And He is a Microsoft Certified Trainer.
Reza’s passion is to help you find the best data solution, he is Data enthusiast.
His articles on different aspects of technologies, especially on MS BI, can be found on his blog: https://radacad.com/blog.

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