Incremental refresh (preview Power BI Premium)

If there is one new feature I love the most this month, it’s the incremental refresh, heads down. Unfortunately it’s only available for Power BI Premium and not for Pro users. However, this has been discussed for a while now in the Power BI community and the preview is finally here. Before this feature came out, refreshing was an all or nothing thing in which you had to load the entire data model every time. If you had a large model – of say 15 GB or more – refreshing could take some time. The idea of incremental refresh is that you only refresh a segment of your data. You already had the data from before, so you just want to focus on the new data that has changed in the meantime. Needless to say, incremental refreshing will save you a lot of time when reports have to be renewed on – for example – an hourly basis.

To use this, you have to enable it as a preview feature in your Power BI desktop settings and then set up two parameters which you have to fill in, namely RangeStart and RangeEnd. These are reserved names.

When these parameters have been set up, we can select the table where we want to do incremental refresh on and define the rules that are going to be in place for this action.

We select the table name, how long we want to store the data in the past and what data we want to refresh. For example, you can refresh all rows from the last days, weeks and years. It’s all up to you.

Conditional Formatting by Different Field

We used to set colors on items based on the value of the field or aggregation type we had in our data. Value columns that we didn’t add in our visual couldn’t be used for conditional formatting. From now on this is possible. You can show a summarized field in your visual, but you can also format on, let’s say, an average value.

Web Connector by Example Data (preview)

This connector was already available before this release. It extracts data from HTML tables on a web page so that you can import the data into Power BI desktop and create a model from it. Usually the web pages you are trying to get data from don’t have simple HTML tables. However, the new feature includes a button called ‘Extract table using examples’. You can use it after you inserted a web page for retrieving data.

This button pulls up a page where you can see a preview of the site and a number of auto-detected HTML tables. You can now specify example sample values for what data you want to extract. All you need to do is start typing the data you see in the table and Power BI’s algorithm automatically retrieves all the data from the entire column you try to connect with.

Common Data Service for Apps Connector

Common Data Service for Apps allows you to securely store and manage data that’s used in apps you’ve developed or apps from Microsoft and app providers. Data within CDS for Apps is stored within a set of standard and custom entities. You can safely connect to your CDS from your Power BI desktop and use the model as a source for your reports. I will not go into detail what the CDS for apps actually is, but if you would like to know more about this topic I would suggest to take a quick look at this article.