Power BI Desktop May 2016 Update Info: Conditional Formatting and Quick Calc

*Update: The Power BI team has finally published a blog post with all the new features and its glorious! Read about all the new enhancements and changes to Power BI Desktop right here.

So it appears that the May 2016 update to Power BI Desktop has dropped without any notification from the Power BI team on their blog or  a notification within Power BI Deskop. So I figured I’d take a moment to point out of the new enhancements to Power BI Desktop.

New to Power BI Desktop? Get started here.

1. Conditional Formatting on Tables

This one is awesome and has been a feature that we’ve all been waiting on for a while. We now have the ability to apply conditional formatting on a field based on a numeric value, as seen in the screenshot below.


To configure the conditional formatting on your Table, click the drop down arrow on the numeric field and select Conditional Formatting.


In the Conditional Formatting options, the formatting is based on the Base Value, which at this time appears to be limited to the field you’re applying the conditional formatting. The formatting can be based on the highest and lowest values in the column or on absolute values that you specify.

You can also use diverging colors, as seen here:



2. Quick Calc

Quick Calc is a new feature that easily allows us to create calculations by numeric measures in our data without having to write DAX. To see the new Quick Calc feature, select the drop down arrow next to the numeric field you want to use.


This will open the Quick Calc dialogue box:


Now we can quickly choose to show a value as a calculation of the percent of grand total.


Previously we’d have to write some DAX to calculate this, but now we can do this much more easily and give our users the ability to look at their data in a couple different ways. I would imagine that the Power BI team has plans to add additional capabilities to this feature.

Also, the conditional formatting can be configured from within the Power BI Service. 🙂

3. Publish Power BI Desktop to Pyramid Analytics Server w/ Live SSAS Connection

This is a new feature to this release of Power BI Desktop that Dan English (twitter | blog) pointed out. If your organization is leveraging Pyramid Analytics Server, you now have the capability to publish your Power BI Desktop files with a live connection to SQL Server Analysis Services to your Pyramid Analytics Server Instance. Pretty neat!

publish to pyramid

For more information on Power BI and Pyramid Analytics, check this out.


I’m pretty excited about the new features, but I’m really looking forward to the announcement from the Power BI team on these features and other new features we may have missed. So what are your thoughts on these new features? Leave me a comment and let me know.

And if you found any other features in this month’s update that I missed, definitely leave a comment and let me know!

7 thoughts on “Power BI Desktop May 2016 Update Info: Conditional Formatting and Quick Calc”

  1. Good updates for sure, though curious… How hard could it have been to add: RANK, % of Column Total, Difference from Previous & the other functions given to column-aggregations to this new quick-calc feature?

    Also, I would prefer that MS use this new Quick-Calc ‘wizard’ as a means to actually write the DAX expression as a measure instead of a pseudo-measure. This would solve the problem of DAX being a bit intimating while at the same time bringing people into the DAX experience. Seems a win-win strategy to me.

  2. Thanks for the head’s up Dusty!

    Yea for conditional formatting. LIke the quick calcs too.

    Looks like when they do the quick total there’s some syntax sugar mixed in as I don’t see the DAX for % of total (inserting Allselected I presume)

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