Last year was a phenomenal year, and what better way to kick off 2020 than with a bunch of new features (including relationships and dependancies) to make your life easier as you document your Power BI reports.

The Power BI community continues to grow, and with it we continue to evolve and challenge ourselves to deliver more for you, the users of Power BI.

Power BI Documenter can decrease the time and effort you put into documentation by up to 90%. In a recent example, we found that a fairly complex Power BI report could be documented in about 4 hours. The same report without Power BI Documenter would easily take 5 full days.

Keep reading to find out about all the new amazing features that have been added to Power BI Documenter since our last update.

New Features

As mentioned earlier we added some new cool features to Power BI Documenter. As well as refining the UI, we heard your voice and introduced two of the most wanted requested capabilities.

Relationships

You asked for it we delivered the feature. Adding “Relationships” to “Model” tab was one of the most requested features in 2019. You can now easily see and download entity relationships from “Relationships” section in “Model” tab.

You can find out the following in the “Relationships” section:

  • Key column “From” table
  • Key column “To” table
  • Is relationship active
  • Cardinality
Power BI Model Relationships in Power BI Documenter
Power BI Model Relationships in Power BI Documenter

Dependencies

The other key feature you asked for was DAX Dependencies. This was a quite challenging and complex feature to implement. But we made it for you. Honestly, this is one of the coolest features we ever implemented in Power BI Documenter – tell your colleagues to check it out!

For some of you who don’t quite know what this feature is all about, it is to identify if an object in your data model is dependent to any other objects. For instance, you have a calculated column that used a measure in its DAX definition. If for any reason you delete that measure you break the dependent calculated column. Now imagine if there is more than just one calculated column dependent to the deleted measure, then deleting that measure is a big mistake.

Here is a sample of how your DAX expressions may depend on other expressions. The following diagram shows how other measures are related to “Internet Sales” measure.

Internet Sales Measure DAX Dependencies in Power BI Documenter
Internet Sales Measure DAX Dependencies

As you can see in the above diagram should you need to make any changes in the “Internet Sales” measure that change potentially affects all dependent measures.

Using the new “Dependencies” feature is quite easy. We added a new specific tab for it. Simply click the “Dependencies” tab and you’ll see the following drop-downs available for you:

  • Dependencies [Diagram]
  • Field Expression Dependencies
  • Table Expression Dependencies
  • Role Expression Dependencies

Dependencies [Diagram]

This section give a graphical view of the dependencies in your model. The default view only shows measure dependencies, but you can select any other objects from the filter to add/remove any other objects. The following objects are available to filter:

  • Measures (default): Add/remove measure from/to diagram
  • Calculated Columns: Add/remove calculated columns from/to diagram
  • Columns: Add/remove columns from/to diagram

We also made some predefined filters available for you to select as below:

  • Measures Only: To show only measures dependencies in the diagram
  • Show All: Show all object dependencies in the diagram. If your model is big this filter can make a really massive and busy diagram which can be hard to read.
  • Clear All: To clear the diagram canvas. You then can selectively add any objects from the filter.
DAX Dependencies in Power BI Documenter
DAX Dependencies in Power BI Documenter

You can also search for an object to add/remove to/from the diagram.

Searching Objects in DAX Dependencies in Power BI Documenter
Searching Objects in DAX Dependencies

Field Expression Dependencies

This section shows all field expression dependencies in your Power BI model. Field expression dependencies include dependencies between measures, calculated columns and columns. The table shows “Referencing Object”, “Referenced Object” and “Expression”. You can also download a copy of “Field Expression Dependencies” in CSV format.

Field Expression Dependencies in Power BI Documenter
Field Expression Dependencies

Table Expression Dependencies

If you have created any calculated table in your model you’ll find out their dependencies in the “Table Expression Dependencies” drop-down. As always, you can easily download a CSV version of the dependencies.

Table Expression Dependencies in Power BI Documenter
Table Expression Dependencies

Role Expression Dependencies

Last by definitely not least in the dependencies section is “Role Expression Dependencies” which analyses DAX expressions used in RLS (Row Level Security) and shows the dependencies in a table. Again you can download the list of dependencies in CSV format.

Role Expression Dependencies in Power BI Documenter
Role Expression Dependencies

A Refined User Interface

When you’re using an app day in, day out a great user experience not only makes your work more enjoyable, but it also boosts productivity and reduces the chance of mistakes.

We regularly ask for product feedback from users, and the insights we gather lead to better product decisions. Below are some of the changes we’ve recently rolled out:

Unified Colour Coding and Abbreviation Use

In December, we unified the colour codes and abbreviations used across Power BI Documenter. The following abbreviations are used and will be used across the tool:

AbbreviationColour CodeFull Phrase
CRedColumn
CCBlueCalculated Column
MGreenMeasure
CTN/ACalculated Table
HN/AHidden Object
VAmberVisual

Icons Used:

Icons and Abbreviations Used in Power BI Documenter
Icons and Abbreviations Used in Power BI Documenter

Rearranged Tabs

We identified that the old arrangement of tabs in Power BI Documenter wasn’t intuitive enough. So we rearranged them so that you can get the same information and insights about your Power BI reports easier.

The new tab arrangement is as below:

Power BI Documenter Tabs
Power BI Documenter Tabs
  • Report: This tab include general insights and information about your report including some statistical information about your report elements as well as fields usage in your report visuals. You can download the fields usage as CSV file.
  • Custom Visuals: Provides detailed information about custom visuals imported to your Power BI report along with their usage status (used/unused)
  • M Scripts: All your Power Query (M Scripts) in one page. You can copy the scripts to clipboard or download a copy of the scripts as TXT file
  • Model: Provides a wide range of information about your Power BI data model including your “Model Diagram”, “Relationships” which is a new feature (more on that in this post later), “Model Details”, “Table Details” and “Calculated Tables”. Using the “Model” tab you can easily see which tables, columns and measure are NOT directly used in any report visuals. We colour coded unused tables in Orange. You can also download “Relationships”, “Model Details”, “Table Details” and “Calculated Tables” in CSV format.
  • Dependencies: This is also a new feature showing all object model dependencies (more on this later in this post). You can download the object model dependencies as CSV.
  • Practices: Provides information about some best practices. An old cool feature available in Power BI Documenter is applying some of those best practices to your Power BI Report and make the improved version of your PBIT available for download.
  • Roles: Provides information about your RLS (Row Level Security) settings. You can download the Roles in CSV format.
  • Info: Provides interesting information about your PBIT file including the version of Power BI Desktop used to build the report, data refresh date, report theme used in your report and much more.

New Profile

As we build out the Data Vizioner platform your profile, and the people you work with are becoming increasingly important. As a first step we’ve given you the ability to update your profile to better reflect you.

You can now modify the following information:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Phone Number

To change your profile click on the menu on top right of the page and select “Profile Settings”. Then make the changes and click “Save”.

Power BI Documenter Profile Settings
Power BI Documenter Profile Settings

To go back click menu again then click “Files”.

Power BI Documenter Files
Power BI Documenter Files

This is the first step in a wider roll out of account functionality to support multiple users on the same account, and a more collaborative workspace.

We hope you enjoy using Power BI Documenter and the new features that have been rolled out over the past couple of months. 2020 will be an exciting year with lots of updates planned, so stay tuned.