Year 2020: Pandemic, Power BI, and Beyond…

Wow, what a year 2020 has been! I think we have all heard enough about the pandemic, so no need to keep discussing that — hopefully, 2021 will take us all back to normal, or as close to it as possible! We have also seen some amazing Power BI releases this year. Thanks to the entire @PowerBI Team @Microsoft for all these great features! It has been an incredible year for Power BI!

Since there have been so many updates, it can get challenging trying to keep track of all of them. In this blog post, I will be listing my favourite features that were released this year. This list is based on what I started using immediately upon its release and the impact the feature had on how I use Power BI. It doesn’t mean that the other features weren’t also great, but these ones have been my favourite to use and have also made my clients really happy.

Let’s start from the beginning of the year, and go over each release with my favourite feature from that month:

Jan 2020

There was no Power BI release this month, although a new admin setting was introduced in the Power BI Service that I found very useful. Power BI admins are now required able to take action before users can create new publish to web embed codes — users will need to ask the admin to allow them to do this. For me, it is very important to be able to enable/disable or provide the publish to web permission to selected users, so I definitely appreciated this feature. Read more here.

Feb 2020: Power BI Release Link

  • Incremental refresh became generally available and incremental refresh was also introduced in Power BI Pro. Read more here.
  • Native hierarchical slicer.
Power BI hierarchical slicer

Mar 2020: Power BI Release Link

Power BI Line Chart Dual-axis

Apr 2020: Power BI Release Link

  • Introduction of dataset impact analysis. As a dataset owner, you need to understand how your dataset is being used. The dataset impact analysis helps you understand how careful you need to be when making changes to your dataset.
Power BI Dataset Impact Analysis
  • Personalize visuals empower end-users to explore and personalize visuals — all within the consumption view of a report.
Power BI Personalize Visuals
Power BI APR

May 2020: Power BI Release Link

  • 🚩 Introduction of deployment pipelines. A new and improved way for BI teams to manage content lifecycles within Power BI Premium.
Power BI Deployment Pipelines
Subreports in Power BI paginated Report
Power BI Visuals Shadow

Jun 2020: Power BI Release Link

  • Enablement of model view for live connection where you can create multiple layouts of a model and view and modify the report measures properties.
  • The new phone emulator has a fine-grained grid, which gives more flexibility in resizing and placing visuals. A longer canvas allows for more visuals to be added to the page.
  • The new line chart dot formatting option allows different coloured dots to show up for categories to help you call out particular points in your line charts.
Power BI Line Chart Dot Formatting

Jul 2020: Power BI Release Link

5 Year for Power BI

🥳 This month marked five years of Power BI!What an amazing journey, really glad to be a part of it. 🥳

  • 🚩 Introduction of external tools. This really changed how we used Power BI and opened the door for many other opportunities.
  • The gradient legend helps clarify the meaning of the colours in a visual to report viewers.
Power BI Gradient Legend

Aug 2020: Power BI Release Link

Power BI Lasso Selects Data Points
Sensitivity Labels in Excel using Power BI Dataset

Sep 2020: Power BI Release Link

  • 🚩 Introduction of the Power BI Premium per user license, which is a new way to license premium features on a per user basis. It includes all of the Pro license capabilities, along with features like paginated reports, AI, and other capabilities that are currently only available in Premium.
Premium Per Use License (PPU)
Lineage View Power BI Service
Power Automate export Power BI

Oct 2020: Power BI Release Link

Certified and Endorsed Power BI Reports and Apps
Canvas Watermarks Power BI

Nov 2020: Power BI Release Link

Search in Parameters in Paginated Reports
Power BI Visual Zoom Slider
Diagram View Power Bi Dataflows

Dec 2020: Power BI Release Link

Direct Query for Power BI and AAS datasets
Data Protection Labels in Power BI Desktop
Data Governance and Discovery Azure Purview

Last but not least, please check out the Power BI release plan community dashboard available here.


Every release this year has made Power BI a better product and really changed the way we use it and work with it. This compilation includes some of the features which directly impacted how I used Power BI and I hope that it can also help you discover some great new features that came out this year!

What are your favourite features/updates from this year? Share in the comments below!

Happy Holiday and Happy New Year! Stay safe! I’m looking forward to the upcoming features in 2021 and beyond.

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