What's new in Power BI Report Server

Learn about what's new in Power BI Report Server and in Power BI Desktop optimized for Power BI Report Server. This article covers the major feature areas and is updated with each new release. For more about what's new in Power BI Report Server, see the Change log for Power BI Report Server.

Download Power BI Report Server and Power BI Desktop optimized for Power BI Report Server.

May 2020

Power BI Desktop optimized for Power BI Report Server

Among the highlights of this update are the hierarchical slicer and decomposition tree visuals, and query diagnostics. What follows is a complete list of new and updated features. For details, see the Power BI Report Server blog post for May 2020.


  • Hierarchical slicer

  • New action types for buttons:

    • Page navigation
    • Drill through
  • Buttons now support fill images

  • Multi-column sort for tables

  • Dual axis for line charts

  • Rectangle select for visuals

  • Conditional formatting for totals and subtotals in tables and matrices

  • Customize theme dialog

  • Conditional formatting discoverability

  • Decomposition tree

  • Filter pane updates:

    • New filter pane experience
    • Filter pane search


  • New DAX functions:

    • FirstNonBlankValue
    • LastNonBlankValue
    • Coalesce
  • Standard DAX separators


  • New visualization icons
  • Visual drop shadows

Data Preparation

  • Query diagnostics


  • Using default system credentials for web proxy

Power BI Report Server

Power BI visuals API

The API version shipped with this release is 3.2.

January 2020

See the Power BI Report Server January 2020 blog post for more details.

Power BI Desktop optimized for Power BI Report Server

This release brings many new features, such as conditional formatting for buttons, data profiling enhancements, and more formatting settings for KPIs and table visuals. Here's a summarized list of updates:


  • Setting a table column or matrix value as a custom URL
  • KPI visual formatting settings
  • Filter pane experience updates


  • Conditionally format buttons
  • Load more for Analyze insights
  • New DAX function: Quarter

Data preparation

  • Data profiling enhancements


  • New file format: .pbids
  • Performance improvements for modeling operations


Set a table column or matrix value as a custom URL

You can set a table column or matrix value as a custom URL. You find this new option under the conditional formatting card in the formatting pane.

KPI visual formatting settings

With this month's release, KPIs have new formatting options:

  • Indicator text formatting (font family, color, and alignment)
  • Trend axis transparency
  • Goal and distance text formatting (label text, font family, color, and size)
  • Distance text formatting (label text, positive direction, font family, color, and size)
  • Adding a date label with formatting (font family, color, and size)

You can conditionally format some of these new formatting options:

  • Indicator font color
  • Goal font color and Goal Distance font color
  • The good/bad/neutral status colors
  • Date font color

Filter pane experience updates

As part of the general availability of the new filter experience from the last release, we have streamlined the process to transition current reports to the new pane. When you open Power BI Report Server for the first time, you see a filter pane auto-update dialog. These updates also include banners in Report Server when reports need to be migrated to the new experience.


Conditional formatting for buttons

These conditional formatting updates are all button related. You can now dynamically set formatting for the following properties:

  • Button text font color
  • Button text
  • Icon line color
  • Outline color
  • Fill Color
  • Button tooltip (under the action card)

Load more for Analyze insights

When running the Analyze feature to find insights in your data, such as Explain the increase, we only run the machine-learning models for a set period of time to show you insights in a timely manner. If there's a lot of data to analyze, you can now choose to continue to run the analysis after the initial timeout.

New DAX function: Quarter

This month, we have a new DAX function, Quarter. The Quarter function returns the quarter corresponding to a specified date.

Data preparation

Data profiling enhancements

This month we're introducing a couple of significant enhancements to our Data Profiling capabilities within the Power Query Editor, including:

  • Multiple Grouping options for the Column Profile pane value distribution visual, specific by column type, in addition to the existing "By Value" criteria.
  • Text: By Text Length (number of characters).
  • Number: By Sign (positive/negative) and Parity (even/odd).
  • Date/DateTime: By Year, Month, Day, Week of Year, Day of Week, AM/PM Time, and Hour within a day.
  • And more for other data types, for example Logical True/False.

Filter options

You could already leverage several type-specific grouping criteria within the Column Profiles distribution pane. Now, you can also filter from within the callouts for each of the values in the distribution chart when grouping criteria is applied. For example, from the Data Profiles pane for a Date/DateTime column, you can exclude all values that fall in a given Month.


New file format: .pbids

This month we are releasing a new file format: .pbids, to streamline the "Get Data" experience for report creators in your organization. We recommend that admins create these files for commonly used connections.

When a report creator opens a .pbids file, Power BI Desktop prompts for authentication to connect to the data source specified in the file. Then the user selects the tables to load into the model. They may also need to select the database if one was not specified in the file. From there, the report creator can start building visualizations.

Find details and examples in the Using .pbids files to get data section of the "Data sources in Power BI Desktop" article.

Performance improvements for modeling operations

We have made a performance improvement in the Analysis Services engine to speed up modeling operations such as adding measures or calculated columns and creating relationships. The amount of improvement you see depends on the model, but we have seen 20x performance improvement for some customers for actions like opening a file and adding a measure.

That's all for the January 2020 release of Power BI Report Server. Continue sending feedback, and don't forget to vote for features that you'd like to see in the Power BI.

Power BI Report Server

Export to Excel from Power BI reports

Exporting to Excel from a Power BI report in Power BI Report Server now works the same as exporting to Excel from a Power BI report in the Power BI service. You can export directly to the Excel .xlsx format, and the export limit is 150 K rows.

Azure SQL Managed Instance support

You can now host a database catalog used for Power BI Report Server in an Azure SQL Managed Instance (MI) that's hosted either in a VM or in your data center. Support is limited to using database credentials for the connection to SQL MI.

Power BI Premium dataset support

You can connect to Power BI datasets using either Microsoft Report Builder or SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT). Then you can publish those reports to Power BI Report Server using SQL Server Analysis Services connectivity. Users need to use a stored Windows user name and password to enable the scenario.

AltText (alternative text) support for report elements

When authoring reports, you can use tooltips to specify text for each element on the report. Screen reader technologies will use these tooltips.

Azure Active Directory Application Proxy support

With Azure Active Directory Application Proxy, you no longer need to manage your own web application proxy in order to allow secure access via the web or mobile apps. See Remote access to on-premises applications through Azure Active Directory's Application Proxy for more information.

Custom headers

Sets header values for all URLs matching the specified regex pattern. Users can update the custom header value with valid XML to set header values for selected request URLs. Admins can add any number of headers in the XML. See CustomHeaders in the Reporting Services Server Properties Advanced Page article for details.

Transparent Database Encryption

Power BI Report Server now supports Transparent Database Encryption for the Power BI Report Server catalog database for Enterprise and Standard editions.

Power BI visuals API

The API version shipped with this release is 2.6.0.

Microsoft Report Builder update

The newly released version of Report Builder is fully compatible with the 2016, 2017, and 2019 versions of Reporting Services. It's also compatible with all released and supported versions of Power BI Report Server.

September 2019

See the Power BI Report Server September 2019 blog post for details about all the new features.

The September 2019 update of Power BI Report Server is packed with lots of Power BI report features. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Visual-level filters for slicers You can add a visual-level filter to slicers. It works like any other visual-level filter, just filtering the slicer itself and no other visuals. This filter is for useful for filtering out blanks or if you want to use measure filters.
  • Icon sets for table and matrix With KPI icons, you can set up rules for showing different sets of icons in your table and matrix, similar to icon sets in Excel.
  • Grouping visuals Now you can you group visuals, shapes, text boxes, images, and buttons together on a report page just like in PowerPoint. When you group objects together, you can move and resize them all together. Grouping makes it easier to work in a report with lots of objects layered on each page.
  • New default themes To go along with the new theme JSON options, we are updating the themes available for reports, and changing the default theme for new reports. The new default theme both aligns better with Microsoft's design language and follows best design practices for visuals.
  • Updated pane design We've refreshed much of our interface. We've updated all the panes, the footer, and view switcher to be a lighter color, updated spacing, and introduced new icons. The new design is the first step to refreshing the entire interface.

Here's the complete list of features.


  • Updated pane design
  • Visual level filters for slicers
  • Sorting for the performance analyzer pane
  • Visual header tooltips
  • Table & matrix total label customization
  • Sync slicer support for hierarchy slicer
  • Consistent font sizes across visuals
  • Icon sets for table and matrix
  • Percent support for conditional formatting by rules
  • New filter pane is now generally available
  • Data colors support when using play axis on scatter charts
  • Performance improves when using relative date and dropdown slicers
  • Grouping visuals
  • Color and text classes in themes
  • New default themes


  • Custom format strings

  • Conditional formatting updates for formatting options

    • Visual background and title colors
    • Card colors
    • Gauge fill and colors
    • Alt text
    • Border color
  • Conditional formatting warnings

  • Drill-through discoverability improvement

  • New DAX expressions: REMOVEFILTERS and CONVERT

  • New DAX comparison operator: ==

Data preparation

  • Improvements to M Intellisense
  • New Transform: Split column by positions
  • Copy to clipboard from data profiling

May 2019

Power BI Desktop for Power BI Report Server

See the Power BI Report Server May 2019 blog post for details about all the new features.

Here are some of the highlights of the release:

Performance analyzer

If your report runs slower than you expect, try the Performance Analyzer in Power BI Desktop. When you start it, it creates a log file with information about every action you take in the report. Read more about the Performance Analyzer.

New modeling view

In the new Modeling view in Power BI Desktop, you can view and work with complex datasets that contain many tables. Highlights include multiple diagram layouts and bulk editing of columns, measures, and tables. Read more about Modeling view.

Accessible visual interaction

You can now access data points on many of the built-in visuals using keyboard navigation. Read more about accessibility in Power BI reports.

Conditional formatting titles and web URL actions

Power BI reports are interactive. It makes sense that titles in a report would be dynamic, to reflect the current state of the report. You can use the same expression-bound formatting to make the URLs of your buttons, shapes, and images dynamic. Read more about expression-based titles.

Cross-highlight by axis labels

Select the axis category labels in a visual to cross-highlight the other elements on a page, just as you would select the data points in a visual. Read more about cross-highlighting.

All the new features

Here's the list of all the new features:


  • Cross-highlight on a single point in line charts
  • Word wrap on titles
  • Update default visual interaction to cross-filter ¬
  • Rounded corners for visual borders
  • Single select slicer 
  • Heat map support for Bing maps 
  • Cross-highlight by axis labels 
  • Default tooltip formatting 
  • Static web URL support for buttons, shapes & images 
  • Page alignment options  
  • Selection pane improvements 
  • Accessible visual interaction 
  • Conditional formatting for visual titles 
  • Conditional formatting for web URL actions for buttons, shapes, and images
  • Performance analyzer pane
  • Table and matrix keyboard navigation
  • Line data label position control
  • KPI visual Indicator text size control


  • Show dates as a hierarchy now generally available 


  • New modeling view now generally available
  • New DAX functions
  • Update to the ALLSELECTED DAX function
  • Disable autodate tables for new reports

Power BI Report Server

Support for trusted visuals

We've added support for Trusted Visuals to Power BI Report Server. Currently we support Mapbox and PowerOn visuals. ESRI, Visio, and PowerApps aren't supported for this release.)

Improved security features

RestrictedResourceMimeTypeForUpload, which admins can use to specify a comma-separated list of banned mime types, for example text/html.

January 2019

Support for these features in Power BI reports:

Row-level security Setting up row-level security (RLS) with Power BI Report Server can restrict data access for given users. Filters restrict data access at the row level, and you can define filters within roles.

Expand and collapse on matrix row headers We've added the ability to expand and collapse individual row headers, one of the most requested visual features.

Copy and paste between .pbix files You can copy visuals between .pbix files, either from the visual’s context menu or with the standard Ctrl+C keyboard shortcut, and paste it into another report with Ctrl+V.

Smart alignment guides You see smart alignment guides when moving objects on your report page, like you see in PowerPoint, to help you align everything on your page. You see the smart guides anytime you drag or resize something on your page. When you move an object near another one, it snaps into a position aligned with the other object.

Accessibility features Too many accessibility features to list: for example, fields list pane accessibility support. The fields list pane is fully accessible. You can navigate around the pane using just your keyboard and a screen reader and use the context menu to add fields to your report page.

Power BI visuals

  • The API version shipped with this release is 2.3.0.

Administrator settings

Administrators can set the following properties in SSMS Advanced Properties for the server farm:

AllowedResourceExtensionsForUpload Set extensions of resources that can be uploaded to the report server. Extensions for built-in file types like *.rdl and *.pbix are not required to be included. Default is “*, *.xml, *.xsd, *.xsl, *.png, *.gif, *.jpg, *.tif, *.jpeg, *.tiff, *.bmp, *.pdf, *.svg, *.rtf, *.txt, *.doc, *.docx, *.pps, *.ppt, *.pptx”.

SupportedHyperlinkSchemes Sets a comma-separated list of the URI schemes allowed to be defined on Hyperlink actions that are allowed to be rendered or “*” to enable all hyperlink schemes. For example, setting “http, https” would allow hyperlinks to “https://www. contoso.com”, but would remove hyperlinks to “mailto:bill@contoso.com” or “javascript:window.open(‘www.contoso.com’, ‘_blank’)”. Default is “*”.

August 2018

August 2018 sees many new features added to the version of Power BI Desktop optimized for Power BI Report Server. Here they are, broken out by area:

Highlights of the August 2018 release

Out of the whole long list of new features, these features stand out as especially interesting. For more information, see our blog post.

Report theming

Report theming has been added to the August 2018 release of Power BI Report Server, which allows you to quickly color your entire report to match a theme or corporate branding. When you import a theme, all your charts automatically update to use the theme colors, and you can have access to the theme colors from the color palette. You can upload a theme file using the Import Theme option under the Switch Theme button.

A theme file is a JSON file that includes all the colors you want us to use in your report along with any default formatting you want to apply to visuals. Here is a simple sample JSON theme that just updates the default colors of the report:

"name": "waveform",
"dataColors": [ "#31B6FD", "#4584D3", "#5BD078", "#A5D028", "#F5C040", "#05E0DB", "#3153FD", "#4C45D3", "#5BD0B0", "#54D028", "#D0F540", "#057BE0" ],
"foreground": "#F2F2F2",

Conditional formatting by a different field

The ability to format a column by a different field in your model is one of the significant improvements to conditional formatting.

Conditional formatting by values

Another new conditional formatting type is the Format by field value. The Format by field value lets you use a measure or column that specifies a color, either through a hex code or name, and applies that color to the background or font color.

Report page tooltips

The report page tooltips feature is included in the August 2018 update of Power BI Report Server. This feature lets you design a report page to be used as a custom tooltip for other visuals in your report.

Log axis improvements

We’ve greatly improved log axis in your cartesian charts. You should now be able to select log scale for the numeric axis of any cartesian chart, including combo chart, when you have data that is completely positive or completely negative.

SAP HANA SSO Direct Query

SAP HANA SSO Direct Query support with Kerberos is now available for Power BI Reports.


This scenario is supported only when SAP HANA is treated as a relational data source with reports you’ve created in Power BI desktop. To enable this in Power BI Desktop, in the DirectQuery menu under Options, check the “Treat SAP HANA as a relational source” and click OK.

Power BI visuals

  • The API version shipped with this release is 1.13.0.

  • Now Power BI visuals can fall back to a previous version compatible with the current version of the server API (if available).




May 2018

Configure Power BI iOS mobile apps for report servers remotely

As an IT admin, you can now use your organization's MDM tool to remotely configure Power BI iOS mobile app access to a report server. See Configure Power BI iOS mobile app access to a report server remotely for details.

March 2018

March 2018 sees many, many new features added to the version of Power BI Desktop optimized for Power BI Report Server. Here they are, broken out by area:

Highlights of the March 2018 release

Out of the whole long list of new features, these features stand out as especially interesting.

Rule-based conditional formatting for table and matrix

Create rules to conditionally color the background or font color of a column based on specific business logic in your table or matrix.

Show and hide pages

You want readers to have access to your report, but some of the pages aren't quite finished. Now you can hide them until they're ready. Or you can hide pages from normal navigation, and readers can get to the page by bookmarks or drillthrough.


Speaking of bookmarking, create bookmarks to tell a story with the data in your report.

Multi-select data points across multiple charts

Select multiple data points in multiple charts and have the cross-filtering apply to the entire page.

Sync slicers across multiple pages of your report

A slicer can apply to one, two, or more pages in a report.

Quick measures

Create new measures based on existing measures and numerical columns in a table.

Drilling down filters other visuals

When you drill down in a given category in one visual, you can have it filter all the visuals on the page by that same category.

Visuals updates




Report server

Export to accessible PDF

When you export a paginated (RDL) report to PDF, you can now get an accessible/tagged PDF file. It's larger in size but easier for screen readers and other assistive technologies to read and navigate. You enable accessible PDF by setting the AccessiblePDF device information setting to True. See PDF Device Information Settings and Changing Device Information Settings.

Other improvements

October 2017

Power BI report data sources

Power BI reports in Power BI Report Server can connect to a variety of data sources. You can import data and schedule data refresh, or query it directly using DirectQuery or a live connection to SQL Server Analysis Services. See the list of data sources that support scheduled refresh and those that support DirectQuery in "Power BI report data sources in Power BI Report Server".

Scheduled data refresh for imported data

In Power BI Report Server, you can set up scheduled data refresh to keep data up-to-date in Power BI reports with an embedded model rather than a live connection or DirectQuery. With an embedded model, you import the data, so it's disconnected from the original data source. It needs to be updated to keep the data fresh, and scheduled refresh is the way to do that. Read more about "scheduled refresh for Power BI reports in Power BI Report Server".

Editing Power BI reports from the server

You can open and edit Power BI report (.pbix) files from the server, but you get back the original file you uploaded. If the data has been refreshed by the server, the data won’t be refreshed when you first open the file. You need to manually refresh it locally to see the change.

Large file upload/download

You can upload files up to 2 GB in size, though by default this limit is set to 1 GB in the Report Server settings in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). These files are stored in the database just as they are for SharePoint, and no special configuration for the SQL Server catalog is required.

Accessing shared datasets as OData feeds

You can access shared datasets from Power BI Desktop with an OData feed. For more information, see Accessing shared datasets as OData feeds in Power BI Report Server.


This release supports scale-out. Use a load-balancer and set server affinity for the best experience. The scenario is not yet optimized for scale-out, so you see models potentially replicated across multiple nodes. The scenario will work without the Network Load Balancer and sticky sessions. However, you not only see an over-use of memory across nodes as the model is loaded N times, but performance will slow in between connections as the model is streamed as it hits a new node in between requests.

Administrator settings

Administrators can set the following properties in SSMS Advanced Properties for the server farm:

  • EnableCustomVisuals: True/False
  • EnablePowerBIReportEmbeddedModels: True/False
  • EnablePowerBIReportExportData: True/False
  • MaxFileSizeMb: Default is now 1000
  • ModelCleanupCycleMinutes: How often it checks to evict models from memory
  • ModelExpirationMinutes: How long until model expires and is evicted, based on last time used
  • ScheduleRefreshTimeoutMinutes: How long data refresh can take for a model. The default is two hours. There is no hard upper limit.

Config file rsreportserver.config


Developer API

The developer API (REST API) introduced for SSRS 2017 has been extended for Power BI Report Server to work with both Excel files and .pbix files. One potential use case is to programmatically download files from the server, refresh them, and then republish them. This is the only way to refresh Excel workbooks with PowerPivot models, for example.

There is a new separate API for large files, which will be updated in the Power BI Report Server version of Swagger.

SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) and the Power BI Report Server memory footprint

Power BI Report Server now hosts SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) internally. This isn't specific to scheduled refresh. Hosting SSAS can greatly expand the report server memory footprint. The AS.ini configuration file is available on the server nodes, so if you're familiar with SSAS, you may want to update the settings, including maximum memory limit and disk caching etc. See Server properties in Analysis Services for details.

Viewing and interacting with Excel workbooks

Excel and Power BI contain a portfolio of tools that is unique in the industry. Together, they enable business analysts to more easily gather, shape, analyze, and visually explore their data. In addition to viewing Power BI reports in the web portal, business users can now do the same with Excel workbooks in Power BI Report Server, giving them a single location to publish and view their self-service Microsoft BI content.

We’ve published a walkthrough of how to add Office Online Server (OOS) to your Power BI Report Server preview environment. Customers with a Volume Licensing account can download OOS from the Volume License Servicing Center at no cost and will have view-only functionality. Once configured, users can view and interact with Excel workbooks that:

  • Have no external data source dependencies
  • Have a live connection to an external SQL Server Analysis Services data source
  • Have a PowerPivot data model

Support for new table and matrix visuals

Power BI Report Server now supports the new Power BI table and matrix visuals. To create reports with these visuals, you will need an updated Power BI Desktop release for the October 2017 release. It can't be installed side by side with the Power BI Desktop (June 2017) release. For the latest version of Power BI Desktop, on the Power BI Report Server download page, select Advanced download options.

June 2017

  • Power BI Report Server made generally available (GA).

May 2017

  • Power BI Report Server Preview made available
  • Ability to publish Power BI reports on-premises
    • support for Power BI visuals
    • Support for **Analysis Services live connections*- only with more data sources to come.
    • Power BI Mobile app updated to display Power BI reports hosted in Power BI Report Server
  • Enhanced collaboration in reports with comments

Next steps

Check these sources to keep up-to-date on new features in Power BI Report Server.

More questions? Try asking the Power BI Community