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The Modern Office Ribbon Comes to Power BI Desktop: November 2019

Of all the Power BI Desktop releases in November 2019, the one I’m most thankful for is the Office modern ribbon.  Why? Because as a champion of self-service business intelligence, I know that accessibility and ease of use are critical to user success.

 

Let me give you an example. I was recently working on some strategic analysis for a meeting. The executive assistant working on the presentation reached out to me because she wanted to ensure that the visuals were well aligned with everything else in the presentation. Instead of going back and forth getting things just right, I showed her how to edit the report in the service and use the formatting pane to adjust font, sizing, etc. We’ve been planning to get together to do the same thing in Power BI Desktop-- so the modern ribbon comes just in time for us. She is an expert in PowerPoint, and this improvement enables her to leverage her existing expertise to format data visualizations. Although I got a sneak peek at the modern ribbon, it will soon be released to everyone in the November update.  

What is the modern ribbon?  

We can take the simplified Office ribbon for granted as if it’s been unchanged for years. But in fact, the Office ribbon got a major upgrade over the past year. For context, here’s a video introducing the modern ribbon: 

The hierarchical menu limits clutter while allowing the user to quickly find whatever they need. Best of all, the new ribbon is more accessible for users who rely on screen readers. I watched Will Thompson preview the modern ribbon for Power BI Desktop at the Power BI Roadmap session at the Microsoft Business Application Summit (MBAS) in April of 2019.

At that time, Will demoed the theme gallery and the formatting area. In less than 9 months, Microsoft has delivered this powerful tool to Power BI Desktop. 

Modern Ribbon in Power BI Desktop 

As of the November 2019 release, the modern ribbon is in preview. It has the same icons and layout as Office (meaning that they are optimized for high contrast and strategic use of color). The ribbon is dynamic. It adapts to each view (report view, data view, modeling view), increasing relevance and improving accessibility for report creators. 

 

The theme gallery previewed at MBAS is included in the new ribbon, allowing users to quickly see the impact of changing the theme on the current report. These built-in themes were also refreshed recently, being optimized for accessibility and impact.  One difference I noticed from Amanda's demo and Will Thompson's is that when he hovered over the themes, the visuals in the report updated to reflect the theme, but that feature does not look like it will be in the November release. 

 

Since the ribbon is dynamic, changing with the context, clicking on a measure brings up Measure Tools. Measure Tools is a dynamic tab that enables the report editor to set name, formatting, data category, and home table without having to navigate to the Modeling View. 

 

The ribbon can also be minimized, giving report creators more room to work. 

 

The modern ribbon is a prerequisite for enabling users to apply Office themes to the Desktop experience (yes, including dark mode).  More features are definitely planned for the Power BI ribbon (including, I believe, a full transition from the formatting pane to the ribbon!). 

 

Many thanks to Amanda Cofsky for hosting the Triple A Event and to the Power BI Community team for giving us the opportunity to see this release ahead of time! What about you? What features would you like to see in the ribbon first?

Comments

Hi, if the new ribbon is in preview, can we assume it will definitely be made a permanent feature? 

I don't see the November release yet?

Spoiler
Spoiler
Yes, the modern ribbon is here to stay. It does need to be turned on through options and settings, which I think requires an update. 

It takes a bit of time for the new relase to roll out. You might try going to the Microsoft Store to see if it's there for you yet (mine was last night), and then click get updates to get it now. 

The November release is available now, however you still need to go to File > Options & Settings > Preview Features to turn on the new ribbon feature

Hi there,
Where is the Edit Query (Power Qury Editor) goes?

 

Oded Dror

Edit Queries is now Transform Data. Every time I hit that button, I feel really really cool, like it's going through door that gives me super powers.

Thank you

By the way, here's Program Manager Tessa Hurr's official post on the new ribbon, which also has a section:
Where did the actions go?

I could not see any way to format a measure (not a column) in the new ribbon.

I hope the old ribbon is not going away completely.  I personally do not like the new ribbon.

Since I've enabled this feature (Modern Ribbon) everytime I add a visualization from the Appsource and I want to remove it, I right click that visualization and  I'm not able to remove it since the Option for the event is not available, I think this is a bug, If I disable the Modern Ribbon I can remove the added visualizations.
Is anybody is aware of this???

Hi sandiquiz,

Formatting measures is contextual now. Click on a measure to get the Measure tools to display in the ribbon. Then, click it to see formatting options. 

 

Measure Tools.png

 

 

 

 

I'm confident that the Power BI team is working with the Office team to make the ribbon as powerful as it is in Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. And for now it's in preview, so you can use the old ribbon until the new one's fully built.