The October 2017 release of PBI Desktop includes a much-anticipated feature that makes data storytelling easier: Bookmarking. Bookmarking in combination with the spotlight, drillthrough and what-if features allows you to create very compelling stories about your data. It’s currently in “preview” mode, so you have to turn it on by going to the options page. After a restart of PBI, there will be a new Bookmarks Pane available via the View tab.



You can now set up a report with all the filters that you want and then click the Add button under Bookmarks. This basically takes a “snapshot” of the page that you can refer back to later. The Spotlight feature can be used in combination with Bookmarks to highlight a specific visual on the page. When it’s time to present your story, you can step through all of the Bookmarks to create a powerful narrative.


As part of bookmarking, Microsoft also added a new selection pane. This pane lists out all objects on the report page you are currently viewing and allows you to select the visual from here. This is very useful when you are authoring complex reports with many overlapping charts. You can also hide visuals on your report through this pane.

By combining this feature with bookmarking, you can create very interesting reports with visuals changing out depending on the current bookmark selection. You can open the selection pane through the View tab.


In the selection pane, for each item on the current page, you’ll see either an eye or line icon letting you know if it is visible or not. Clicking on the eye icon will let you toggle the visual between hidden and visible.

Another feature which I like is that you can now download Power BI Desktop from the Windows Store. This will install the monthly release automatically in the background and there’s no need for admin privileges.

Click here to get a summary of all of the features in the October Power BI Desktop release. And in case you missed our summary of the September 2017 release of Power BI Desktop, go read it now.