PivotChart Formatting

Once upon a time I was investigating whether Excel might be an acceptable tool for interfacing with some of our data.  I checked out PivotCharts and slicers and thought some interesting interactive ‘reports’ could be quickly built with them, so I set out to build a proof-of-concept demonstration.  It was going fine, until I noticed this issue.

Below are a couple screen shots of scrubbed data for illustration.  Can you see the issue?


Before Date Slicer is applied


After Date Slicer is applied

For the colour-blind or anyone who doesn’t see the issue, I’ll explain.  The colours that represent the organizations changed from one view to the next.  Org B is orange in the first view and blue in the second.  I find that extremely unsettling.  I expect the orange thing in one view to represent the same thing even when the filter has changed!  What’s the point of the speedy application of filters if you have to stop and totally reevaluate the visual each time it renders?

I understand that the formatting (including the colour palette) is applied after the set has been filtered, and this will cause the attribute’s colour to change if its position within the set changes. I would argue that from a business perspective, the format of an attribute should be applied before filtering, so that it is retained from one view to the next.

I did contact some folks at Microsoft in April of 2015 and they assured me it was on a list.  I’m still seeing this behavior today in Excel 2016 with Office 365 subscription, which is the current version according to: https://products.office.com/en-ca/excel  I await a new version to see if it’ll be resolved.

Hello Microsoft Flow

I’ve been reading about Microsoft Flow with interest, because I think that it may eventually solve a business problem for my company.  I don’t see the connectors I need yet, but I keep checking back and wishing I had more opportunity to try it out.

I just set up a new twitter account: @PASS_ProfDev for the Professional Development virtual chapter of PASS and thought I would try a simple Flow.  I wanted tweets from my personal twitter account to also post to the new account if they contain a certain hashtag.  The chapter has an o365 account with access to Flow, so I logged in and got started.

From Flow -> My Flows -> Create from Blank: it helpfully suggested the popular “When a new tweet is posted” trigger, which I selected.  Then I provided the login for my new twitter account. Next up was filling in the search criteria for the tweets I want to post from the new account.  I used Advanced Twitter Search to get the search text.  Then I told Flow what Action to do when it got a match, which was to “Post a tweet”, with the “Tweet text” set to “Tweet text”.


I chose to just tweet the same thing, but I could have added other text in there, for example mentioning the poster’s name, which I may have done if I were reposting all posts with the tag, instead of just my own.  Or I could have added in more conditions, such as checking that the poster has a minimum number of followers.  There are LOTS of triggers, conditions and actions that I could have used, but really this was meant to be the “hello world” of Flow.  There’s more information about the Twitter connection here.

Next I want to try something with Teams and Planner.  And I continue waiting for connectors to Word.