Category Archives: Microsoft News

Microsoft News

Take a Lap on Some of Your Favorite Tracks, Reimagined in Forza Motorsport 7

Earlier this week, the folks at ComputerBild published a feature on tracks in Forza Motorsport 7. Featuring a discussion with Turn 10 Studios creative director Dan Greenawalt, the article pointed out the many cutting-edge systems that Turn 10 uses to bring the tracks to life with new weather scenarios and alternate times of day that literally cast the tracks of Forza Motorsport 7 in a brand-new light. If you haven’t already done so, check out the article now.

Suzuka Circuit, Completely Rebuilt

It’s one thing to read about the changes coming to tracks in Forza Motorsport 7 but it’s a very different thing to see them for yourself. Suzuka is a prime example; like all of the real-world tracks in Forza Motorsport 7, Suzuka is officially licensed and completely rebuilt with High Res assets designed to look fantastic at native 4K and on the entire family of Xbox consoles. Not only is the track completely rebuilt and updated, Suzuka also features wet weather conditions for the first time in Forza history. Imagine tackling the “S Curves” at full speed, or barreling around the harrowing 130R, only this time battling the dynamic puddles that line the edges of the circuit, and the blinding spray of the cars in front of you. The same challenge that real-world drivers face at Suzuka lap-after-lap, will now be your challenge as well.

Returning Fan-Favorite, Maple Valley

I might be wrong, but I could swear I heard an audible gasp of excitement on the Interwebz back at E3 when we confirmed that Maple Valley would be returning with Forza Motorsport 7. Is there a more lauded, more beloved track in the Forza universe? Whether you’re looking to test your sideways skills on one of Forza’s best drifting tracks, or you want to push the edges of speed on its sweeping corners, Maple Valley is a masterpiece in every respect. Like Suzuka, it will also feature wet weather conditions as well – also a first in Forza history.

I want to make sure that you all understand what I mean when referring to conditions like weather and time of day. In Forza Motorsport 7, we’ve built tracks with a central goal in mind: Making every time you return to a track a unique experience. That goal manifests itself in a variety of ways.

Rapidly Changing Dynamic Weather

There’s no such thing as a simple “rain” setting in Forza Motorsport 7. Not for Sebring or the Nürburgring, or Brands Hatch, or any other track where wet conditions are available. Instead, the team has created a system that can smoothly transition through multiple weather conditions per track, and those conditions can (and often will) change throughout a race. You might start off with gray skies and fog on a track like Sebring, only to find yourself in the middle of a thunderstorm two laps later. The lights might go green at Silverstone during a light rain, only to find drivers in dry conditions by the end of Lap 2. As in the real world, conditions change and sometimes change quickly, and its up to drivers to react to those changes.

Bringing Time of Day to Life

Those dynamic conditions extend to time of day too. Turn 10 is building on the sky technology that was first seen in Forza Horizon 3, capturing real skies that bring life, motion, and color to every track in the game. Check out the screenshot of the observation tower at the Circuit of the Americas against a darkening sky – one glance is all it takes to recognize a Texas sky at dusk. Even Laguna Seca – a track that has been in Forza Motorsport since the very first game; a track that all of us have driven hundreds, if not thousands of laps on – feels completely new in Forza Motorsport 7.

Whether you’re talking time of day or the weather you’re driving in, it all comes back to thatcentral goal: every race should feel unique. When you’re playing through the Forza Driver’s Cup single player campaign, you’ll experience that first-hand. Take a race at a track like Silverstone as an example. Maybe the first time you play it, you’ll battle the elements in a typical British downpour. Go back and revisit that same race in campaign, your conditions may be completely different; in fact, you may not encounter rain at all. The developers at Turn 10 have introduced probability into the various race conditions scenarios; meaning that there is a percentage chance that the weather conditions might (or might not) change. One race, things will go from bad to worse; the next time around, conditions might stay in your favor. It’s that element of chance – and the need to prepare for whatever the race throws at you – that promises to make racing in Forza Motorsport 7 so exciting.

For me, weather and time of day are a game-changer. It will add the kind of variety and challenge that was only hinted at in previous versions of the game. The unpredictable conditions you drive in will affect your race more than ever before, and all of it runs at the rock-solid 60 fps that Forza Motorsport fans expect.

See below for all 32 tracks available to play in Forza Motorsport 7, and as always, stay tuned to for more Forza Motorsport 7 goodness as we draw closer to launch, and don’t forget to pre-order Ultimate Edition for early access on Sept. 29.

Brands Hatch

Circuit of the Americas

Daytona International Speedway

Dubai Circuit

Homestead-Miami Speedway

Maple Valley Raceway

Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello


Rio de Janeiro

Sebring International Raceway

Silverstone Racing Circuit

Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps

Suzuka Circuit

Virginia International Raceway

Yas Marina Circuit

Bernese Alps

Mount Panorama Circuit

Circuit de Catalunya


Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Sonoma Raceway

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Le Mans Circuit de la Sarthe

Lime Rock

Long Beach

Autodromo Nazionale Monza

Test Track Airfield


Road America

Road Atlanta

Top Gear

Watkins Glen

Modern workplaces in Asia: The best of times – Asia News Center

By Ralph Haupter, President, Microsoft Asia. This article was originally posted on LinkedIn.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …”  That’s how Charles Dickens saw the French Revolution. But what about the revolution that’s happening now: The 4th Industrial Revolution?

Today, I’ll just use the first half of his famous phrase and say: This is the start of “the best of times”.

Okay, it is inevitable that the accelerating advance of digital technology will throw up some daunting challenges. For instance, business models and company cultures will be disrupted, and cyberattack threats will remain ever present.

But let’s look further ahead. I say that because we are watching a bold new era unfold – one that can generate immense opportunities if mindsets are changed, workers empowered, technologies embraced, and data protected.

Digital experiences and tools have the potential to unlock the creator in all of us. We will be able to do more than we have ever done before. This will change the way we live. And, it will certainly change the way we work.

The rise of the “modern workplace” has already begun. Here, employees have unprecedented access to data that is democratized, but always secure. They enjoy flexible and mobile ways of working, using digital tools that liberate rather constrict them. They communicate and share knowledge seamlessly – not just across a physical office, but potentially across the world in diverse and internationally distributed teams.

[embedded content]

In a modern workplace, business leaders use technology to harness the collective ingenuity, creativity, and critical thinking of all employees. Hierarchies and silos within organisations are dismantled and collaborative teamwork is part of the culture.

When work becomes a thing that you do – and not just a place where you go – agile, data-driven, and customer-centric cultures take hold. Great ideas are implemented, new products and services are created, and workers become much more productive.

Data-driven solutions have the potential to transform any sector or industry. The principles of the modern workplace can be applied in unexpected ways and places, big and small. This shift bodes well for Asian businesses as they can tap relatively young, and more technically adaptive, workforces to compete in increasingly competitive global markets.

[embedded content]

An impressive example of modern workplace thinking – and action – can be found at DBS, the largest bank in Southeast Asia. For nearly 50 years it operated as a traditional financial institution. But, with ambitions to grow and facing aggressive competition from FinTechs and other rivals, it has been busy reinventing itself as a digital enterprise.

DBS envisages the banking experience of the future as being largely branchless, paperless, and even cashless. To get there it has adopted a truly digital mindset – not only among its leaders but across its entire staff. As one executive puts it, DBS might have 22,000 employees, but it is thinking like a start-up. New technologies are eagerly embraced, learning is embedded in its work culture, and it even has its own hackathons. So it was hardly a surprise when it was named World’s Best Digital Bank last year.

A key part of its transformation has been the early adoption of cloud-based productivity technology, in the form of Office 365, across its operations. Ultimately, the bank sees the cloud as a stronger place to secure its precious data than on-premises storage – which is a vital factor in building customer trust and meeting regulatory compliance. The cloud is not only secure, it is flexible. DBS employees who have ready access to relevant data on-the-go are more mobile and efficient. They are nimble and responsive. They engage customers, build relationships and pursue business leads outside the physical office and traditional office hours. In short, they are more competitive.

[embedded content]

Now, let’s look at a different country, sector, and scale, but a similar outcome. In Malaysia, the Nando’s restaurant chain has driven growth and stayed ahead of its rivals by adopting real time data and analytics infrastructure to cover its 70 outlets.

Managers at individual restaurants can now access up-to-the-minute sales information, employee rosters, inventory data, and even customer feedback on a smartphone dashboard. This is empowerment at its most practical. With this information, they can make informed, insightful and immediate decisions – from ordering in extra provisions to identifying what dishes are selling well on its menus. Data is no longer held exclusively by head office. Instead, employees in the field are also encouraged to collect, analyse and act on it.

[embedded content]

The benefits of a modern workplace model are there also for exporting manufacturers who compete in ever-more demanding markets around the world.

In the garment trade, for example, fashion trends can change faster than the weather. What is in vogue one day can quickly fall out of style. Because of this, retailers want shorter lead times from order to delivery. Design and sales processes must keep pace with changing consumer preferences, particularly when shipping a consignment to an overseas retailer can take weeks. Otherwise, you might find inventory still being sewed in your factory is suddenly no longer wanted on the racks of foreign stores.

Hong Kong’s Crystal Group tackled this challenge by modernizing its workplace. It adopted an Azure Cloud solution and deployed Windows 10 Enterprise and Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite. Thousands of its employees use connected devices to run applications covering styles, quotations, and sales. This infrastructure provides security, mobility and speed across almost all aspects of its business.

The result is “fast fashion”. A designer can now pitch a concept to a potential buyer on a laptop screen. Tweaks can be made on the spot and instantly sent back to the factory where a prototype sample garment can be run up and presented in less than a day.

Previously, a designer would travel to a customer’s office juggling multiple devices and folders with style printouts. While back at the Crystal office, an assistant designer would convert the drawings into soft copies and then upload them into a quotation system. Overall, it used to take up to seven days before a customer could sign off on a design. The change, as one executive puts it, has turned Crystal’s business model “inside out” and has made its customers happier.

Empowering employees, accelerating processes, delighting customers – these are just a few stories from data-driven modern workplaces across Asia.

Watch this space. As I say, this is the start of the “best of times”.

Please click here for more articles written by Ralph Haupter

AI harnesses nature to fly motor-less glider, mixed reality web series debuts and back-to-school apps go on sale – Weekend Reading: August 18 edition – The Official Microsoft Blog

The end of August is vacation season and—while many Microsoft employees are currently away from their desks and computers—the company continues its drumbeat of exciting news. Join us for this edition of Weekend Reading and learn recent highlights from Microsoft far and wide.

Speaking of late summer, it was in the the searing midday heat of the Nevada desert that Microsoft researchers recently tested a system that uses artificial intelligence to keep a sailplane (a type of glider) in the air without using a motor.

The complex AI system, which can identify things like air temperature, wind direction and areas where it isn’t allowed, autonomously finds and catches rides on naturally occurring thermals, similar to how many birds stay aloft. The work is a testbed for AI technologies in unpredictable environments.

A new web series called “Making mixed reality” celebrates developers, designers and artists using Windows Mixed Reality to create apps and experiences.

The series debuted Wednesday with a conversation with Lucas Rizzotto, an award-winning mixed reality creator, technologist and designer. Rizzotto has two HoloLens apps in the Windows Store: MyLab, a chemistry education app, and CyberSnake, a game that incorporates spatial sound and holographic burgers.

Every successful company will become a digital business in the near future. But not every company making that attempt will find success. Why do some companies fall short in their digital transformation efforts?

The three primary factors for failure include modernizing only the business applications, data centers or network infrastructure and then stopping, writes Anand Eswaran, corporate vice president of Microsoft Digital, Services, and Success on Microsoft Transform. “…You have to rethink everything from how we work and the future of customer experiences, to products and business models,” Eswaran writes.

Microsoft has acquired Cycle Computing, a leader in cloud computing orchestration, to help make it easier than ever for customers to use High-Performance Computing (HPC) and other Big Computing capabilities in the cloud.

“For too long, Big Computing has been accessible only to the most well-funded organizations. At Microsoft, we believe that access to Big Computing capabilities in the cloud has the power to transform many businesses and will be at the forefront of breakthrough experimentation and innovation in the decades to come,” writes Jason Zander, Microsoft Azure corporate vice president.

If you’re getting ready for fall classes and activities, the Back-to-School Discounted Apps Collection in the Windows Store has some great deals. They include 20 percent off Complete Anatomy in-app purchases, 30 percent off Stagelight in-app purchases and 50 percent off Movie Edit Plus Pro Windows Store Edition.

This week on the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, we featured Sky Yi. Sky is a middle school student who wrote a letter to Brad Smith as an assignment for one of his classes. Upon receiving the note, Brad traveled to the middle school in Nevada to surprise Sky. This letter reminded us about the power of education and, as everyone is heading back to school, we’re celebrating the sharp students and dedicated teachers whose passions for learning empower us all.

Thanks for joining us for Weekend Reading. Check back next Friday for another round-up of the week’s top events.

Thomas Kohnstamm
Microsoft News Center Staff

Hello, desktops. Meet Skype Preview

Starting today, the next generation of Skype is available in preview on desktop computers. It’s not yet complete and we need your feedback. We’re committed to providing a Skype experience you love, enhancing the way you talk, text, and experience the world—all from the comfort of your desktop.

For Mac and non-Windows 10 PC* users, Skype Preview delivers most of the great features of our next generation mobile experience but is specifically designed with desktop in mind, to take full advantage of the larger screen. Skype Preview puts chat front and center—making this the most expressive Skype ever. Group chats are livelier with new features that improve your connection with friends and family. You can also do more together in group calls, with real-time screen and photo sharing.

Animated image of a chat showing how to use the emojis to respond to a comment and to like a photo that was shared in the conversation.

We’re also previewing some features to make you more productive on your desktop. Try them out, let us know what you think, and share any ideas on how we can make them better.

  • @mentions, message reactions and a new notification panel—Stay on top of your day with help from the notification panel. Quickly jump back into conversations where you were @mentioned to see how people reacted to what you’ve said.

Image of a Skype group chat with notification panel displaying the list @mentions and reactions associated with the chat.

  • New chat media gallery—Finding shared content—such as links, documents, or media—in a chat has never been easier with the chat gallery.

Image of a chat where the Gallery pane is displayed showing an Excel workbook and a photo that has been shared in the conversation.

  • Enhanced group calls—Customize your group call experience with drag and drop ease. Say it with an emoji using our new in-call reactions, too!

Image of a group call showing how the in-call emoji can be used.

If you’re using Skype for Windows 10, great news! We’ve already started rolling out some of these features. To learn more, check out the Windows blog.

Skype brings people together to experience more every day and make life a little simpler and more convenient. Start experiencing it for yourself by downloading Skype Preview for non-Windows 10 PCs and Macs today at Skype Insider. Skype Preview will install alongside Skype classic, making it easy to switch back if needed. However, we recommend running one instance of Skype at a time so that you don’t get duplicate notifications for messages or calls.

Since this is a preview, it’s critical that we hear from you; simply click the heart on the menu and send us your thoughts. Or, tell us what you think in our Community. To learn more about the new Skype, visit the feature page. For questions, please visit the FAQs.

*Windows 10 version 1511 (OS Build 10586) and older.

Microsoft President Brad Smith goes back to school to surprise math student who wrote him a letter

[embedded content]

When Fernley, Nev., middle school student Sky Yi was assigned to write a letter to a favorite business, to learn how math is being used in the real world, he chose Microsoft.

“Of course, I picked Microsoft, since you guys manufacture every spoiled, squeaky little teener child’s favorite thing, the Xbox,” Yi wrote in his letter to Brad Smith, the company’s president and chief legal officer. “Also, you guys have awesome computer software and hardware. In fact, I’m typing this on Microsoft Word.”

He added, “I bet whoever is getting this letter, whether it be your secretary or whatnot, is probably just throwing this away or something like that.”

Turns out he was wrong. Not only did Smith read the letter, but the Microsoft executive was moved enough by the assignment to travel to Yi’s school to surprise him in person. The visit is showcased in a new video from the technology giant, above.

Brad Smith and student
Microsoft President Brad Smith speaks with middle school student Sky Yi. (YouTube screen shot)

The video features scenes of Smith and Yi reading the letter, and comments from Ken Jordan, the math teacher behind the assignment, before showing Smith surprising Yi in a classroom.

While the video highlights Microsoft’s latest hardware and software, it also shows the company’s focus on education technology. Microsoft is competing with Apple, Google, Amazon and many other tech companies to cater to students and teachers, aiming to turn them into fans and long-term users.

“What we’ve learned, what the country knows, is that middle school math is a game-changer,” Smith explains in the video. “If kids make it through 7th and 8th grade math, and they succeed, they’re almost certain to keep succeeding, they’re almost certain to graduate from high school.”

He adds, “One of the things that makes this story exciting is that this is a middle school that clearly has some great math teachers, doing really creative work, drawing kids in, helping them not just learn to count or focus on things like algebra, but showing how math has a real-world impact.”

On the video, Smith presents Yi with a new Surface Laptop, the company’s new notebook computer that comes with Windows 10 S, a version of the operating system that has been streamlined with schools in mind.

“Not bad for a little letter,” the Microsoft exec says.

Microsoft Security Intelligence Report Volume 22 is now available

The latest volume of the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report is now available for free download at

This new volume of the report includes threat data from the first quarter of 2017. The report also provides specific threat data for over 100 countries/regions. As mentioned in a recent blog, using the tremendous breadth and depth of signal and intelligence from our various cloud and on-premises solutions deployed globally, we investigate threats and vulnerabilities and regularly publish this report to educate enterprise organizations on the current state of threats and recommended best practices and solutions.

In this 22nd volume, we’ve made two significant changes:

  • We have organized the data sets into two categories, cloud and endpoint. Today, most enterprises now have hybrid environments and it’s important to provide more holistic visibility.
  • We are sharing data from a shorter time period, one quarter (January 2017 – March 2017), instead of the typical six months, as we shift our focus to delivering improved and more frequent updates in the future.

The threat landscape is constantly changing. Going forward, we plan to improve how we share the insights, and plan to share data on a more frequent basis – so that you can have more timely visibility into the latest threat insights. We are committed to continuing our investment in researching and sharing the latest security intelligence with you, as we have for over a decade. This shift in our approach is rooted in a principle that guides Microsoft technology investments: to leverage vast data and unique intelligence to help our customers respond to threats faster.

Here are 3 key findings from the report:

As organizations migrate more and more to the cloud, the frequency and sophistication of attacks on consumer and enterprise accounts in the cloud is growing.

  • There was a 300 percent increase in Microsoft cloud-based user accounts attacked year-over-year (Q1-2016 to Q1-2017).
  • The number of account sign-ins attempted from malicious IP addresses has increased by 44 percent year over year in Q1-2017.

Cloud services such as Microsoft Azure are perennial targets for attackers seeking to compromise and weaponize virtual machines and other services, and these attacks are taking place across the globe.

  • Over two-thirds of incoming attacks on Azure services in Q1-2017 came from IP addresses in China and the United States, at 35.1 percent and 32.5 percent, respectively. Korea was third at 3.1 percent, followed by 116 other countries and regions.

Ransomware is affecting different parts of the world to varying degrees.

  • Ransomware encounter rates are the lowest in Japan (0.012 percent in March 2017), China (0.014 percent), and the United States (0.02 percent).
  • Ransomware encounter rates are the highest in Europe vs. the rest of the world in Q1-2017.
    • Multiple European countries, including the Czech Republic (0.17 percent), Italy (0.14 percent), Hungary (0.14 percent), Spain (0.14 percent), Romania (0.13 percent), Croatia (0.13 percent), and Greece (0.12 percent) had much higher ransomware encounter rates than the worldwide average in March 2017.

Download Volume 22 of the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report today to access additional insights:

About the Author

Introducing Azure Event Grid – an event service for modern applications

Most modern applications are built using events – whether it is reacting to changes coming from IoT devices, responding to user clicks on mobile apps, or initiating business processes from customer requests. With the growth of event-based programming, there is an increased focus on serverless platforms, like Azure Functions, a serverless compute engine, and Azure Logic Apps, a serverless workflow orchestration engine. Both services enable you to focus on your application without worrying about any infrastructure, provisioning, or scaling.

Today, I am excited to announce that we are making event-based and serverless applications even easier to build on Azure. Azure Event Grid is a fully-managed event routing service and the first of its kind. Azure Event Grid greatly simplifies the development of event-based applications and simplifies the creation of serverless workflows. Using a single service, Azure Event Grid manages all routing of events from any source, to any destination, for any application.

Azure Event Grid is an innovative offering that makes an event a first-class object in Azure. With Azure Event Grid, you can subscribe to any event that is happening across your Azure resources and react using serverless platforms like Functions or Logic Apps. In addition to having built-in publishing support for events with services like Blob Storage and Resource Groups, Event Grid provides flexibility and allows you to create your own custom events to publish directly to the service. In addition to having a wide range of Azure services with built-in handlers for events, like Functions, Logic Apps, and Azure Automation, Event Grid allows flexibility in handling events, supporting custom web hooks to publish events to any service, even 3rd-party services outside of Azure. This flexibility creates endless application options and makes Azure Event Grid a truly unique service in the public cloud. 

Here is how it works:

Here are some additional details of this new Azure service:

  • Events as first-class objects with intelligent filtering: Azure Event Grid enables direct event filtering using event type, prefix or suffix, so your application will only need to receive the events you care about. Whether you want to handle built-in Azure events, like a file being added to storage, or you want to produce your own custom events and event handlers, Event Grid enables this through the same underlying model. Thus, no matter the service or the use case, the intelligent routing and filtering capabilities apply to every event scenario and ensure that your apps can focus on the core business logic instead of worrying about routing events.
  • Built to scale: Azure Event Grid is designed to be highly available and to handle massive scale dynamically, ensuring consistent performance and reliability for your critical services.
  • Opens new serverless possibilities: By allowing serverless endpoints to react to new event sources, Azure Event Grid enables event-based scenarios to span new services with ease, increasing the possibilities for your serverless applications. Both code-focused applications in Functions and visual workflow applications in Logic Apps benefit from Azure Event Grid.
  • Lowers barriers to ops automation: The same unified event management interface enables simpler operational and security automation, including easier policy enforcement with built-in support for Azure Automation to react to VM creations or infrastructure changes.

Today, Azure Event Grid has built-in integration with the following services:

Event Publishers and HandlersWe are working to deliver many more event sources and destinations later this year, including Azure Active Directory, API Management, IoT Hub, Service Bus, Azure Data Lake Store, Azure Cosmos DB, Azure Data Factory, and Storage Queues.

Azure Event Grid has a pay-per-event pricing model, so you only pay for what you use. Additionally, to help you get started quickly, the first 100,000 operations per month are free. Beyond 100,000 per month, pricing is $0.30 per million operations (per-operation) during the preview. More details can be found on the pricing page.

Azure Event Grid completes the missing half of serverless applications. It simplifies event routing and event handling with unparalleled flexibility. I am excited about the endless possibilities!

Go ahead and give it a try. I can’t wait to see what you build. To learn more try the quick start.

See ya around,


Visio custom visual is now in Public Preview and available in the store | Microsoft Power BI Blog | Microsoft Power BI

We are pleased to announce the Public preview of the Visio custom visual for Power BI.

The Visio custom visual will allow you to visualize data using Microsoft Visio diagrams from within Power BI dashboards and reports. Any Power BI user can add Visio custom visual from the store (get it from the store) to start using this capability right away.

With Visio, you can create illustrative diagrams, such as interconnected workflows and real-world layouts, to pursue operational intelligence. Using Visio and Power BI together, you can illustrate and compare data both as diagrams and as traditional Power BI visuals in one place, driving operational and business intelligence to understand the overall picture.

Note: The Public Preview of Visio custom visual is currently supported in the Power BI service and Power BI Desktop. Support for Power BI Mobile apps will arrive soon.

With this new visual, you can connect to a Visio diagram hosted on SharePoint or OneDrive for Business. The underlying Power BI data is then automatically and intelligently linked to the diagram based on its shape properties, eliminating the need to do this manually. In just a few clicks, Visio diagrams become yet another interactive Power BI visualization that can help you make informed decisions faster.

Try it out now in an embedded report:

Let’s look at this with a fictitious example. Contoso is a large retailer working to improve its inventory management. Using Power BI, the current inventory per store can be represented in a series of visualizations, including a tree-map that shows stock by item (left-side chart in the image below).


The visuals are perfect for an all-up view of inventory at this store. But what if Contoso needs more nuanced details, such as sales and inventory data for specific clothing racks? What if it needs to understand where each rack is located in the store and how they are positioned relative to one another? Using a Visio diagram of the store’s layout, Contoso can overlay the data in Power BI on Visio’s diagram of the clothing racks. The resulting Power BI dashboard provides an accurate, up-to-date representation of the overall store inventory, while also maintaining the ability to drill into specific items.


The treemap was replaced with individual item racks that have been color-coded and labeled based on the inventory levels from Power BI data. For example, when “Tea Dresses” is clicked in the Visio diagram, you quickly see that sales are very strong, which helps explain why inventory is low. Similarly, when “Suit Coats” is clicked in the Power BI bar chart, you see the item is well below its sales target and inventory is still high. You can also see that the suit coat rack is located in a back corner of the store, making it less accessible to customers. Based on this information, the Contoso team might decide to use more rack space for tea dresses and less for suit coats, or reposition the racks for greater accessibility.

There are endless types of Visio diagrams that can offer more detailed insights with Power BI, including:

  • Flow charts for identifying interdependencies
  • Fishbone diagrams for root-cause analysis
  • Organizational charts for assessing the impact of hierarchies on process decisions and people management


Visio flowchart illustrating a sample home loan approval process for a bank. Using the Power BI charts, the bank sees that actual ticket response times for performing property risk assessments are higher than expected. In the Visio diagram, that process step is highlighted in red indicating that, because it’s so early in the process, it could affect other steps in the future if the ticket processing issue isn’t resolved soon.


Fishbone chart showing that poor working conditions — specifically excessive noise and temperature, which are highlighted in red in the Visio diagram — are the root cause of diminished product quality. The diagram relies on the employee ratings of operational categories depicted in the Power BI charts on the right.


Dashboard showing how certain people and departments, illustrated by the Visio hierarchy diagram in the upper left, affect different organizational processes. In this case, the marketing and sales department is over budget on tele sales and tele call efforts, all of which are highlighted in red.

Known limitations of the Public Preview:

  • To access the Visio diagram from the Visio custom visual, you will need to sign into the host SharePoint with your organizational ID. The visual will prompt you with a sign-in window.
  • To include a Visio visual in a Publish to Web report, you must use an authenticated Visio diagram. Refer to the documentation for details.
  • The Visio visual public preview is not yet supported for Power BI Mobile apps, Power BI Embedded, exporting to PowerPoint, or email subscriptions.

Visio and Power BI are visual tools—each helps you to dissect data in new, meaningful ways. Together, they can uncover even more insights.

Get the Visio custom visual for Power BI from the Office store, or search for it in the integrated store in your Power BI Desktop or Power BI service.

To know more about Visio Power BI custom visual, please refer step-by-step help articles

Please visit our UserVoice site to submit your suggestions for improving Visio-Power BI connectivity. For questions about this and other features, email us at

Lastly, you can follow us on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter for the latest Visio news.

Register Now for the Fourth Annual ID@Xbox Pre-PAX Open House

Hi everyone!

We’d like to welcome you to Microsoft’s Redmond Campus on August 31 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for our annual Pre-PAX ID@Xbox Open House! If you’re planning to join us, please RSVP to this Eventbrite invite to ensure we have you registered.

You can play more than 50 awesome new games from amazing independent developers from all over the world, including seeing some of the very first games running on Xbox One X and Microsoft Mixed Reality headsets! We’ll also have a nice selection of first-party games from Microsoft Studios on hand too!

And of course, we’ll have some celebrity guests on hand as well, as well as our famous raffle — want to win a ticket to PAX, the super rare ID@Xbox Controller Pillow, or an Xbox One S? This is the place to do it!

No PAX Ticket Required to Attend!

This event is free and open to everyone (under 18 with parent or guardian, please)! It takes place at Microsoft’s Visitor Center in Building 92 in Redmond. We’ll also have bus service from the Washington State Convention Center (details below).

Here’s just a partial list of the games we’ll be showing:

  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) – Bluehole, Inc.
  • Black Desert Online – Pearl Abyss
  • Cuphead – StudioMDHR
  • Ooblets – Double Fine/Glumberland
  • Aftercharge – Chainsawesome Games
  • Ark: Survival Evolved – Studio Wildcard
  • Figment – Bedtime Digital Games
  • Hello Neighbor – tinyBuild
  • I, Hope – Arconyx Games
  • Little Triangle – Dreamoji
  • Moonlighter – 11bit Studios
  • Mulaka – Lienzo
  • Mutant Football League – Digital Dreams Entertainment
  • Nine Parchments – Frozenbyte
  • OK K.O.! Let’s Play Heroes – Cartoon Network Games
  • Path of Exile – Grinding Gear Games
  • Raiders of the Broken Planet – Mercury Steam
  • Road Redemption – Dark Seas Interactive
  • Robocraft Infinity – Freejam
  • Steven Universe: Save the Light – Cartoon Network Games
  • Strange Brigade – Rebellion
  • Streets of Rogue – tinyBuild
  • theHunter: Call of the Wild – Avalanche Studios
  • Unruly Heroes – Magic Design Studios
  • Yoku’s Island Express – Team17 Digital Ltd.

There’s just too many to list! You’ll have to come to see the rest.


ID@Xbox Pre-PAX Open House
Microsoft Visitors Center
15010 NE 36th Street, Building 92, Microsoft Campus, Redmond, WA 98052
There’s free on-site parking

Complimentary buses from Stewart Transportation will also transport attendees from the Washington State Convention Center to building 92. The first buses will leave the convention center at 4:30 p.m. from their Bus/Shuttle stop area.

Note: Our facilities are ADA compliant. If you need additional accommodations to attend the event, please let us know by emailing

Don’t forget to RSVP here and we look forward to seeing you at our ID@Xbox Pre-PAX Open House!