Power BI: Let’s Visualize
Once the data is ready to go it’s time to start creating visualizations, which is how Power BI refers to all charts, tables and data on a report.
All available tables and fields are listed on the right-hand side of the Power BI desktop and there are a couple ways to begin building visualizations.
Select any field and drag it onto the white space to start building a visual. Continue pulling fields onto the same area and Power BI will build a visualization based on the data type of the fields selected.
Change the type by selecting other visualizations from the list on the right-hand side located next to the fields list. There are several types of visualizations available, including standard column/bar charts, pie/donut charts, tables, maps and cards. Hovering over any of the visualization pictures will tell you what it is.
You can also select the type of visualization to build first. Selecting the visualization will pop a grey square onto the report. Begin pulling fields either onto the grey square or on the locations listed underneath the visualization types on the right-hand side.
IMPORTANT TIP: To work on an individual visualization make sure the brackets appear around the outside edge. If they do not appear any changes you make will not occur to the visualization.
Let’s look at the locations available and how inputting fields will affect the visualization.
This is the field that will separate out your totals. Adding in more fields opens the ability to drill down into the data. In the below example the chart begins at the divisional level, then adds in project manager and job number as drill down options. Selecting a column will divide that total by the next field on the hierarchy.
Determines what field will separate out your data within the axis categories. In our below example we kept the axis as “Division” so that is running along the bottom and then added in project managers as the legend entry.
This field determines the data points on your chart. Multiple data points can be used if you want to summarize multiple field types. In our example we summarized “Contract Earned’, “Cash Over \ (Shortage) Amount” and “Over/(Under) Billed Amount” by division.
A couple notes on other non-standard chart visualization types:
- Map visualizations: The data field to summarize is added in size instead of value. The larger the bubble the higher the field value. You must have a location field type to use the map feature.
- Tables: All fields are entered as values and will be shown in the order they are listed underneath the value heading. You can drag and drop fields in the value list to adjust order.
- Slicer: A slicer gives you only one field option and it serves as a filter for the remaining visualizations on the report.
- Card: A card summarizes just one field.
Creating visualizations is the fun part of working with Power BI and it is important to get in there and really play around with how different visualizations look. In future blog posts we will be walking through applying filters and formatting visualizations.
-Jerica Coleman, CRM and Power BI Consultant