Slicers are an interactive filter that can be placed on a Power BI report. Only one field can be used per slicer, but multiple slicers can be used within a report.
It is important to remember that data can be filtered by selecting a data point on a visual as well, so a slicer may not always be necessary. In the screenshot below we see the report as it normally appears on the left; however, on the right we see how the report visuals change when the south service area was selected from the bottom visual.
Let’s look at some of the options available with slicers.
There are a few options regarding what can be selected within a slicer. These options are available on the formatting tab, that is accessed by selecting the paint roller icon on the visualization tab.
- Single Select
- Users can only select one option within the slicer. This defaults to off, select the slider to turn on.
- Multi-select with CTRL
- Users will be allowed to select multiple options by depressing the control key. This defaults to on, select the slider to turn off.
- When both this option and the single select options are turned off users can select multiple options by clicking on them.
- Show “Select all” option
- A select all box will appear at the top of the list. This defaults to off, select the slider to turn on.
- With slicers if nothing is selected the report will show all results set for that report page, so generally I find the select all option to be unnecessary.
Formatting options that are similar across visual types, such as colors, borders and headers will not be covered here. We are looking at formatting specific to the slicer visual.
- Can be changed on the formatting tab under “General”.
- Options will be displayed as buttons that can be selected.
- Options will be displayed as a list with check-boxes to the left side.
- List versus Dropdown
- Available for slicers with a vertical orientation. Can be changed within the slicer itself by selecting the drop-down arrow that appears when hovering over the slicer.
- All options will appear within a list. A scrollbar will appear if there are too many options to fit within the slicer size.
- One dropdown box will be shown, and all options can be accessed by selecting the arrow within the box. This allows slicers to take up less room than a list.
- Search Box
- Can be added within by selecting the ellipses (three dots) when the slicer is selected.
- Adds a search box at the top of the slicer list and allows end users to search for a particular value. This is beneficial when lists are long, such as customer or item lists.
Slicers can be used across multiple pages and synced together.
To access the sync slicer tab go to “View” and then “Sync Slicers”.
Within this tab a slicer can be chosen to appear on multiple pages and if the slicer will sync between the pages. In the screenshot below we have set our slicer to appear on all three pages of the report. It has also been set to sync between the sales page and page 1 of the report so if a selection is made on either of those pages it will update both pages.
Slicers can be a highly beneficial tool to use within your Power BI report. When designing a report take some time to think about what slicers would be needed for an end user. Have slicers that will allow the end users to dig into or analyze the data easily, but avoid having too many that will clutter up your report.
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-Jerica Coleman, CRM and Power BI Consultant