Data modeling is an important part of creating Power BI reports as it determines how the data will appear on the report. With data modeling you can select the type, format, category and summarization of data each field contains. Taking the time to model your data will give your reports a more polished, professional look.
To model your data, go to the modeling tab on the top toolbar.
To update a particular field, select from the field list on the right-hand side of the Power BI desktop or select a column from the data table view and then you will be able to select the modeling options. If you have any measures, they will only be available within the field list.
Within data types define whether the data column is a number or text. Numerical data types include decimal numbers, whole numbers or date and time.
Further define your data by selecting the format. With numerical data you can select currency type, choose from multiple date/time formats, specify how many decimal places to show or format as a percentage or scientific number.
Categorizing data is used mainly when you want to have map visuals on your report. To enable Power BI to pull data onto a map it is required to have a column categorized as a location. Locations can either be address fields, such as city/state/postal code or latitude/longitude fields.
Summarization determines how the data will calculate when it is pulled onto the report. Visualizations can be changed on the report to dictate whether the field should be a sum, average or count, but if a data field is going to be used multiple times on a report it saves time to select a default summarization versus changing each individual visualization.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of data modeling take this knowledge and test it out on your data to determine how it will affect your reports.
-Jerica Coleman, CRM and Power BI Consultant