The 4 best Power BI tips and tricks that will turn anyone into a power user

Written by Rob on February 20 2019

power BI power user 2

Power BI is an incredible tool, used by enterprises all over the world.

With more than five million users, businesses in every industry are using it to better understand their data. However, as powerful as the tool is, many are not using it to its full advantage. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of four tips and tricks to help you get the most of your data reporting.

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Ask your data questions

Power BI is an incredibly intuitive and user-focused programme. So much so, that the people at Microsoft have included a Q&A box, in which users can ask questions of their data in simple, natural language.

When you ask your question Power BI quickly responds, answering your question in the form of a visualisation before you can say ‘Microsoft’.

Better yet, this visualisation is interactive and will evolve as you refine and dig deeper into your query.

The Q&A box can be found on your Power BI dashboard, and works best if you include keywords already used in your axis labels.

 ask your data questions

(Source: Microsoft blog)

Beautify and share your reports

Power BI is known for its ability to turn data into highly engaging reports. However, with a few of our tricks up your sleeve, you can turn your visualisations up to 11.

Experiment with a range of graphs and charts

Power BI has a mix of different graph types available, all with different strengths. While a pie chart may be an excellent way to visualise certain datasets, for sets with similar values, a line or bar graph is clearer.

Enhance key areas of information

Guide your viewers eye to key metrics by experimenting with colour or even a summary icon.

Get in touch with your inner graphic designer

It may seem trivial, but colour selection and layout can help your report pack a punch. Consider sketching your report out before you create it in Power BI. Plan where KPIs will be, what colours will best visualise your graphs and how you will best tell a story with your data.

Data scientist and graphic designer, Miguel Myers created these stunning reports, which are both functional and engaging.

miguel myers report data

After you’ve wowed your colleagues with your report, make sure your share it in an accessible and useful way.

By creating your reports in a content pack you can hand pick who has access to them. Content packs have all the Power BI features, including:

  • Interactive data exploration
  • New visualisations
  • Integration with other data sources.

Furthermore, you can make these reports interactive, so your team can collaborate on them in real time.

Centralise and connect all your data

Thanks to the software’s ability to centralise data from a range of different sources, you are no longer left with data stuck in siloed systems. Instead, users can create a bird’s eye view of all company data.

You can import, join and visualise company data from a host of Microsoft systems, such as:

You can also import data to non-Microsoft sources too:

  • Google Analytics
  • Salesforce
  • Oracle
  • Hadoop
  • SAP
  • Snowflake
  • And more

While not every report will require data from such a wide range of sources, the option to explore metrics in one accessible dashboard could be critically valuable for end of year reports.

Automate data extraction

Accurate data is the cornerstone of effective data reporting. However, manual data extraction is time consuming and highly prone to human error. With Power BI, you don’t need to take that chance.

Power BI allows you to automate data extraction, transformation, loading and visualisation, ensuring your reports are created efficiently and accurately.

Furthermore, Microsoft has developed ways for users to automatically schedule dataset refreshes and duplicate workspaces, follow the links for concise step by step tutorials.

Never stop experimenting

When it comes to Power BI tips and tricks, we’ve barely scratched the surface of what is possible. However, we’ve included these four specifically as they each help to create reports that are engaging, provide a wide view of your business data and help to simplify your reporting.

For more tips and tricks be sure to subscribe to our blog, which we update regularly.

Download our free guide to building a KPI dasboard