8 Ways to See Your Data in a Whole New Way

February 7, 2019

You’ve got your sources loaded and have started building visuals and exploring your data in Microsoft Power BI. Now it’s time to take your data analysis to the next level and start looking at your data with fresh perspectives.

Luckily, Power BI offers a lot of ways to boost your reporting efforts and find hidden data insights. You can even ask natural-language questions about your data using the service. Here are some tips for getting the most flexibility out of your data.

  1. Create and Share Dashboards with QR Codes
    At the top right of every visual is a pin icon. Click this icon to add the visual to a dashboard. You can choose from existing dashboards or start a new one from this step. Visuals from any report or dashboard can be pinned to another, so you can combine information from different parts of the business to tell a complete story.

    Once pinned, visuals behave as tiles and can be resized and rearranged on the dashboard as needed. Click on a tile to see details about the visual, including which report it was pinned from. The left-hand Dashboards menu shows you a list of your dashboards.

    Sharing a dashboard is as simple as opening it and clicking on Share at the top right and entering the email addresses of the recipients. You can even create QR codes for a report in the Power BI service and use that QR in an email or wherever needed.


  1. Use Natural Language Search
    Natural language search allows you to ask questions about your data in a conversational way, as you would a co-worker in a meeting. At the top of each dashboard is an input box for asking questions.

    As you begin typing in the box, Power BI suggests phrases. If you choose one of the suggested phrases a visual will be auto-created to show you the answer. If you ask your own question, Power BI will interpret your question and display a visual to match.

  1. Get Quick Insights with Power BI
    Power BI uses machine learning to find insights within your data on its own. Go to the Datasets pane and click on the three dots next to the set you want to explore. You’ll find Quick Insights listed in the options that pop up.

    When the engine has finished running, View Insights to see visualizations of Power BI’s discoveries.

  1. Find Hidden Relationships in Your Data
    Power BI can cross filter, meaning that you can connect the data between two charts, and then use an element from one to filter the other, or both. This offers you a fresh perspective on your data and can help you spot hidden relationships through comparison.

  1. Connect to Additional Data Sources
    You can set up a gateway that uses Power BI to explore data on your own on-premises servers. You can combine website metrics with other marketing and sales data to find connections and see which strategies are working and which aren’t.

  1. Create Timelines
    Microsoft released Timeline Storyteller as a custom visual for Power BI to allow users to input a list of dates and arrange them into various shapes or represented chronologically in sequences.

  1. Ask What If?
    Power BI offers a What If scenario analysis tool. To get started with setting up the tool, first think about the scenarios you’re considering and ask yourself what the variables are that could lead to a change in results (competition, demand, pricing, etc.)

    In the Power BI Desktop Modeling tab, select the What if button and set your parameters for those variables. You can automatically add a slicer using the checkbox. You can then see what effect adjusting your variables across their parameters will have on other aspects of the data.

  1. Set Up Data Alerts
    With a Power BI Pro license, or a dashboard shared from a Premium account, you can set certain tiles to send you alerts when data changes. You can customize the exact parameters for the alerts to be notified of drastic or small changes, depending on your preference.

    Alerts are personalized to the user, so others can’t see them, even when you share the dashboard. They are currently not available for Power BI Desktop, but they do work in the Service and across the mobile apps.



5 Steps to Setting Up A Power BI Data Alert:

  • Click on the three dots on a gauge, KPI or card tile.
  • Click on the bell icon to add an alert.
  • Click on Add alert rule, set the slider to On, and title it so you don’t forget what the alert is for later.
  • Set your parameters and choose how often at most the alert can notify you to changes. You can ask for email alerts, too.
  • Click Save.

These are just a few of our favorite Power BI data visualization and data analysis tricks. Connect with us on social and share whatever tips and tricks you’ve got up your sleeve. Find us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

As a certified Power BI partner, Onebridge can answer any questions you have about Power BI, data visualization or anything else related to data analytics. Get in touch with us today, we’re here to help! Be sure to bookmark us and stay tuned for more data analysis blogs.

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