Power BI is a Microsoft's latest Business Intelligence tool primarily designed to assist everyone in analyzing and visualizing their data. This Power BI tutorial helps you learn the basics as well as advanced level concepts surrounding this tool. It enables you to gain a higher level of expertise in this domain.
So, let’s get acquainted with its working to create robust data models and generate reports. The below-mentioned ones are the topics that are discussed in this Power BI Desktop tutorial.
Now, let's start this Power BI tutorial by addressing the most essential and fundamental question, what actually is Power BI?
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Power BI is a cloud-based Business Intelligence Service developed by Microsoft for non-technical business users with tools to aggregate, analyze, share, and visualize data.
Power BI Desktop Tutorial for Beginners | What is Power BI? | Power BI Overview
Power BI Desktop is a free software application that can be installed on a local computer, and it allows the user to ingest, transform, integrate, and enrich data. Microsoft Power BI Desktop will enable you to ingest, process, combine and improve your data. It will connect all your data sources, simplifies them and share with scalable dashboards, embedded visuals, interactive reports, and others.
It also helps in connecting various data sources and combine them into a data model, build visuals, collect visuals, and share reports with other people in the organization. Most users who work on BI projects choose Power BI Desktop to create reports and to share them with others.
Power BI Desktop consists of three basic steps to create a Report, listed as follows:
The more you use it, the better you’ll get at it. So, let’s get started.
Installing Power BI Desktop: Power BI Desktop can be installed using a simple process as follows:
Go to powerbi.com Products >> Power BI Desktop >> Downloads page Click on the Download Button
You can be a free user at first and later can download a paid version if you like. There is a significant difference between the access rights for the free users and paid users, which can be identified in the pricing page. The data usage capacity is the major difference between them.
The initial thing that you should do to build a dashboard is connecting with your data sources. The steps to import the data sets are as follows:
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When you are adding data for the first time, a blank screen will appear, and you will come across three basic views on the left of the screen.
Here are a few things to take care of before creating the dashboard:
You can directly move to the report view once you're done with all the required transformations of your Power BI Desktop.
Related Article: What is Power BI Slicer? A Complete Guide
Before moving into dashboard creation, let's discuss what is a dashboard first
A dashboard can be defined as a canvas to bring various visualizations or elements representing data sets together. It will provide you with the story overview, and contains all the critical aspects of the report. A report can be a single page or multiple pages long.
Let's now look into the dashboard creation in Power BI Desktop
Let's consider that we are creating a Dashboard in Power BI from scratch. For instance, let's say we are creating a Sales dashboard for different countries. To create this, we need to import customer-related sales data, products, orders, sales, and region details into the Power BI system. Using this data, we can create distinct kinds of visualizations to represent the aspects of the imported data effectively.
A workspace appears as soon as you open a Power BI Desktop. You have tabs like Home, Modeling, View, and Help on the top bar with a range of options in them. There will be two sections on the right, Fields, and Visualizations. The Fields section consists of all the fields of the imported data tables, whereas in the Visualizations, you can select a visual and edit it.
Step #1: Importing data
While creating a Power BI dashboard, the first step is importing data from the source files. Choose the Get Data option and select a data source of your choice. After selecting the data source and choose Connect. You can prepare the data that is imported in the Power Query Editor.
Step #2: Formatting
From the Data tab, you can easily access all the imported items like tables, and view them in the tabular form. On the right side, you'll find the lists of tables and fields that exist within those tables. You can choose a table or a field for performing actions like format if your data consists of fields like time, date, city, state, currency, percentage value, etc. You can even change the data type or format from the modeling tab.
Step #3: Modeling
Power BI's Engine creates the associations and relationships between the tables that you load. You can still view and make changes with the help of the Model tab provided in the data model on the left horizontal bar.
The relationship between the two tables is indicated by the links joining two common fields.
Step #4: Creating a KPI for Total Sales
We have imported a few tables for our dashboard, customer details, product details, place details, order details, and sales details. The first visualization that we'll create is a KPI. Choose KPI from the visualizations section.
Select the fields that you want to include in the Fields section of the Visual. Even you can drag and drop the fields into their respective columns as indicated by the arrow in the following image. You can choose fields, format visuals, and apply filters from the Format icon.
Step #5: Creating a chart showing Sales
The next step is creating a Stacked bar chart that will show sales value by the product category. Add this chart from the Visualizations. Then, add fields to the chart and format the data labels, title, axes, legend, data colors, plot area, etc.
Step #6: Creating a chart showing Sales of various countries
Next comes creating column charts, i.e., line and clustered column charts. The following visual shows you the total sales and gross profit for various countries
(Select a Clustered Column Chart and a line from the Visualizations section.
Step #7: Creating a Chart Indicating Sales of various countries
The next step is to create an area chart which will show the total product sales over one year. We’ve created an area chart by choosing the Area chart from Visualizations and including respective fields into it.
Step #8: Creating a multi-row card
Along with visual data representation via charts and graphs, the data can be displayed in the text format using multi-row cards or cards. So, now let’s add multi-row cards from the visualizations section.
We have a multi-row card to the aspects such as product category related information, total units sold, total sales per category, and gross profit.
Step #9: Adding a Slicer for Sub-categories of products
Finally, include a Slicer for product subcategories that you have included in the record. Using Slicers, the user can select particular categories and filter through data. Upon selecting your required items in the slicer, the dashboard will only display the related visuals to the selected field or value.
Step #10: Publish the Dashboard
We are done by adding various types of graphics and visuals that we want to have on the dashboard. Since we are nearing the final step. Let’s adjust and resize the dashboard visualizations according to our requirements. You can also select themes for the dashboard, its background page size, etc.
Once the dashboard is set to be ready, you can publish it on your Power BI workspace and save it in the system. Choose to publish the dashboard on the web. Then, Login into your Power BI account and continue with publishing. After this, you will get a link to a web source where you have uploaded the dashboard.
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With this, the creation of the Power BI Dashboard has come to an end. Now let's have a look at the uses of Power BI Desktop. People performing these tasks are considered as data analysts or BI professionals (also known as report creators). However, most people who don't consider themselves as a report creator or an analyst use Power BI Desktop for creating compelling reports, or for pulling data from distinct sources and building data models that can be shared with their coworkers and organizations.
The common uses of Power BI Desktop are the following:
1. Connect Data
After completion of the Power BI desktop installation, you need to connect the data source and retrieve the data. To connect the data source, you need to open the Power BI app. Then you can notice the following home screen.
Select Get Data > More from the Home ribbon.
Select a data source from the given category and click on Connect.
When you select a data source, you're asked for information, such as the URL and other credentials, i.e. mandatory for Power BI to connect.
2. Transform and Clean Data:
Once your data is connected to the Power BI, you may customize the data as per your requirement. To change and clean your data, Power BI Desktop app is provided with Power BI Query Editor.
Basic Power BI Query Editor Functions:
Let's start the Power BI Query Editor
From the Home ribbon, select Edit Queries.
Now, you can see the Power BI Query Editor window.
Whatever changes( such as transforming data type, or deleting a column) you make, it will be recorded by the query editor. Data is shaped every time by connecting the query to your data source, where your changes have been carried out.
Once your data model is customized, you can create visuals.
3. Create Visuals
Visual is a pictorial representation of the data in your model.
To create visuals, you need to drag the fields into report canvas.You can also select various visuals from the visualization pane.
You can also apply the properties of visualization like title, colour, size, filter, font, formats, legends and background, etc
4. Create Reports
Power BI desktop is excelled at visual reports that show various aspects of the final modified data. A report is a composition of visuals that reflect informative insights for better decision making. It can have more than one page, just like an excel file can have multiple worksheets.
5. Sharing Reports
You can now publish your report to the Power BI Service after finishing the creation of reports. A Power BI license is necessary for those who want to access the report in your organization.
From the Home ribbon, select the Publish button.
Now Power BI service is connected with Power BI account with the help of Power BI desktop. Power BI allows you to share the visuals data at any position of Power BI services such as a team workspace, your workspace or some other location.
Now in this Power BI Desktop Tutorial blog, you’ve learned everything about the Power BI Desktop, go ahead and create a comprehensive and compelling Dashboard and visualization reports using this technology.
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Prasanthi is an expert writer in MongoDB, and has written for various reputable online and print publications. At present, she is working for Mindmajix, and writes content not only on MongoDB, but also on Sharepoint, Uipath, and AWS.