10 Cool Features in Power BI Most People Don’t Use

Power BI is being used by many people around the world and different people have different usage patterns. I have been using Power BI for a couple of years and I have seen how other people use Power BI within their organisations. With the help of that experience, I’m going to compile my top 10 cool features in Power BI which aren’t used by most of the people.

1) Preview Features

Power BI is one of the most versatile products in the Analytics world. Power BI team provide monthly updates to the product with each update having lots of cool features. However, most of these features comes as a preview feature initially and then it becomes generally available after couple of months. You can try all these new cool features if you go to the “Preview features” option.

How to go there?

Click “Files-> Options and Settings->Options-> Preview features”

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2) Format painter

This is a very cool and useful feature I use every day.  Idea of “Format painter” is to copy all the UI changes you have done to a visual and apply same changes to another visual. This means you don’t need to change font settings, background colour, data label customisation, and all other UI related changes repeatedly to all the visual. Create one visual with all UI customisations and click “Format painter” button while having that visual selected. Then click on the other visual on which you want to apply same UI changes.

How to go there?

Click on “Home”-> “Format painter”. First you need to click on the visual which you want to copy all UI styles. If not the button will be in disable mode.

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3) Phone layout

Well, some people use this and some don’t. Within a mobile,  Power BI reports can be viewed inside it’s native mobile app. Power BI gives you flexibility to design  a separate view for a report page when it viewed in landscape mode. As you know landscape mode does not have much visual space and hence you might need to ignore all the filers and big visuals  such as tables and matrixes. Keep it simple and focus on visuals such as cards and small bar column, bar charts when designing phone layout.

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How to go there?

Click on “View”->”phone layout”

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4) Gridlines , Snap to grid and Lock objects

When arranging visuals inside a page, alignments play a vital role and that’s where “Gridline“  options come to play. I use this feature always as it helps me to show how nicely aligned my visuals are within the page. Apart from that, you can select “Snap to grid” option so that it automatically align to the nearest grid line. Additionally, you can select “Lock objects” so that you won’t accidently move visuals that are already place nicely.

How to go there?

Click on “View”-> tick “Gridlines”

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5) Table Layouts

When creating models, I have seen people keep all the tables inside default table layout view. This is acceptable only if you have couple of tables. However, when your model have 10 or mode tables, it become really difficult to view  and understand all the relationship. Create different table layouts for different star schemas. That way it is easy to modify the model and easy to understand as well.

Check this cool gif I got from Power BI blog which explains why table layout view is so cool.

Modeling View

How to go there?

Click ”Model View”->  “Plus” icon to add more views.

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6) Group Visuals

This again useful as you want to arrange visuals within your page. Let’s assume that you have nicely arranged set of filters and visuals within the page and suddenly get a change request to add another visual to the page. Moving all the visuals around is really a hassle. For that, you can group selected set of visuals and then move the copy/move the group around. That way you don’t have to change spaces between visuals and alignments of visuals over and over again.

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How to go there?

Select the set of visuals you want to group and right click. Then Click “Group” and again “Group” in sub menu.

7) Buttons

Did you know that you can add various buttons inside a report page?  Add buttons to give a nice user experience to your business users. For an example, rather than they have to click on each page name within web browser, you can add Arrow buttons to let them move between report pages. That is not the only usage of buttons. But that can be your starting point.

How to do that?

Click “Insert”-> “Buttons”-> Select what kind of button you want to add

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8) Custom Visuals

Well, again, this is used by some people. but most of the people still don’t use custom visuals. Trust me, there are lots of cool custom visuals developed by various individuals as well as companies. Some of these custom visuals are free to use and some need licensing. Go to custom visual market place and have a look on what kind of visuals available. Sometimes you will find fascinating visuals like this. How about having fish swimming in your dashboard?

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How to go to there ?

Go to visual section. Click on 3 dots as highlighted in below image.  Then click on “Import from App Store”. That will take you to custom visual marketplace and then you can select which visual you want to add.

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Once that is added, it will be available just under all the other standard Power BI visuals. Check highlighted area below.

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9) Power BI Templates

Do you want to share your Power BI report with someone else, but don’t want to share it with data? well, save it as a template and share it with your collages. Sharing reports with data can be a bad idea due to multiple reasons. First, the size of the file. If the report is created using Import modes which means it can be from couple from megabyte to hundreds of megabytes.  And you know what, you can’t email a file with 100s of MB in size. what about data security?  What you can do is rather that sending the report, save it as a template and share across. Then your collages can enter their data source connection information and populate the report. Your report, Their data.

How to go there?

Click “File”> “Export”-> “Power BI template”

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10) Power BI Ideas and Voting

Last but one of the most import and coolest thing about Power BI. “Ideas”. Do you know that Power BI team enhance Power BI based on your needs and feedbacks?  Well they are. Lots of new features added to Power BI came as ideas from people like you and me. If you see that something is missing in Power BI, which is valuable for you as well as other. go to “https://ideas.powerbi.com/forums/265200-power-bi-ideas” and check whether the same idea is already there. If it’s there, you can vote for that idea. Higher the votes, higher the possibility it gets added to Power BI. If the idea is not there , add it as an idea and people will vote for it. It’s win win for all of Microsoft as well as us. 

How to go there?

https://ideas.powerbi.com/forums/265200-power-bi-ideas

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Thank you very much for reading this blog and cheers!!


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