What Is Power BI And How To Get Started With It In Simple Steps
In the business world, where service providers are countless, data is one crucial resource that can make all the difference. More than possessing the relevant data, using it effectively is also critical. And what can be a better way to analyze and visualize raw data than Power BI?
The Power BI tool is your best ally if you want to make the best use of data. Getting started with the platform and leveraging its features is relatively simple. This guide will detail all the steps you need to follow. So, let’s get started.
What is Power BI Desktop?
Power BI Desktop is a business intelligence tool to create visually rich dashboards and reports. You can visualize the raw data and share relevant insights for impactful decision-making. Power BI Desktop allows you to connect more than 100 data sources like files, databases, online services, and much more.. It comes in a free and pro version you can use based on your business needs.
What are the applications of Power BI Desktop?
- Connect disparate data from various sources
- Transform and clean raw data for further processing
- Create data models based on business needs
- Create stunning visuals for reports and dashboards
- Create feature-rich reports for meetings and presentations
- Share reports with colleagues using the Power BI Service
What are the different views available in Power BI Desktop?
1. Report View
You can create appealing visuals and reports.
2. Data View
You can see the tables, measures, and other data points used in the model.
3. Model View
You can manage and view the data relationship among the different tables in the model.
The following image shows the three views in Power BI Desktop:
What are the different panes in Power BI Desktop?
This field displays the tables, folders, fields, and columns in the raw data.
It consists of different visuals that enable impactful report creation. The visuals available are as follows:
The filter pane sorts the data based on selected conditions. Four types of filters available in Power BI Desktop are:
- Visual-level filter
- Page-level filter
- Report-level filter
- Drillthrough filter
The following image shows the three panes in Power BI Desktop:
How to get started with Power BI Desktop?
Here are a few simple steps for getting started with Power BI Desktop:
Step 1: Install and Run the Power BI Desktop
To install the Power BI desktop on your device, click here. You can start Power BI Desktop from the Windows Start menu, the icon in the Windows taskbar, or searching it in the search bar.
Step 2: Get data/connect to data in Power BI Desktop
You can connect 100+ data sources in Power BI Desktop. To connect with data or get the data in Power BI Desktop, you need to click on home tab -> get data -> select data source ->connect -> select file -> select table -> load. If you want to shape data, you need to click on transform. If not, you need to click on load.
Step 3: Shape data
Power BI Desktop provides the Query Editor to shape the data. Shape data involves renaming columns or tables, removing rows or columns, changing the data types, or removing missing values.
To open the query editor to shape the data, click on the home tab -> transform data -> select the transform data option. You will get directed to the Query Editor window.
You can open the Query Editor window in another way as well. After loading data in Power BI desktop, go to the field pane -> right click on table name -> select edit query. You will get directed to the Query Editor window.
Another way to open Power Query editor is as follows. You need to click on home tab -> get data -> select data source ->connect -> select file -> select table -> transform. You will get directed to the Query Editor window.
The following is a representation of the Power Query editor:
In Power Query, you can clean the data by trimming it, removing extra columns, removing null values, adding new columns, merging new tables, pivoting and unpivoting tables, and splitting rows. You can also perform text analytics, statistics, and scientific operations.
Step 4: Create a report
In the Power BI Desktop Report view, you can create visuals and reports. Here are the six main areas in the Report view:
- Ribbon bar at the top
- Canvas area at the middle
- Page tab area at the bottom
- Filter pane
- Visualization pane
- Field pane
The following image shows the six main areas:
To create a simple visualization, you can select any field in the fields list, or drag the field from the Fields list onto the canvas. For example, you can drag the Category and Profit field from Order onto the canvas.
Power BI Desktop recognized that the Profit and Category field contained data and automatically created Table visualization. The visualization shows data points for the three profit categories from the data model.
The Visualizations pane shows information about the visualization and allows you to modify it.
You can change the type of selected visualization through a different icon or create a new visualization by selecting an icon with no existing visualization selected.
The Field option on the Visualization pane allows you to drag data fields to Legend and other field wells in the pane. With the Format option, you can apply formatting and other controls to visualizations.
You can also filter the data using the filter pane in the report view. You need to drag a particular field in the visual-level filter or page-level according to the need.
To sort values or text, click on the More option and select sort ascending or sort descending. With the help of focus mode, you can see the single visual in focus mode.
To add more pages to the report, you can click on the plus sign at the bottom left and rename, duplicate, or delete it. Right-click on that particular page name.