15 Key Features of Power BI

Big Data analyzed efficiently generates beneficial ideas and helps businesses run without freezing. However, analyzing massive amounts of data can be excruciating, especially when one is unfamiliar with the features of analytics tools. So, this article will act as an ice breaker for you to know the key features of an analytical tool i.e., Power BI. Getting familiar with those key features means getting your hands on Power BI and making data analysis easier for you. Some of the key features of Power BI are reporting & visualization tools, DAX, Focus mode, drill through mode and customizable dashboards. But to know more about others as well, let’s discuss what are the features on offer?

Key Features of Power BI

Power BI is a suite for business analytics by Microsoft, including cloud-based apps and services. In simple words, it is a business intelligence, reporting, and data visualization solution for individuals and groups to visualize data and share business insights or embed them in an app or website.

Key Features of Power BI

Power BI is an efficient tool with features rich in data visualization and analytics. Key features of Microsoft Power BI are:

  1. Reporting and Data Visualization Tools
  2. Get Data Feature
  3. Datasets Filtration
  4. Customizable Dashboards
  5. Flexible Tiles
  6. Navigation Pane
  7. Informative Reports
  8. Natural Language Q & A box
  9. DAX Data analysis functions
  10. Help and Feedback buttons
  11. Office 365 App Launcher
  12. Content Packs
  13. App and Workspace in Power BI
  14. Focus mode
  15. Drill Through

Let’s go through these 15 unique and key features on the Power BI

Reporting & Data Visualization Tools

Range of visuals, graphs and charts available in reporting and visualization feature of Power BI
Power BI Visualization tools

Power BI provides a complete and attractive range of custom Visualization tools that play a major role in the visual representation of data. You can go from simple to complex visuals for creating your reports and dashboards. Following are some of the visuals you can create for your data:

Stacked bar/column chart, Clustered bar/column chart, Line chart, Area chart, stacked area chart, ribbon chart, Waterfall chart, Scatter chart, Pie chart, Donut chart, Tree map chart, Map, filled map, Funnel Chart, Gauge Chart, and some others.

Get Data feature of Power BI

This feature allows users to select from a wide range of Data Sources, both structured and unstructured, which are anywhere i.e., on-premises to cloud-based. These data sources include:

Excel, Power BI datasets, Power BI dataflows, SQL Server, MySQL database, Azure Analysis Services database, Text/CSV, Oracle, PDF, Access, XML, JSON, and others too.

Wide range of data sources in Get data feature
Get Data sources feature of Power BI

Datasets Filtration feature

A dataset is a single set of data created either from a single source like an Excel workbook or from multiple data sources like Excel workbook, SQL, MySQL, Azure, Text, etc. Such datasets are filtered to create multiple small subsets having important data and related significance.

For such useful filtration, this BI tool provides its users with in-built data connectors such as Excel, SQL database, Oracle, Azure, Facebook, Salesforce, etc. which enables them to import data from multiple sources, creating datasets and subsets for representing different but meaningful visuals and insights.

Customizable Dashboards

A collection of informative and meaningful visualizations of data is called a dashboard. In simple words, we can say that dashboard comprises multiple visualizations as tiles. This dashboard is adjustable and shareable according to user needs, and as well as printable.

Power BI Dashboard

Flexible Tiles

A single block of visualization on a Dashboard represents a tile. The dashboard contains several tiles, and each tile sets apart a visualization from others to give a clear view. These tiles are adjustable, sizeable, and allow the user to place the visualization anywhere on the dashboard as per his requirement

Navigation pane

The navigation pane provides the users the freedom to navigate between dashboards, datasets, and reports they are working on. This pane has a dashboard, datasets, and report options that enable navigation easy for the user.

Informative Reports

Dashboards containing different visualizations related to a particular business topic make up a report. Under a report, a user can find structured, organized, and completely presented data showcasing in many ways to reveal significant insights. This is quite a need for BI analytics. And Power BI provides its users with the benefit of sharing such reports with other users making communication and presentation even better.

Natural Language Q & A box

Natural Language Q & A is a question-and-answer box that users can use to ask questions in natural language and in answer get data and information in the Power BI system. Cognitive technology plays a big role in this Q & A feature and uses rephrasing, autofill, suggestions, and some other techniques to meet the queries of the users.

Q & A box in Power BI
Q & A box in Power BI

DAX Data Analysis Functions

DAX is a Data Analysis Expressions. These are predefined codes to perform analytics-specific functionalities on data. Power BI has also a library that contains up to 200 functions. However, this list of functions keeps adding up.

Help and Feedback Buttons

These buttons are used for various setting options like downloading, asking for support and assistance and giving feedback to the support team. Here below, you can find how these buttons look alike and what help you can avail.

Various options in Help and Feedback feature of Power BI
Help and Feedback buttons in Power BI

Office 365 App Launcher

This option enables the users to auto-launch Microsoft 365 apps.

Content Packs

Content Packs allow users to look for options like dashboards, data models, datasets, and embedded queries collectively instead of looking for these features individually.

App and Workspace features of Power BI

Both app and workspace features are important ones. However, many “newbies” often surf to know the difference between these two. So, here it is. The workspace feature allows collaboration on content, and the app feature allows sharing content. Workspace feature allows to store and organize content of Power BI and to bring different dashboards, reports, and datasets in one space with collaborated access, rights, and roles. On the other hand, the app is just a read-only version of the content from the workspace ie., created from one workspace. Also, it is distributed to large audiences without any fear of access to any file or editing in content.

Focus mode

Focus mode is a handy feature, when your dashboard is a little packed, and you want a clearer view of a visual or a tile. It enhances visibility by popping your visual or tile out on your screen.

For example, a tile showing the count of canceled by the geography of three different regions. But having so many tiles on a dashboard would make it barely readable. So, clicking the focus mode option, the tile will pop out big on-screen with vivid view and readability.

How to turn on focus mode feature of Power BI
Focus mode feature of Power BI

Drill through features of Power BI

If you have data visuals with hierarchy and you want to see each level of the hierarchy, Power BI facilitates you to visualize at each level through drill-down features. Drill mode is activated by clicking a single arrow down. This will let you visualize each level as soon as you click on the respective level. Similarly, if you want to jump up levels, Power BI allows you to do so by clicking on the single arrow up button.

For example, you have a visual of the “completion status” of a project. This visual has a hierarchy to visualize the completion status of a project for each quarter of the year 2021 as well.  And you want to know and visualize each level of hierarchy. To do so, click on the drill down icon (grey background depicts its’ active) to turn it on.

Bar chart Visual of "Completion status" of a project
Visual of “Completion status” of a project

By selecting the visual, a bar, in this case, will drill down to the next level showing the completion status of a project on a quarterly basis.

Depending on levels of hierarchy in a visual, you can drill down by following the same steps.

How to turn on drill down feature of power BI
Drill Down feature of Power BI

Now you want to jump back to visualize the “completion status” of the project by year instead of by quarter. This step is accomplished by the drill-up button.

To jump back to the prior level, just click the drill up button, and voilà! You are done.

How to turn on drill up feature of Power BI
Drill Up feature of Power BI

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