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The World of

Power BI

Before we get started, let me tell you that I am going to resolve all your data analytics and visualisation problems.


Yes, I have the answer to robust, powerful and exquisite dashboards and reports.


It's a tool from our very own Microsoft. And its name is Power BI.


When it comes to reporting and analysis, Power BI is hard to beat. No matter if you’re a beginner or an experienced Power BI user, there is always something new to discover. For example, we recently dubbed an audience member as the “newest Power BI user in the world”! This people-watching was taking place during an interview at HubSpot where they were answering some quick questions about their experience with Power BI.


What is Power BI?

Power BI is a business intelligence and statistical software product from Microsoft that can be used to analyse data in multiple different ways.  You can not only transform data and create data-relationships, but you can also use it to create reports and dashboards that make it easy to see and track. You can build dashboards and reports of several activities. You can see how your company is doing, what customers want, and how their needs match up with your business goals, and many more. The Power BI software has been designed with business analysts in mind, so as you look at data in your company you will feel more comfortable using it instead of MS Excel or PowerPoint.



Why Power BI?

One of the first things you learn when you set up a business is how to file taxes. While it's a very important step—along with figuring out how much to spend on services and products—you may not realize how much of a commitment it is. If you take a week off work to go file your taxes, it means an hour of your time per week on paperwork and paying bills. That's not paltry when compared to the hours you could be putting into your business, training new employees or running your business.

Power BI can transform your company’s data analysis and reporting capabilities. We offer unique end-to-end solutions for handling and transforming your data, and we’re always listening — to your feedback, to market demand, and even to the blue skies outside. We are committed to building best-in class products that solve real problems and help our clients succeed with data in a way that is powerful, simple and secure.

At its core, PowerBI is all about helping you make sense of big data sets. Today's businesses are awash in data — from sales data to customer survey responses, financial loans data to employee health records – and it’s overwhelming to understand. In addition to providing the data processing power needed to process this data, we also offer exceptional reporting tools that make it easy to visualize your data in unique ways.


Install Power BI service

To get started on Power BI, download and install Power BI desktop. This is a free software. Power BI Desktop is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

There is also an online service which you can avail at This will launch the app in an embedded browser and allow you to create a data connection. The first time you open the Power BI service (which is the integrated service that includes analytics and reports for your business application), the browser will prompt you for a location. You can choose to go to the Power BI home page or to the localhost. You can also access the service directly from the Chrome browser by entering localhost into the address bar and following the prompts.

The first time you use the Power BI service, you are asked if you want to create a new project. If you are new to Power BI, the answer is usually yes. Before you can create a new project, you will need to create an account if you don't have one already. This is where the registration begins. When you are registered and logged into the service, you can then begin creating projects.

Get the data sources

Once you have installed Power BI, your first step will be to get the raw data on to the platform. To do so, first you need to specify the data sources. Get data in Power BI is similar to how you would get data in Excel. First, you need to select a data source by clicking on Get Data option. Next, you can choose the data type, and range of values you want to include in your analysis by clicking on More option.

In this new navigation window, you will see all sources of data on the left side such as files, pages, database, azure, online services, etc. Data that you want to visualize using Power BI can be imported from a wide variety of sources including flat files, CSV files, excel sheets, websites and different types of databases e.g. MS SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL etc.


Building Blocks of Power BI

Following are the key components that constitute the Power BI:



Visualizations are powerful because they allow us to understand data in new ways. A treemap is a useful example of visualization.



Datasets provide the backbone for many analyses, including visualizations powered by Microsoft Flow and Advanced Stores.



Reports are powerful because they let you explore data in many different ways, combine it with other information, and put it in a clear and understandable format that makes it easy for people to understand.



Dashboards help you track a wide range of critical information about your business, from expense management to revenue.



Tiles are a type of visual representation of key information from a report or dashboard. They can be a bar graph representing loan balances, a heat map representing customer retention, or a navigation tool used to present the most important data in a concise way.


Implementing a Power BI solution can be done bit by bit, and just like any software (Power Pivot, Excel, etc.), it’s important to take the time to learn and plan, else you risk leaving out important features that would make working with Power BI worthwhile.


Data Modeling With Power BI

Data Modeling is one of the features used to connect multiple data sources in BI tool using a relationship. Data modeling is a powerful method for connecting textual data (i.e. attributes and relationships) to quantitative data (i.e. dimensions and frequencies). Instead of doing raw data processing to construct a representation of your data, you can instead use statistical inference techniques to enrich your representation by determining meaningful relationships between anchor points and the data points they describe.

You can drag a relationship line between two columns in a summary view or the data dictionary to indicate a strong or weak relationship. The strength of the relationship affects how actions point to each other in the machine and also affects how displayed items are arranged on a tabular graph. Related objects appear in the relationship column of the summary view or quoted in the results pane if there is a matching row in the data dictionary.



Joining Data Sources

Creating a data model in Power BI is very easy. First, you need to select a data source by clicking on it in the list. Next, you need to choose a type of indexing, which will be used to retrieve data from the source and store it in your local schema. Finally, you can choose routes to return data and perform certain actions while retrieving. For example, you could choose to retrieve only the first row in the table or perform a query in the select view where you can filter by criteria.

Once you have your data in place, it is presented on the right side bar. A user can drill down and explore data by clicking on various components.

In Power BI on the left side of the screen, you have the following three tabs −

  • Report
  • Data
  • Relationships

The first one is about Reports. These reports allow you to see what sort of information is available for certain variables in your data set. In this case, we're interested in displaying the number of users who have visited each product page. 

The second one is about Data. For some of our customers, this means analyzing the conversion rates for certain page elements. 

The third one is Relationships. You'll need to create reports for the different types of relationships you have in your data set, and then apply these insights to your marketing or product strategy. 


Managing Relationships

Once you have finished creating your model, it will appear in the results pane as an image with the properties of each cell displayed. You can also add and remove relationships in data visualization. To remove a relationship, you have to right-click and select the “Delete” option. To create a new “Relationship”, you just need to drag and drop the fields that you want to link between the data sources.

You can even hide a particular column by using the ‘Relationship view’. Right clicking on the column name allows you to select the “Hide in report view” option.


DAX Function In Power BI

DAX (Data Analysis Expression) function is a revolutionary new feature which provides users with an easy way to explore and express all kinds of data using rich visualization techniques. Like other big data technologies, DAX is being used by many companies to help improve their digital product experience. It’s mainly intended for analysts who work with large amounts of data, often in the form of vast databases. It allows users to define complex functions combining mathematical expressions easily without having to be familiar with advanced mathematics.

It contains two data types: Numeric and Other. The first data element is the numeric representation of the current account balance. Negative numbers represent partial payments; positive numbers represent payments in full. The Other data type, although related to the previous one, is used when calculating the repeatability of calculations involving multiple inputs.


There are 3 features in Power BI where you can use DAX:

  • Calculated Columns
  • Measures
  • Tables


Let’s understand them in detail.


Calculated Columns

The calculated column feature allows you to create new columns based on the given data. 

For example, you can calculate the total number of sales for each product category, month by month. This will allow you to create a new column called "total sales", which will be automatically updated whenever new sales information is received.



Measures are a useful addition to reports. They allow easy analysis of data without having to calculate it. For example, if I know the price of a product (in dollars), I can display the measure of that price in the report. By default, all measures are displayed as percent prices. But you can also select different units, including cents, shillings, pence, and so on.



The tables function in DAX as an interface between your data and its display. It provides users with a way to retrieve a table's data and modify it in multiple ways. In other words, you can insert new rows or update existing ones using data in the table as input, and the table will update itself automatically as new data arrives. It's a key feature when working with large amounts of data.


Power BI DAX Functions

Some important DAX functions are:

  • Average: The average (mean) value of a set of numerical values is simply the average of the values in that set. It is sometimes called the "mean value" of a set, and often follows first-order logic about how the numbers should be interpreted.
  • Max: Max is a tool that allows you to evaluate the maximum value in a given set of values.
  • Min: Min helps you to find the minimum value.
  • Count: Count function helps you to count any numerical data.
  • Concatenate: The "Concatenate" function allows you to join values in calculated columns. This can be useful if you want to include multiple columns in one query.
  • TotalYTD: The TotalYTD function yields the total number of days from today through the specified date. The calculation of the total occurs as follows: If today is January 1, then the days up to and including yesterday are counted. If today is a Sunday or a legal holiday in it's country, then there are no days to be counted.
  • All: The ‘all’ function returns everything and ignores filters.

Go Here to know more about DAX functions in Power BI


Using the Power Bl software you'll be able to generate a number of dashboards and reports. You'll be able to generate custom reports for specific time periods and geographies. 

There are 5 main components in Power BI:

  • Power Query: Power Query is a Microsoft-built query tool. It is used by users to perform queries on public and internally-stored information including sales data, product listings, customer lists, contact lists, system and network performance metrics, operating system versions, and databases.
  • Power Pivot: Power Pivot is an open-source, distributed, high-performance analytics framework for processing very large data sets in a distributed fashion.
  • Power View: The Power View component of the Dashboard allows you to visualize, analyze, and display data in a very easy way.
  • Power BI Service: Power BI Service is designed to make it easy for you to create, share and manage data sets across your business. It enables the sharing of visualizations, charts, bar charts, heat maps, and data parallel downloads that can be used to quickly get an understanding of your data and how it compares against the rest of your data sources. 
  • Power BI Q&A: Power BI has the ability to answer any question quickly and effectively. It also has the ability to understand the context of your questions allowing you to provide the best possible answer.


Power BI will help you quickly find meaningful insights within your data that help make better business decisions or easily build rich, visual analytic reports. If you are not sure where to start, Start Here.

AuthorPriyanka Dutta
Priyanka graduated with B.Tech in Electronics & Communication Engineering. She like organising data so much that building dashboards and models feel rewarding to her. She also likes to write about her work.

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