5 hints & tips to get the most out of Power BI

It’s no secret that Power BI is one of the most useful data analytics tools out there – the possibilities are endless, especially when you discover some of the lesser-known tips and tricks. Here are five of our favourite hints and tips to get the most out of Power BI, even if you’re well-acquainted with the app.

1. Quickly change the appearance of your report

You can format the appearance of your Power BI report using the theme builder in Power BI Desktop, without individually changing each visual. 

First, navigate to the top ribbon and select the view. Then, expand the report themes to find “Customise Current Theme”.

Here, you can set your colour scheme, and the latest Power BI feature allows you to also set default fonts, sizes and weights for text. You can also format your default background colour, borders for visuals and page header fonts. 

When you click “Apply” these changes will appear throughout the report. 

2. Add notifications for tiles

You can set up alters for specific tiles to send you a notification on various conditions. To set up a notification for a tile, select the ellipses menu (three dots) at the top right of the tile, then select manage alerts.  You can set the title, and the notification frequency. The threshold is the value at which the notification is triggered. 

In the example below, an alert will be triggered when the value in the crime tile is above 2.5M.

3. Export data to CSV

Exporting to CSV can be useful for many reasons, such as analysing data in other software. To do this, navigate to the report in the Power BI Service, then hover over the desired visual that you wish to export data from. From here, you can access actions to see your data in different ways.

If you select export data, you can generate a CSV of the underlying data, or summarized data. Remember that your permissions in the Workspace will determine the detail of the data you can export. When you click “Export” a CSV will be generated of your subset of data.

4. Create complex dashboard tiles

More complex dashboard tiles can add a more professional look to your report. To do this, create a new page in a report and change its size so it is the same as a dashboard tile. Then, add whatever visualisations you like to it, such as a card and line chart to show trends or multiple different comparators for your KPIs.

After, select “Pin to a dashboard” at the top under the ellipses menu to pin the whole page to a dashboard.

5. Add sparklines to Power BI tables

Adding a sparkline to an existing table can add another layer to your data, making it more detailed and digestible. To begin, add a new column to an existing table using a blank measure (Measure = BLANK()), and then add a line chart in line with each row of the table with its axes and data labels turned off.

Then put a transparent shape over the top of the table so the sort order can’t be changed, and you have a sparkline trend for each row of the table.


So there you have it – our five top tips to elevate your Power BI report to the next level. To learn more about Power BI and increase your knowledge, check out our training courses, which can be made bespoke to you, and delivered both virtually and in person.


Blog Authors

Amina Haruna, Senior Consultant, Simpson Associates

Matt Neilson, Lead Consultant, Simpson Associates

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