Connect, Explore, Visualise: 5 top tips to get started with Microsoft Power BI

Connect, explore, visualise: 5 top tips to get started with Microsoft Power BI.

As one of the largest business intelligence clouds in the world, Microsoft Power BI enables users to quickly go from data to insight to action. It has the ability to combine hundreds of data sources including Excel, .csv, even Facebook, thanks to its many in-built connectors. Within minutes it can transform data into stunning visuals. And because Power BI is incredibly intuitive, users can prep data with ease, saving time on otherwise manually intensive tasks. In addition, interaction between charts is powerful and reports are easy to share. Users simply create a workspace and add others – instantly enabling them to collaborate securely*.

While many organisations are currently using Power BI, not all are realising its full potential. Let’s take a look at our top five tips to get you ahead of the curve with Power BI.

1. Stay updated – download from the Microsoft Store

Power BI is constantly updated with new features that improve its capabilities. Be sure to download from the Microsoft Store rather than the website, to ensure you get automatic updates and save you the trouble of remembering to check you are using the latest version.

2. Run super quick reports

Only import the data you need. Power BI gives you the ability to create data dashboards and visualisations in minutes, but to benefit from this it helps to only bring in data that’s essential for your reports. You want to get the best user experience possible, which means not having to wait for charts to load. The quicker your access to insights, the faster, more informed your decision-making will be.

3. Prep data for visualisation

In order to fully leverage high-quality data visuals that deliver compelling reports, it is important to clean all your text data first. This includes column headers, titles, and chart axes. Remove underscores and anything else that makes your data look untidy, preparing it for the next stage of visualisation.

4. Create reports that look and feel professional

Use standard templates and create default themes to automatically format charts.  This function is easy to set up, quick to apply and can be used to create visually slick themes consistent with your brand that the whole organisation can use. Colours and fonts can be customised, giving reports a professional look and feel that the entire business will be delighted with.

5. Cultivate creativity

Create a sandpit workspace and give your colleagues a place to share and upload ideas. Instead of using their personal workspace, team members and other departments are encouraged to collaborate, get creative, and inspire other users to do the same. While you never miss out on a report that could benefit the whole organisation.

Ready to find out how to unlock the full capabilities of Power BI? Simpson Associates Power BI Starter Engagement, is a package designed to get your business set up, train your users, and deploy your pilot project in a month:  Find out more at

Blog Author

Matt Neilson, Senior Consultant, Simpson Associates

*Please note – sharing functionality requires a Pro Licence which costs £7.50 per user per month and is more cost effective than similar competitive solutions.


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