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Enhancing Report Visuals Demo



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This course covers the features in Power BI that allow you to enhance the functionality of your reports to improve the user experience.

Learning Objectives

  • Create bookmarks and tooltips on your Power BI Reports
  • Edit and configure interactions on visuals, apply sorting, use sync, and drill through and cross filter data on your visuals
  • Learn about report navigation, including how to use the selection pane, export data, and design your reports for mobile devices

Intended Audience

This course is intended for data analysts or anyone who wants to create more meaningful reports using Power BI.


To get the most out of this course, you should already have an understanding of how data interacts with Power BI reports and as well as how to create reports and edit visuals.



Okay, so the next thing we're going to cover is editing and configuring interactions between visuals. One of the defining features of Power BI is the interaction between visuals with each other. For example, you can select an item on a bar chart and it will cross highlight a column chart, just like this. So, you can see as we click on it, it changes what we see on this column chart. So, we've just got our basic Revenue by Country and Revenue by ProductID. So, when we're selecting Mexico, it's showing us the product IDs for Mexico. So, one of the things we can do is actually edit this interaction between the visuals. So, out of the box it highlights the portions, so when we click on it, it highlights the different portions on the other visual. We can actually edit this by selecting the visual, going to 'Format', and then clicking the 'Edit interactions button.' So, what happens when we click the Edit interactions button?

Is it shows us the interaction editing filters on the other things. So, you can see here I've got my Revenue by Country. I can now edit the interaction for the Revenue by ProductID.

So, you can see now if we change it to filter, what will happen when we click? It actually filters down rather than the default of highlight. So, another thing we can do is turn off the interaction completely. So, when we click this one, that disables the interaction completely. Now if you want to remove these buttons, we unselect that and now the buttons disappear, so now there's no more options for editing those interactions, but it's easy to get back on, we just click on it, turn it back on, turn it off. Now, not every visual type has all three interactions options. Some only have two. For example, it's not possible to highlight part of a slider or a card. In these cases, the default behavior will be filter instead of highlight.

So, the next thing we're going to cover, is navigation on a report. Now you know you can navigate a report by using these navigation tabs down at the bottom. But we can actually add custom navigation buttons, shapes, and images to specific report pages, or we can also add bookmarks, so a button can actually enable a bookmark. Now these can be useful when building reports to make it easier for the end user to actually use the report when they're using it. So, to add some custom navigation, what we want to do is go insert up the top and then let's insert a button. So, let's insert a bookmark button, we'll make this big and here. So, at the moment we just added a button, it doesn't actually do anything but what we can do is, if we click on the button and then we go action, so we've got our type is bookmark and let's do it back to the start.

So now, when we click on this bookmark, it takes us back to our previously set bookmark which was start. So, that's quite simple, that's a bookmark one. We can also add in, let's just add in an i one and we'll make this go, turn it on and we might actually make it go to a different page. So, then I've clicked it, it's taken me to a different page. Because we're in the report designing, you have to control click to follow the link. But if you're on the web dashboard, the links just work by clicking. It's only because we're in Power BI desktop and we have the power to edit that we need to control click to use these links.

So, the next topic we're going to cover is Applying Sorting. So, when you create a visual in Power BI, Power BI will try and sort the visual in the best way that it thinks you want to see it. So, you can see here out of the box, Power BI with our bar charts here, have sorted it highest to lowest. Now that may not be the way you want to sort it, maybe you want to sort it alphabetically or from smallest to highest rather than highest to smallest. So, to change the sort settings, we can click here and go 'Sort axis', so we can change it to ascending, we can also change it, so instead of by value, it's by the axis name. So here we go, we've sorted it alphabetically. So, it is quite simple. You just go more options, 'Sort axis', and then change the sort settings. So, that's how to do it on a chart, but let's say we were to use a table and we would use more axises. For example, on this table, we can quickly change it by just clicking the top of it.

So, the sorting on a table works slightly differently, but pretty straightforward. You just click and it goes ascending or descending. And that's basically all there is to sorting. It's quite easy, works well, you just need to think of the way that you want to see the data and you want to have it sorted. So, the next thing we're going to cover is Configuring Sync Slices. So what we're going to do is move this away. Now you should already be familiar with slices. But something that we can do additional to slices is actually have them sync across different pages in the report. So, as whereas you could have it just the normal slicer slices the page on the report, this will allow us to synchronize between multiple pages. So, the process is basically the same. The first thing we're going to do is add in a slicer and we're just going to use one of these date slices, quite straightforward and you can see it works if I change it, it applies here, but if I go to the other page, everything's still the same.

So, an easy way to get it across is just to copy it. So, if we right click and go 'Copy visual,' you can also use the Ctrl + C button, and then on the new page we hit Ctrl + V and it will paste. So, when you paste a slicer, it pops up with this message, 'Sync visuals.' One or more copied visuals can stay in sync with the visual it was copied from. Do you want to keep them in sync? And if you wanted to use the sync slicer you would say sync, if you didn't want to use the sync slicer, you would say don't sync. So, because we do want to use the sync slicer, we're going to say sync. So, I'll click 'Sync.' So, now you can see if I move this slicer, it's now changed over here, if I change it there, it's now changed over here. So, that's pretty cool. So, if you wanted to have a slicer of that syncs across multiple pages, that's how to do it. So, that's an easy way to do it, there's also the other way how to do it. So, if we go 'View' and select the 'Sync slices option', this will now give us more information about sync slices. So, when I select the slicer, it now allows us to sync the slicer. So, we basically have two options here: one is that it syncs across the pages and the other is that it's visible across the pages. So, if I was to click all of these, my slicer will now be visible and syncing across every page. And see, there it is.

So, what we can do as well is, we can have a hidden sync slicer. So, the slicer is still applying but you actually can't see it. So, to do that you would have this part here, the sync part ticked and the visual part unticked. So if I untick here, all of these, you can now see that my slicer is not on any of the pages, but hidden in the background, the slicer will still be applying. So, let's see here our revenue per country, let's say it's got a max of 74 million, let's expand out this slicer, we now have a max of .15 billion. So, you can see that that is applying to the report page but you can't see it. So, it's a nice way of having a hidden slicer. If that's something that you do want to do, it's available in Power BI.

So, the next thing we're going to cover is Drilling through and Cross filtering. So, it's common for business users to want to be able to see the details that make these aggregated values. So for example, let's say we wanted to see 475 and see how many units were sold and what countries they are in. And on this page it only shows us Revenue by ProductID. What we can do is create a drill through visualization, drill through pages, that allow us to drill through on this data. So, let's say, let's just create a quick page. So, now we've created this quick page, we've basically just got Revenue by Country, the units sold by country and the total revenue number. So, what we can do is actually set this page as a drill through page and we would like to be able to drill through by ProductID. So, what we can do is grab the ProductID field and put it into this drill through option here. So now, from here where we are looking at our product ID, we will have the ability to right click, say drill through and go to page four, and there we go. So now we can just see what we've got here for that product ID. So, you can also do the same for country or any other data that you want to be able to drill through on. So, you can have the page go and drill through, then we can go back. Like someone returned back to the previous page.

So, another useful tool is the drill down options. So, drilling down means drilling down on data. So, let's say we had... So, let's say we've got our revenue by date here, so we've got our years summarized in bar charts. But what we can do also is drill down. So if we turn on drill down, now when we click we're going to drill down on the quarter, on the month, on the day. And then if you want it to drill up, you would go up. So, you can see here these are our axises that we are drilling down. So, let's say we didn't want to drill down on quarter, we just wanted to drill down on year, month and day, we can take the quarter out of there, now when we drill down, we've got every single month.

So, that's what these buttons here are. Drill up, go to the next level, which is basically drill down, and expand all, so that rather than drilling down, that's going to expand everything in the next hierarchy. So, we can just drill back up. Now, if you don't want the ability for people to be able to drill down, we just turn it off. So now they can't drill down. When they click, it doesn't drill down. So, to enable drill down, turn that on and you'll be able to drill down. Otherwise, no drill down options are available.

About the Author
Jake Gardner
IT Manager

Jake is an IT manager for a managed services company that works with small- to medium-size businesses and manages their IT. He mainly works with a Microsoft Stack, from Servers to Microsoft 365 & Azure. He also specializes in business process improvement helping businesses to leverage technology to speed up their workflows. Jake really enjoys testing out new technologies and seeing what they can do. Outside of work he enjoys kayak fishing, gardening, and going to the gym.