Play Axis Feature
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Power BI allows business users to analyze data and share insights across all levels of an organization. It gives an end-to-end view of important metrics and key performance indicators through intuitive and interactive dashboards all in one place.

In this Course, you will learn about several Power BI tools that would help you enhance reports to expose insights and present them in a way that appeals to a wide range of end-users.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand how to apply conditional formatting, slicers, and filters
  • Perform top N analysis
  • Explore statistical summary
  • Use the Q&A visual
  • Add a Quick Insights result to a report
  • Understand when and where to create reference lines by using the Analytics pane
  • Learn when and where to use the Play Axis feature of a visualization
  • Understand how to personalize visuals

Intended Audience

  • Beginners to data analytics
  • Business analysts
  • Business intelligence developers
  • Business intelligence managers
  • Anyone who wants to learn about Power BI


  • Microsoft Power BI Desktop for PC/Windows users (free download)
  • Familiarity with preparing data using Power BI
  • Familiarity with modeling data using Power BI
  • A basic understanding of Power Query, Power Pivot, and DAX is a plus but not required

Let's talk about Play Axis Feature. Let's say we want to show our reports without having to click every time when we want to change the values of filter. Template access is a great tool for that. Play access feature acts as a dynamic slicer when we want to see trends and look for patterns in our data over time by clicking on play and just focus on how our data is evolving. In this lecture, we will identify the visuals that allows us to use the Play Access features such as the scatter chart. Import Play axis is a custom visual. Use the play axis feature to step through the data using a date dimension and edit the interactions to view how each time period is creating a different view of our data.

In order to get started, let's go to BI desktop and connect to our sample report. I'm going to show you a couple of examples of the Play axis feature and play axis feature is only really available for certain visualizations such as the scatter chart. We have a scatter chart that shows the total sales variance on the X-axis. The sales per square foot on the y-axis with values of both the district and numbers of stores we see that we have multiple dots broken into different districts. They each have individual dot size according to the account of total sales. District three in orange has around three million of sales and district seven is three times smaller in size with sales of around a million.

So, in order to create a play axis, we just need to throw in a date dimension as a field. So, let's open up our timetable and let's throw in our month to the play axis bar. So, now we have this nice play axis on the bottom. All we have to do is click the play button and our scattered chart is going to step through the individual months as we can see on here. So, we see the individual dots moving back and forth and that's actually interesting and that we can click on a single dot and see its entire path. So, let's click on District 11 dot in yellow, so we can see its path up to that point there. And if we can actually control, click and click on multiple dots so we can see their paths and if you click that play button we can see them going with their paths. Pretty interesting stuff with this play Axis functionality.

So, that is the default play access functionality built into the scatter chart. But let's say we want to have this functionality on other types of visuals. For that we need to play axis dynamic slicer which is a favorite custom visual of mine. But first let's go ahead and change this into a bar chart for this purpose and we want a bar chart based on total sales by district. So, let's keep only the district in this axis, let's clear all of our values here and remove the small multiple options and let's throw in the total sales. And now we have this total sales by District Bar chart. So to get the play axis slicer, we need to go to the visuals pin. Click on these three dots here, go to get more visuals and it's going to open up this Power BI visuals windows.

Let's search for play axis dynamic slicer, click on it and less important to our File, click ''add'' and now we've successfully imported it. Let's click on the icon in yellow and make room for a slice here here on top and throw in the month time field. We can click the play button on our axis dynamic slicer and it's going to step through the individual months of data. And let's change the formatting the edit interactions so that this filters down our bar chart unless adjust the speed of the slicer, go to the format, pain animation settings and change the transition time to 3000 milliseconds. Let's click play and now we can see that each month is creating a different view of the bar chart iterating over in our play access Dynamic slicer.

So, this lecture we use play access feature in a scatter chart, imported play access as a custom visual to view how each time period is creating a different view of the data and open up a lot of flexibility within our reports.

About the Author

Moatasim has been a data and insight consultant since 2014, driving data culture strategies in enterprises, non-profit organizations and tech startups to improve their decision making. He has teamed up with Fortune 1000 companies, MBB and Big Four consultants on complex engagements in government and private sectors. He has been a data analyst, business analyst, BI manager, and instructor. To date, Moatasim has created learning content relating to business intelligence, data analysis and machine learning, mostly within Power BI, Azure, SQL and Python. His hobbies included heavy metal drumming and meditation.