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Slicers and Filters



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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 Slicers and Filters. Let's say we want our reports readers to be able to look at overall sales figures while highlighting individual district manager performance throughout various time periods. An option would be to separate the reports and comparative charts. Another would be to apply filters in the filters pane. Alternatively, slicers might be used as another way of filtering as they reduce the portion of datasets displayed in the other reports visualizations. In this lecture, we will apply slicers and sync them to speak to other pages within our report, apply a selection filter on a slicer once and have it applied to other pages, apply advanced slices to a report. So, in order to get started, let's go to Power BI Desktop and connect to our sample report.

Now, let's take an in-depth view of slices and filters pane. We see a slicer here in this report and we'll be using it to cover each individual type of slicers. So, we can see that we have a fiscal year slicer here with the date column as a date type. So, by default, it created this range numerical slicer. We can see that our data ranges from 2012-2014. We can also change the type of the slicers to a list, a drop-down between less than or equal and greater than or equal to. So, we'll start with less than or equal to. So, now we only have the control over our maximum here. The opposite is true, if we switch to greater than or equal to, we only have the control over our minimum here. Now, let's throw in our store name into the slicers instead and we'll remove the fiscal year.

We'll see that we only have two options for the slicer, a list or drop-down and this is because we threw in a text value. So, a list looks like this or we can click in this drop-down here and that works just fine. Also we can throw in the date directly into the slicer if we choose to change it to the actual date values, let's throw in the date and remove the item name. You can see that we have more options available. We can set a date range similar to the numeric slicer. We have an after which is like the greater than or equal to or before which is like the less than or equal to for the new numeric slicer. And then we also have the options to use relative date. And this is a very interesting take on the date slicer.

This is going to allow us to look at our date relatively basically showing let's say, the last and for the period will put eight let's select here and we see that it's sliced our visuals accordingly. We can even do next one month or next one year or we could show everything in this current year. We also have the options for a calendar year, calendar months, and calendar weeks. So, a bunch of different ways to slice up our data. Let's set it back to between. So, by default, the best practice is to use multiple slices on a page, if you're going to apply filters to visualizations. We also have the options to add filters directly to the filters pane and there are three different sections within the filters pane. For example, we can filter specific item on a visual. We're just going to clear our selection and we can click on our pie chart and apply a filter directly to this visualization.

We have this pie chart that shows the sales of every item sold this year. Will add item category as a filter field. So, if you only want to show let's say shoes, accessories, home items, and let's say shoes, we can apply directly to this visualization and can see that we have all of our options here because that filter is only applied to our pie chart shown here. Let's clear the filter. We can also apply a filter to the entire page. So, if we were to throw in our item category into the filter on this page and let's say we just filter this down to shoes, we can see there are slicers have been filtered down just to give shoes. Let's clear the filter. And then finally, we could do the exact same thing on the filters on all page section and that will act just as we might expect, it will apply the filters to all of the different tabs of our report.

We'll add item category as a filter field. Let's view our district monthly sales page before filtering, let's go back to the sales overview tab and apply filter and let's go back again to view the district monthly sales to confirm if the filter has been applied. Great. Let's go back to our overview page and we're going to go ahead and get rid of our item category name filter on this page, let's clear the filter. Last thing, let's look at this powerful functionality and slicers. We can throw in multiple fields on this default slicer. For example, if we take our customer store chain and put it right below city and let's clear the date. And now we can have the options to show our slicers as hierarchy, so we can drill down into subcategories like West Virginia for example. And apply filters directly from those subcategories if we choose to do so. So, in this lecture we covered applying slicers, applying a selection filter on slicers and applying advanced slicers to our report. Slicers are ideal for when we need to display frequently used or important filters on the report canvas for quicker access, eliminate the need to open a drop-down list to view the current filter state and conveniently place slicers next to important visuals to create more focused 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.