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Top N Analysis



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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 Top N Analysis. Let's say we are interested to see only the top 10 sales value out of 100 products, top five performing managers, or top five global markets for these products.

A great option would be to use the Top N filter. The Top N filter works like the top clause in SQL. It filters and returns the data according to a specified number we want to filter.

In this lecture, we will apply the Top N filter to minimize the number of fields to show only top value entries instead of basic filtering or advanced filtering. So, in order to get started, let's go to Power Bi Desktop and connect to our sample report. So, we see that this table goes on forever. And let's say we don't want to allow our users to scroll. We just want to minimize this down to a certain number of top entries. So, if we sort by total sales, let's click on the header. We can see this is showing us the cities by their total sales revenue.

Let's say we only want to show the top 10 or so, we can do that by clicking on our table. Let's go to the filter pane and there we can filter our city's name with this drop-down. So, instead of basic filtering or advanced filtering, we see this Top N selection. So, by default, we can select a top or bottom number. And we can select top 10 by value. We can throw in a column or measure. Let's say total sales throw that in the value and apply filter.

So, now this is filtered down to the top 10 and that's nice and easy to see and works just out of the box. But do keep in mind this does not necessarily need to be a table. We can do this with any visuals such as a bar chart. Let's change our table to a bar chart. And now we see the top cities by total sales.

Now let's remove the total sales by city filter and clear the Top N filter. We'll clear the total sales and total units and we can throw in our stores count instead of the value. And now let's show the top 10 cities by number of stores. Let's drag the store count as a value here and apply that filter. And we see all the cities are showing instead. This is actually because there are many ties in the number of stores. We see that only three cities have two stores, while other cities have one store. So, do keep that in mind that it may happen if there are value ties in the fields we want to filter. But Top N Analysis is an extremely easy out-of-the-box tool in Power BI. Definitely recommend adding this to our reports in case we have a lot of data to really show in a single view.

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.