Power BI Desktop Overview for Beginners

What is Microsoft Power BI Desktop?

Unlock your data with Microsoft Power BI Desktop the developer tool for the Microsoft Power BI platform.  Power BI is a self-service business intelligence platform designed to enable automation and insights into your business.  Create interactive data visualizations and reports with Microsoft’s flagship data visualization software.  Connect to over 90+ data sources, including Azure data or SQL Server.  Import and transform your data set in Power BI then build reports that let you see trends, patterns and outliers in your data.  Frequent software enhancements are automatically applied with Power BI updates.   Publish your reports to PowerBI.com and access the data via the web or Power BI mobile.  Get started for free and upgrade to Power BI Pro to share your content.

CDO Advisors Power BI Desktop Canvas
CDO Advisors Power BI Desktop Canvas

Integrate Your Data in Power BI Desktop

Unlock your data by combining data inside of Power BI Desktop using Power Query.  Power Query is the internal ETL solution that enables fast and flexible data transformations to wrangle your data and get the data you need without having to request additional resources to curate and model the data.

Basic Views in Microsoft Power BI Desktop

Report View

Report view is where you create reports by dragging visualizations onto the Power BI Canvas and then selecting the data from the fields available.  Add data visualizations, resize, move and arrange them to get better insights into your data.  Apply filters to limit the data shown such as a date selector.  Build a report with many pages that let you examine your data in greater detail.  Features such as drill-thru and filtering in Power BI let you find the data you need with self-service analytics. Create easy to read dashboards that include KPIs and card visuals to highlight actual vs target.

Power BI Desktop Report View
Power BI Desktop Report View

Data View

In the data view you will see your data similar to Excel.  If you have multiple data sources, each one will be a table.  Select each table one by one to explore the data to ensure you have what you need.  Add DAX in Power BI to create columns or measures.

Power BI Desktop Data View
Power BI Desktop Data View

Model View

The model view is only used it you have more than 1 data table and you need to create relationship between your data.  For example, you could pull customer information from your CRM and Billing information from another system.  As long as you can link on common key.  Power BI would then be able to filter the data in the report, automatically by simply clicking on data visualizations.

Power BI Desktop Model View
Power BI Desktop Model View

Power Query

Use Power Query to transform you data with a variety of built in solutions.  Common operations include, removing rows or columns, replacing values, changing data types.

Power Query
Power BI Desktop Power Query

Building Reports with Power BI

Once you have your data source(s) connected and cleaned up.  You can then start building your reports in Power BI Desktop.  There is a lot to cover so please subscribe and watch my YouTube channel where I have a many examples of how to build solutions in Power BI.

See how to use Power BI Desktop by watching our Step by Step Power BI Training series on YouTube

Our guided learning offers you an easy way to learn the basics or Power BI and the Power BI Platform.  Download our sample data file and then setup data connections that let you start building power bi visuals in your dashboards and reports.  Learn how to add new data elements using DAX in Power BI to create columns and measures.

Microsoft Power BI Desktop Options and Settings

Very important for new Power BI developers is to understand the Power BI Desktop Options and Settings.  The options is were you enable or disable new features and settings.  Often Microsoft will rollout a preview feature and add it to the Global settings under Preview Features.  In order to take advantage of these new enhancements you need to turn them on.  Take some time and explore this area of Power BI.  Your time spent will be well worth it.

To access the Options:  Open Power BI Desktop, click on File > Options and Settings.

Then review the available options.  You will notice you have both Global and Current File settings.  When you change the current file settings it only applies to this .pbix file.  This is handy when you need to save regional settings or tweak settings based on a special report.

Power BI Desktop Options
Power BI Desktop Options

CDO Advisors Microsoft Power BI Solutions:

BI as a Service – Low Monthly Fees, Pay Per Month Per User

Executive Dashboards – Get Dashboards in 4 Weeks

Healthcare Dashboard Proof of Concept – SEE your data visualized

Microsoft Power BI Demo – Compare your current reporting to Power BI

Power BI Quick Start Solutions – Ready to start or enhance your Power BI?

Train Your Team – Remote Power BI Developer and End User Training

Use Power BI for Finance Teams – Learn how Power BI can improve operations

Virtual Chief Data Officer – Confused by all your data?  We can help

Watch our 1 minute Power BI dashboard example and see how you can get business dashboards from almost any data.

Most businesses lack the time and expertise to build dashboards that get results.  At CDO Advisors, we’ll build you an amazing analytics dashboard at an affordable price.  So you can quickly make data driven decisions, spot issues and improve your business.