Getting Started With Power BI


Power BI Desktop is a powerful, flexible, and a highly accessible tool to connect with and shape the world of data, build robust models, and craft well-structured reports. It lets you create a collection of queries, data connections, and reports that can easily be shared with others. It helps you to customize the visualization by creating Dashboards which displays visualizations from many different datasets and many different reports.

In this tech tip, we will have a look at how the Power BI works and its basic concepts.

How Power BI Desktop Works

With Power BI Desktop, one can connect to data (usually multiple data sources), shape that data (with queries that build insightful, compelling data models), and use that model to create reports (which others can leverage, build upon, and share).

When the steps are completed to your satisfaction – connect, shape, and report – you can save that work in Power BI Desktop file format, which is the .pbix extension. Power BI Desktop files can be shared like any other file, but the most compelling way to share Power BI Desktop files is to upload them (share them) on the Power BI service.

Power BI Concepts

The 3 major building blocks of Power BI are: dashboards, reports, and datasets.


A dataset is something that you import or connect to. There are all sorts of data sources available in the Query window. To connect to a dataset, select Get Data -> More by selecting the Home. Follow the instructions to connect to the specific source and add the dataset to your workspace. You can explore the dataset by dragging and dropping fields from the field list and specifying what visual you would like the data displayed in. Also one can edit the query by selecting Edit from the bottom of the window, or we can load the table or from the View -> Show -> Query Settings panel


Further you can also shape/adjust the data – such as renaming columns or tables, changing text to numbers, removing rows, setting the first row as headers, and so on using the Query Editor and combine the data from different sources using Merge (from the Home tab in the ribbon).

Build Reports

A Power BI report is one or more pages of visualizations (charts and graphs). In Power BI Desktop Report view, you can begin to build reports.

The Report view has five main areas:

  1. The ribbon, which displays common tasks associated with reports and visualizations
  2. The Report view, or canvas, where visualizations are created and arranged
  3. The Pages tab area along the bottom, which lets you select or add a report page
  4. The Visualizations pane, where you can change visualizations, customize colors or axes, apply filters, drag fields, and more.
  5. The Fields pane, where query elements and filters can be dragged onto the Report view, or dragged to the Filters area of the Visualizations pane.

To create a visualization, just drag a field from the Fields list onto the Report view,


Below is the sample report having six Pages , each visualizing certain elements of the data.



A dashboard is a single canvas that contains one or more tiles. Each tile displays a single visualization that was created from the data in one of the underlying dataset(s). In the navigation pane, your dashboards are listed under the Dashboards heading. Each listed dashboard represents a customized view of some subset of the underlying datasets.

Dashboards helps one:

  • to see, in one glance, all the information needed to make decisions.
  • to monitor the most-important information about their business.
  • to ensure all are on the same page, viewing and using the same information.
  • to monitor the health of a business or product or business unit or marketing campaign, etc.
  • to create a personalized view of a larger dashboard -- all the metrics that matter.


Power BI Desktop centralizes, simplifies, and streamlines what can otherwise be a scattered, disconnected, and arduous process of designing and creating business intelligence repositories and reports. So we can conclude that Power BI is the future of Excel.


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