Power BI Tutorial

This MS Power BI Tutorial helps you learn this tool from basic to advanced. The Power BI tutorial links below will show you the step-by-step approach to connecting with multiple data sources, data transformations, and creating reports like charts, tables, matrices, maps, etc., with screenshots. Use them to learn Power BI tutorial step by step.

What is Power BI?

Microsoft Power BI is one of the most popular Data Visualization tools and a Business Intelligence Tool, and this tutorial explains everything about it. 

Power BI is a collection of connectors, apps, and software services that work together to convert large junk of data into more meaningful insights. Typically, an Organization gets its data from Text, CSV files, Excel spreadsheets, databases, data warehouses, or the cloud. 

The Microsoft Power BI lets you connect with all kinds of data sources to get your data. Transform data, model data, visualize (charts), and share them with anyone.

Microsoft Power BI is a cloud-based technology for data analysis and analytics or reporting. It incorporates several powerful components, and each has its own role in creating reports. For instance, connecting to data sources, data cleansing, analytics, calculations, sharing reports, consuming, etc.

It also allows data analysts to publish reports for your organization. So that you can access them using mobiles, tablets, etc. This MS Power BI tutorial explains these steps as well, so read this thoroughly to learn everything about this business intelligence tool.

It has a user-friendly environment, and it is straightforward to create reports. We can divide the Power BI into three elements and this tutorial further divides it into three more.

  • Desktop
  • Service
  • Mobile App
  • DAX
  • Reporting Server
  • Report Builder
Power BI Tutorial

Power BI Desktop

When someone is talking about Power BI, it’s about the Desktop tutorial only. It is a lightweight and absolutely free tool that you can download, install and use on the local machine.

The installation process consists mainly Next button, and we covered it along with screenshots. So please refer to Download and install Desktop to follow this tutorial or create our reports.

It is a window-based desktop application helpful for connecting with data sources, transforming, preparing reports, and publishing them to service.

The most common use of Power BI Desktop tutorial includes

  • Connect with many data sources such as text files, databases, excel files, etc to import data.
  • Data transformation, cleanups, or combining data from multiple data sources, assigning relationships are often called modeling.
  • Create a report that combines one or more pages, and each page has its own chart.
  • Design graphs, charts, and maps to illustrate the imported data visually.
  • Publish reports to Services or Reporting Server.
  • Finally, we can share those reports across the organization.

This section of the Microsoft Power BI tutorial covers establishing connections, preparing data, etc.

  1. Add, Rename, Duplicate, and Delete Pages
  2. Connect to SQL Server
  3. Connect to Multiple Excel Sheets
  4. Get Data from Excel Files
  5. Get Data from Text Files
  6. Load Data from Multiple Data Sources
  7. Remove Unwanted Columns from Tables

Power BI Desktop Interface

  1. Menu: It has all the common actions that we perform regularly. The Home tab has the options to connect with any data (Get Data), recent sources, visuals, publish to a server, etc.
  2. Report Navigation: Here, you can navigate between the report, underlying data in the data set, and the relationship between the tables. Use those three tabs to view or alter the data and their relationships.
  3. Report Designer Area: You drop or add charts or visuals to design and develop Power BI reports here.
  4. Page Navigation: It is Tab based on navigation where you can shift from one report to another by selecting them. Remember, a report might have one or more pages, and each page has it’s own visual or chart.
  5. Fields Pane: This is where you see all the columns available to design reports. It displays all the fields or columns from the chosen data set to work. You have to use these fields in the visual configuration pane for designing a chart.
  6. Visualizations: It shows a tiny icon of all the available visuals or charts. Clicking those icons will generate that visual on the report designer. Microsoft also allows you to add your own chart or visual to this list.
  7. Visual configuration pane: After choosing the required chart from the Visualizations pane, you must configure it. This pane is all about adding fields such as the X-axis values and Y-Axis values. Apart from this, it has the formatting options such as changing colors, adding a legend, adding tooltips, etc.
  8. Filters Pane: If you want to apply some filters on the page data or chart, then you have to use this pane. The desktop support filters range from page to report level, and we covered all of them in the filters sections.

Power Query

Power BI Query is a combination of connecting to different data sources, getting data or tables from those, transforming them as per the requirements, and load into the dataset. The first two steps connecting and getting tables can be done by the “Get Data” option in the Power BI Home tab. Then, when you click on the “Edit Queries” option, you have the chance to transform tables as per your need. And it is a place where you have to apply all data transformations because it happens before data loads into the Power BI.

Some of the everyday things that we do in this Power BI tutorial step include: changing data type, combining data from multiple data sources, adding a new column, removing an existing column, etc.

Power Query user interface

  1. Transformation Options: The Menu has different tabs, and by default, it opens with the Home tab with frequently used items. And each tab has other options for performing data transformations.
  2. Formula Pane: It is the place where you have to write a DAX query to transform data. Or edit or alter the existing formula to clean the data.
  3. Data Preview: It displays the data (rows and columns) inside the selected table. It doesn’t display all the records, but it shows a preview to get an idea of its data.
  4. Queries Pane: List of all the tables available in a dataset. It divides the columns into dimensions, measures, and other queries (for unknown tables).
  5. Query Settings Pane: It has two options: you can change the properties of the selected column or undo/redo the applied steps to it. Because it keeps a record of each step, you have taken in data transformation. So, while applying the transformation, if you have made any mistakes or want to change something, you can use this pane to remove those steps at any point.

Power BI Transformations Tutorial

We don’t get the data that we can directly use in the reports in real-time. Instead, we have to clean that data to meet our business standards. We have a query editor within the Desktop to perform all the needed operations. This section of the Microsoft Power BI tutorial explains most of the data transformations you need.

  1. Bins
  2. Change the Data type of a Column
  3. Combine Multiple Tables 
  4. Clusters
  5. Enter data or Copy & Paste data from Clipboard
  6. Format Dates
  7. Groups
  8. Hierarchies
  9. Joins
  10. Pivot Table
  11. Query Groups
  12. Reorder or Remove Columns
  13. Rename Column Names
  14. Rename Table Names
  15. Split Columns
  16. UnPivot Table

After the data preparation, the next step will be creating a visual, which can be done by simply dragging fields.

Power BI Charts Tutorial

You can see the small icons within the desktop visualization tab, each representing one chart. Simply clicking that image will create a chart, or dragging appropriate measures or dimensions will also create a basic chart.

The following is the list of charts that are available to work. This section of the Power BI tutorial covers each chart’s definition and configuration.

  1. Area Chart
  2. Bar Chart
  3. Card
  4. Clustered Bar Chart
  5. Clustered Column Chart
  6. Column Chart
  7. Donut Chart
  8. Funnel Chart
  9. Heat Map
  10. Line Chart
  11. Clustered Column and Line
  12. Line and Stacked Column
  13. Matrix
  14. Multi-Row Card
  15. Pie Chart
  16. Ribbon Chart
  17. Stacked Area
  18. Scatter Chart
  19. Stacked Bar Chart
  20. Stacked Column
  21. Table
  22. TreeMap
  23. Waterfall Chart
  24. 100% Stacked Bar
  25. 100% Stacked Column
  26. Map
  27. Filled Map

Format Power BI Charts tutorial

The following Power BI tutorial section covers the formatting options for the data analytics charts.

  1. Format Area Chart
  2. Format Bar Chart
  3. Formatting Card
  4. Format Clustered Bar
  5. Format Cluster Column
  6. Formatting Column
  7. Format Donut Chart
  8. Format Funnel Chart
  9. Formatting Line Chart
  10. Format Line & Clustered Column
  11. Format Line & Stacked Column
  12. Formatting Matrix
  13. Format Multi-Row Card
  14. Format Pie Chart
  15. Formatting Ribbon
  16. Format Stacked Area
  17. Formatting Scatter
  18. Format Stacked Bar
  19. Format Stacked Column
  20. Formatting Table
  21. Format Tree Map
  22. Formatting Waterfall
  23. R Script
  24. Format Map
  25. Format Filled Map

Power BI Filters tutorial

The following power bi tutorial section explains the types of Filters with a practical example

  1. Slicer
  2. Basic Filters
  3. Advanced Filters
  4. Top N Filters
  5. Filters on Measures
  6. Page-Level Filters
  7. Report Level Filters
  8. Drill through Filters

Power BI DAX and Modeling

DAX stands for Daa Analysis Expression Language. It is a powerful language, and you have to use it to write calculations in Power BI. In Desktop, the Modeling tab is one of the powerful ones because here, you can create a new Table, Column, Parameter, and Measures. You can also manage and view Roles and the relationships between tables. To create a Measure or any calculated field, you must use DAX.

Power BI Tutorial on Calculated Fields

This section of the Power BI tutorial covers the calculated fields. Sometimes, we don’t get the columns that we need to perform visualization. In these situations, we can create calculated fields that we have shown below. Then, we can write simple arithmetic operations within these columns or the most powerful DAX functions.

  1. Calculated Columns
  2. Conditional Columns
  3. Calculated Measures
  4. Calculated Tables
  5. Custom Columns

MS Power BI DAX Tutorial

We have to use the DAX functional language formulas to create calculations on table data. Like any other language, Power BI DAX supports many built-in functions to work on Numeric, String, and Object data. This Power BI tutorial section covers most of the commonly used DAX business analytics functions with examples.

  1. Aggregate Functions
  2. Date Functions
  3. Logical Functions
  4. Math Functions
  5. String Functions
  6. Trigonometric Functions

Power BI Service or Online

Power BI Desktop, Power Query (Get Data), Transformation, and DAX components are useful to load data, transform it, and visualize them in a meaningful chart. However, you need a service to deploy them so that others can access them.

Although you can design reports using a Power BI desktop application, you need an online SaaS (Software as a Service) service to share your work across the organization.

To work with the service, you need an account and a Pro service subscription as well. Microsoft allows you to create a free account and provides 60 days trial period. It might be helpful for users who want to learn or explore things.

It is where you publish your reports and dashboards and share them with your organization or others. Here, you can configure the subscription users, roles, Security, etc. We covered everything from registration to free trial to share reports in the Dashboard section.

The exciting feature is that you can create a report or dashboard right from the service itself using online data. 

Power BI tutorial on Dashboards

It covers adding report items to the dashboard and publishing them.

  1. Register to Pro Service
  2. Dashboard Introduction
  3. Connect Desktop with Service or Pro
  4. Publish Desktop Reports
  5. Create a Workspace
  6. Favorites

Learn tutorials on Power BI Dashboards

This section is about the Dashboard creation, adding content, deleting items etc.

  1. Dashboard Actions
  2. Add Reports to a Dashboard
  3. Add Title to Dashboard
  4. How to Add Image to Dashboard
  5. Add Video to Dashboard
  6. Add Web Content to Dashboard
  7. Dashboard Settings
  8. Delete a Dashboard
  9. Pin Report to a Dashboard

Reports and Datasets

In this tutorial section, learn Power BI report creation, datasets creation etc.

  1. Creating a Report
  2. Creating a Report using Excel Data
  3. Upload Excel Files to Dashboard
  4. Upload Workbook
  5. Pin Workbook to Dashboard
  6. Rename a Dataset
  7. Rename a Report
  8. Get Insights of a Dataset
  9. Get Insights of a Report

Learning Power BI Work Sharing tutorial

This tutorial section covers the sharing of Work means, sharing reports, Dashboards, power bi mobile apps, Workspaces, etc.

  1. Share a Dashboard
  2. Share a Report
  3. Sharing Workspace
  4. Publish App
  5. Edit App

Q&A Section

  1. Q&A
  2. Customize Q&A Suggestions
  3. Advanced Q&A

Mobile App

Microsoft provides a mobile app for Windows, Android, and IOS devices. It is a free app that you can install to consume the business insights.

After you log in to the account, you can see all the workspaces shared. The best part is that you have an option to add annotations and share them with colleagues. For instance, if you see a sudden hike in production wastage or a drop in sales, you can simply point it and share. By this, other can understand your concerns and explains accordingly.

Subscriptions

  1. View Published App
  2. Subscribe Dashboard
  3. Subscribe Report

Power BI Report Server

When you publish a report to the Service, it will store in the cloud server. However, it is not a viable option for the organizations because they always prefer to keep their data and reports within the premises.

Microsoft has a Power BI Report Server and works like SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services Report Manager) to support this. There are some limitations with Report Server compared to Services, but you have complete control.

Report Builder

It is a tool that you can download from the Microsoft website for creating paginated reports and publishing them to Service.

Power BI FAQ’s Tutorial

These are the list of frequently asked questions. Use hyperlinks to learn these Power Bi tutorial topics.

  1. Add Alternative Row Colors to a Table
  2. Add Data Bars to Table
  3. Drill up and Drill Down Reports
  4. Sort Chart in Asc or Desc Order
  5. Show Empty Records in a Report

Power BI Work Flow

  • Typically, the Power BI workflow tutorial begins with opening the Desktop and connecting to the data source.
  • Data cleanup or transformation is an optional step.
  • Building reports
  • Publish them to Service and share them with other users.
  • Access worksheets, reports, and dashboards from Mobile devices interact with them and comment about them.

Power BI Vs. Query Vs. Pivot

Power Pivot is also called DAX, and it is the brain/heart or whatever you call it. The entire application depends on it because it turns data into information.

Power Query is the actual data that you want to transform and visualize. By using the Pivot, we can get data from different data sources. However, there are some situations (in fact, all the time) where we have to perform cleanups and data transformations. In these situations, we have to use the Query to shape data.

Pivot is all about calculations, and it shows the calculated metrics, which might not be helpful from the business perspective. To create a chart or any visual, you need Power BI.

Power BI Roles in an Organization

  • If you are a developer, you might use APIs to push data into datasets. Or you may use or embed the visual into your application.
  • Some people work on Desktop or Report Builder to design the reports and publish them to Service.
  • If you are in a decision-making position, you might use the Mobile App to view Analytics to find what went right and what went wrong.
  • Few members from Administration work on Services to grand and revoke permissions to users and design light-weighted reports within the workspace.

Is Power BI difficult to learn?

I don’t think so. It is very easy to understand, even for beginners. If you are from the MSBI background or any BI tool, it is another interface with all the features.

The DAX part or the functions might be difficult to understand, however, by practicing them will get the experience.

Can I learn Power BI on my own?

Yes. Following this tutorial or Microsoft’s own material will help you learn on your own. In this Power Bi tutorial, we started with the basics to more advanced features which might help you to crack interviews.

Power BI Advantages

  1. Create enterprise-level analytics with the click of a button.
  2. Allow you to create high-level reports for an individual or the organization.
  3. Although its low cost and high-security platform encourage small companies, it is too powerful and a must-use product in large organizations.
  4. It has many pre-built connectors to connect with famous databases, Excel, Access, share point, etc.
  5. It is a tight competitor for Tableau. And the kind of data visualizations or charts Power BI offers has beaten Tableau with ease.
  6. Backed by Microsoft, the data security is added advantage for the Power BI.