How To Create Power BI Dashboards: 5 Easy Steps

on BI Tool, Data Visualization, Power BI, Tutorials • April 14th, 2021 • Write for Hevo

Power BI Dashboards

Data Visualization has become an integral part of the Data Analytics industry in the last couple of years. Power BI is one such BI (Business Intelligence) tool that helps companies leverage their customer data and build compelling reports and dashboards. Power BI Dashboards allow organizations to carry out an informative analysis of their business & customer data, gain actionable insights and make data-driven strategic decisions.

Power BI Dashboards help manage the process of Data Visualization correctly, according to your business requirements, and at the same time help monitor the performance of your Sales, Advertisement campaigns, Business operations, and a lot more.  As Power BI is part of the Microsoft Power Platform, it can easily integrate with other Microsoft technologies and constantly provide you with high-quality dashboards every step of the way.

In this article, you will learn how to create Power BI Dashboards in a seamless manner using the Power BI Desktop. A step-by-step procedure with images will help you understand the process easily. You will also get an overview of Power BI and the importance it holds for data-driven organizations and different Power BI Charts you can use in the Visualization process. Read along to find out how you can leverage Power BI Dashboards for your organization.

Table of Contents

What is Power BI?

Power BI Logo
Image Source: Sereviso

Power BI is a Business Intelligence tool from Microsoft. It helps users analyze data from various sources and build reports & dashboards. It can act as a stand-alone Desktop application or act as a completely managed Cloud-Based web service. While the Power BI Desktop comes as a free application, the Power BI Service is a paid offering based on subscriptions.

Microsoft also offers Power BI Mobile for people who want to keep an eye on their data on the move. Power BI also supports Analytical capabilities that can be embedded into custom web applications. It integrates seamlessly with most of the enterprise Microsoft offerings.

Power BI Dashboards use the ability of Power BI to connect with the most common databases that exist outside the Microsoft ecosystem and generate simple and interactive dashboards from them.

To learn more about Power BI, visit our all-inclusive guide here.

Prerequisites

  • A Power BI Desktop account.
  • Working knowledge of Power BI.
  • Working knowledge of databases and data sources.

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The Types of Charts in Power BI

Power BI Dashboards contain multiple Power BI Charts that you can use to make your reports and dashboards look informative, yet attractive for all types of users. Some of the popular BI Charts include:

1) Power BI Slicers

Power BI Slicers help make your Power BI Dashboards interactive. This feature ensures that dashboards cover every topic in detail and provide information in a layered manner across different aspects so that you can review them in one go!

To create a Power BI Slicer, open the Power BI Desktop and go to Visualizations > Slicer > choose a Field > and drag-and-drop it on your dashboard as shown below.

Power BI Slicers
Image Source: Insight Whale

2) Power BI Map Visualizations

Power BI Dashboards allow you to design maps and visualize them to provide more depth into the demographics of the data being analyzed. Power BI Map Visualizations come in 2 forms- a Shape Map that focuses on geographic areas & colour gradation and a Bubble map that displays data comparison in the form of different sized bubbles as shown below.

Power BI Map Visualizations
Image Source: Microsoft Docs

To create a Power BI Shape Map, open the Power BI Desktop and go to Visualizations > Filled Map > choose a Value > add to the Location bucket.

To create a Power BI Bubble Map, open the Power BI Desktop and go to Visualizations > Map > choose a Value > add to the Location bucket.

3) Power BI Tables & Matrices

Tables in Power BI help represent data systematically and concisely. Matrices are another form of Power BI tables that have different category headers on the rows and columns.

To create a Power BI Table, open the Power BI Desktop and go to Visualizations > Table > Values, and set your Value fields according to the table you want. This is shown below.

Power BI Table
Image Source: Microsoft Docs

To create a Power BI Matrix, open the Power BI Desktop and go to Visualizations > Matrix. Here you can change Column Colors, Shift Rows and Column Totals, and much more. This is shown below.

Power BI Matrix
Image Source: Microsoft Docs

4) Power BI Scatter Chart, Waterfall Chart, and Funnel Charts

Power BI Dashboards allow users to add a diverse set of charts, helping them present their data in a simple yet and accurate manner. Scatter Charts are used to compare 2 different parameters with each other.

To create a Scatter Chart, open the Power BI Desktop and go to Visualizations > Scatter chart > select two fields you’d like to compare > drag-and-drop these to the X-Axis and Y-Axis fields > add a field to the Details bucket to mark how you wish to filter your data. This is shown below.

Power BI Scatter Chart
Image Source: Microsoft Docs

Waterfall Charts are used to show the changes in a single value like Sales, over a period of time.

To create a Waterfall Chart, open the Power BI Desktop and go to Visualizations > Waterfall charts > choose a Time-based Field like a month or year > drag to the Category panel > choose any value, like Sales, you want to track over Time > Drag to the Y-Axis as shown below.

Power BI Waterfall Chart
Image Source: Microsoft Docs

Funnel Charts help organizations display User Journeys. To create a Funnel Chart, open the Power BI Desktop and go to Visualizations > Funnel. This is shown below.

Power BI Funnel Chart
Image Source: Microsoft Docs

5) Modifying Colors in Power BI

In any dashboard, colours play an important role in highlighting the differences between attributes or datasets. In some cases, you may need to modify them so that your dashboard can acquire all the differences.

To change the colour of any Power BI Chart or Graph, open the Power BI Desktop and click Visualizations > click on the chart you’d like to modify > click Paintbrush symbol > Data Colors> select a colour picker to choose any chart colour you’d like. 

Modifying Colours in Power BI
Image Source: Microsoft Docs

5 Easy Steps for Creating Power BI Dashboards

Now that you have a clear idea of the features available in Power BI, the next step is to create Power BI Dashboards to visualize your data. You can create Power BI Dashboards using the following steps:

Step 1: Downloading Power BI Desktop

As with any software, you can use Power BI by signing up. To do so go to Power BI Home Page > Sign up free > Start free trial. 

Now to download Power BI Desktop, look at the header and you will find a download sign ( ⤓ ) > Power BI Desktop. Another option is to visit Microsoft Power BI’s official website. Power BI is only compatible with Windows systems, so keep that in mind before downloading it.

The download page is shown below.

Downloading Power BI
Image Source: Insight Whale

Step 2: Installing the Power BI Desktop

Once the Power BI Desktop is downloaded, open the setup file and go to Next > ☑I accept the terms in the License Agreement > Choose the destination folder > ☑Create a desktop shortcut > Install > ☑Launch Microsoft Power BI Desktop > Finish.

Once installed, the Power BI home page will open up as follows.

Power BI Home Page
Image Source: Insight Whale

Step 3: Importing Data to Power BI

The next step is to import data from any data source and visualize it in Power BI. To do so, press on Home > Get Data > Choose a data source > Connect as shown below.

Importing Data
Image Source: Microsoft Docs

Step 4: Formatting the Data in Power BI

Once you have imported your data, Power BI starts processing it and organizes it based on what it has found in the Navigator Window. Before loading the data, you have an option to format it.

To do this, select the “Transform Data” available at the bottom of the page. In case you want to load the data without any formatting, click on “Load”. This is shown below.

Navigator Preview
Image Source: Microsoft Docs

When you select Transform data, a summarized form of the table is shown. This is shown below.

Transform Data
Image Source: Microsoft Docs

Step 5: Creating Visualizations for your Power BI Dashboards

Once you have imported your data completely onto Power BI, creating the visualization elements is very easy. You can incorporate different visualization elements (similar to the ones discussed in the previous section) by simply clicking on any Bar, Pie, or Donut chart or any other data visualization methods and types under the Visualizations tab on the right side of the panel as shown below.

Image Source: Microsoft Docs

In case you want to add other visualization elements, you need to look at the Fields panel, present on the right-hand side, and check or drag-and-drop the desired field onto the Power BI Dashboards as shown below.

Fields Panel
Image Source: Microsoft Docs

Conclusion

This article gave a step-by-step guide on creating Power BI Dashboards using Power BI Desktop. It also gave an introduction to Power BI and highlighted its importance for any organization. It described the different Power BI Chart Types available for Power BI Dashboards that can be added as visualization elements.

Overall, Power BI Dashboards play a pivotal role for any organization as they help companies better understand their customer and business requirements by providing information and attractive dashboards. Power BI Dashboards are a one-stop solution for any of your visualization needs and you can be assured that you will design high-quality dashboards only.

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Share your experience of Creating Power BI Dashboards in the comments section below!

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