by Marlon Ribunal

Getting Started With Power BI Desktop: Simple Visualization

This is the third installment of our Getting Started With Power BI Desktop series. The first post is about installation and the second is about getting data. In this post, let’s see how easy it is to create visualization on Power BI Desktop. If you’re quite familiar with creating graphs in Excel, you already got what it takes to start using this powerful visualization tool.

Fire up the Power BI Desktop app. When the splash screen pops up, select the report file (.pbix file) that we saved from the previous post (Consumer_Complaint_US.pbix).

power bi desktop splash screen

You can also open this file by going to the File tab (ribbon) and select the Open an existing report option.

On the left side of the report designer are the Visualizations and Fields panes. Most of the simple visualization tasks are accomplished by drag-and-dropping the components and elements from these panes.

Power BI Desktop Visualization Pane

Let’s create a simple graph for a start.

Select (click) the Bar Chart from the Visualizations pane.

Power BI Desktop Bar Graph

An empty graph then appears on the designer.

Power BI Desktop empty bar graph

Drag-and-drop the State field on the Axis and Issues on the Value.

Axis and Value of the Bar Graph in Power BI Desktop

And, just like that, your first visualization on Power BI Desktop is complete.

Simple Bar Graph in Power BI Desktop

Let’s do some formatting . Click the Brush icon in the visualization pane.

Format Bar Graph in Power BI Desktop

Let’s set some properties to change the appearance of our bar graph. Change whatever you want.

formatting visualization in Power BI Desktop

And here it is…a simple visualization created in Power BI Desktop.

Power BI Desktop Bar Graph

We’ll dig more visualization techniques in the next installments of this Getting Started With Power BI Desktop series.

by Marlon Ribunal

Getting Started With Power BI Desktop: Getting Data

Now that the Power BI Desktop is installed, let’s get some data. As of this writing, Power BI can get data from 37 different data sources and data connections – File (Excel, CSV, XML, Text), Database (SQL Server, Oracle, IBM DB2, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Terada, etc.), Azure (SQL Database, Azure Marketplace, etc.) and other data connections (Web, OData Feed, Hadoop File, Dynamic CRM Online, Salesforce Objects/Reports, Facebook, etc.).

Let’s work with a CSV file.

Go to Data.gov and download the Customer Complaint Database. Choose the CSV file. Here’s the link: http://catalog.data.gov/dataset/consumer-complaint-database

Data Gov Customer Complaint Database

Save the file where it’s convenient to access it. Let’s fire up the Power BI Desktop app. On the Home tab (ribbon), click Get Data then select CSV.

Get Data From Home Ribbon

The Load dialog displays a preview of the CSV data.

Power BI Load Data Dialog

As you can see from the dialog, aside from the Load option, you can also Edit the data. To simplify this demo, let’s delete some columns (Complaint ID, Submitted via, Company Response, Timely Response?, and Consumer Disputed). Select Choose Columns from the Home ribbon. Un-check the columns that we want to exclude from our data.

Edit Data source in Power BI Desktop

Click OK. Now, were ready to load the data. Click Close & Load from the Home ribbon. Select Close & Load.

Load Data Power BI Desktop

After the data load is finished, the Power BI Desktop brings us to the report designer. You can always go back to the data by clicking the table icon Power BI Desktop Show Data Icon on the left-hand panel.

On the next post, we’ll create our first report.

by Marlon Ribunal

Getting Started With Power BI Desktop: Installation

Power BI is becoming popular for a lot of reasons. Simply put, Power BI is “BI on your fingertips.” Companies looking to adopt BI technology need not look further. Power BI is easy to learn with its intuitive tools. Gone are the days when building BI solutions always involve massive resources.

Power BI […] Continue Reading…