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Top 5 Tips for Power BI

10 February 2023

Top 5 Tips for Power BI

This article is brought to you by JBI Training, the UK's leading technology training provider.   Learn more about JBI's Power BI training courses including Power BI - Visualisation, Power BI - Dax Data, and Power BI - Beyond the Basics

JBI Training - Power BI Top Five Tips

Our first tip (and perhaps most important) is images

Make sure you incorporate images into your reports! Humans process images much faster than text, so creating attractive easily understandable and interesting visualisation of your data is essential!

  1. Power BI has inbuilt visuals which are great to get started with, allowing you to create visually attractive reports and dashboards, including bar charts, line charts, column charts, pie charts, donut charts, area charts, scatter charts, maps, cards, and tables. Choose the visual that best meets the needs of your report and the data you want to display.
  2. To include images from a URL, you can use the Image option in the "Visualisations" pane and then paste the image URL into the "Image URL" field.
  3. Adding Images as a Data Column: If you have image data stored in a database, you can add the image column as a field in your Power BI data model and then use the Image option in the "Visualisations" pane to display the images.
  4. Using a Power BI Custom Visual: There are several custom visuals available in the Power BI Marketplace.
  5. Embed Images in Text Boxes: If you want to include an image as part of your report narrative, you can add a text box to your report and then insert the image into the text box. To do this, right-click in the text box, select "Image", and then choose the image file you want to insert.

Second Tip: Define the purpose and keep it simple

Determine what the dashboard will be used for and who the target audience is.

  1. Dashboards should be simple and easy to understand. Avoid overloading the dashboard with too much information, and instead, focus on key metrics and KPIs that are relevant to the purpose of the dashboard.
  2. Highlight important data: As well as using images present the data with visual cues such as colour, size, and highlighting calling attention to important data and trends.
  3. Lao Tzu wrote “Too many colours blind the eye” simplify your visuals and make your key message stand out.

Third Tip: Make it interactive

Make the dashboard interactive by adding drill-through options and tooltips to allow users to explore the data in more detail.

Making your Power BI dashboard interactive can improve the user experience and allow users to explore the data in more detail. Here are the steps to add drill-through options and tooltips to your Power BI dashboard:

  1. Create a drill-through: To create a drill-through, you need to define the fields that you want to allow users to drill into. To do this, go to the "Modelling" tab, select "Drillthrough", and then select "Add drillthrough fields".
  2. Add a drill-through to a visual: Once you have created a drill-through, you can add it to a visual on your dashboard. To do this, select the visual that you want to add the drill-through to go to the "Visualizations" pane, and then select "Drillthrough".
  3. Add a tooltip: To add a tooltip to your visual, go to the "Visualisations" pane, select the visual that you want to add the tooltip to, and then select "Tooltip". In the "Tooltip" pane, you can define the data that you want to display in the tooltip.
  4. Add an interaction: To make your dashboard more interactive, you can add an interaction between visuals. To do this, go to the "Visualisations" pane, select the visual that you want to add the interaction to, and then select "Interactions". In the "Interactions" pane, you can define the interaction that you want to add, such as highlighting data points in one visual when you hover over data points in another visual.
  5. In conclusion, adding drill-through options and tooltips to your Power BI dashboard can make your dashboard more interactive and allow users to explore the data in more detail. By following the steps outlined above, you can add a drill-through, add a tooltip, and add an interaction to your dashboard.

Fourth Tip: Use real-time data, for more informed decisions

Power BI allows you to connect to real-time data sources and create reports and dashboards based on that data. Here is how to use real-time data in Power BI.

  1. Power BI allows you to connect to real-time data sources and create reports and dashboards based on that data. Here is how to use real-time data in Power BI.
  2. Connect to your data source: The first step is to connect to your real-time data source. Power BI supports a wide range of data sources, including databases, cloud services, and APIs. You can connect to your data source using the "Get Data" feature in Power BI Desktop.
  3. Import your data: Once you have connected to your data source, you can import the data into Power BI Desktop. You can either import all the data, or you can apply filters to import a subset of the data.
  4. Creating reports: Once you have imported your data, you can start creating your report in Power BI Desktop. You can use the built-in visuals and other tools to create charts, graphs, and other types of visualisations based on your data.
  5. Publish your report: When you're ready to share your report, you can publish it to the Power BI service. To do this, go to the "Home" tab in Power BI Desktop, select "Publish", and then follow the prompts to publish your report.
  6. Create a dashboard: In the Power BI service, you can create a dashboard that provides an overview of your report. You can add visualisations from your report to the dashboard, and you can also add other types of visuals, such as cards and gauges, to the dashboard.
  7. In conclusion, Power BI makes it easy to connect to real-time data sources and create reports and dashboards based on that data. By following the steps outlined above, you can connect to your data source, import your data, create your report, publish your report, and create a dashboard that provides an overview of your report.

Fifth and last tip...Make it relevant

No matter how good our data is and how pleasantly we display it! It’s meaningless unless it translates numbers into insights. Analysts are good in their roles not just being able to design reports but to display the relevant data with purpose and users in mind. The endgame - A report that tells a story which can be actioned or explored! In order to do this, we advise: 

  1. Testing and refining constantly: Regularly test and refine the dashboard to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of the users. This may involve making changes to the design, adding, or removing metrics, or modifying the visualisations. Consider what changes might need to be made based on business needs, user feedback, and changes in the data.
  2. Keep evaluating your data source. What goes in is as important as what is displayed, if your data is misleading in the first place, it really doesn’t matter what your using to display it. Stay up to date with the data: Ensure that your data is current and accurate. Schedule regular data refreshes to keep your reports up to date.
  3. Utilize Power BI features: Take advantage of Power BI features such as calculated columns, measures, and data relationships to add context and insights to your data.
  4. Collaborate with stakeholders: Collaborate with stakeholders to understand their needs and gather feedback on your reports. Incorporate this feedback into your report designs to ensure that they are meeting the needs of those who will be using them.
  5. Stay informed about Power BI updates: Power BI is constantly evolving, with new features and capabilities being added all the time. Stay informed about these updates and consider how they can be used to improve your reports.


By following these tips, you can create effective Power BI dashboards that provide valuable insights and help your organisations make data-driven decisions.

Our Power BI  courses, which cover everything from Power BI fundamentals to the most advanced learning are run remotely in  our online, on site at your premises  or in person at our training centre.

Our  courses can teach you everything from how to build a dashboard in a day to Advanced Analytics with PowerBI

The Power of… Power BI is virtually limitless, as it is a highly flexible and versatile business intelligence tool. We offer comprehensive training in Power BI with a complete range of training courses.


In this Video, Clive gives an overview of how to sort fields in Power BI... The content is taken from our Microsoft Power BI Introduction training course

In this Video we look at  creating a percentage of total by year using DAX - part of our  Microsoft Power BI Beyond the Basics training course

Which Power BI course is right for you?

Our Power BI introduction training course is for students new to Power B I. It teaches your staff how to 

  1. Use Power BI complex dashboards and reports which have been prepared by other analysts
  2. Create simple data visualisations from scratch.
  3. Get to grips with Power BI basics in order to go on to attend our Power BI Advanced course 
  4. Provide low/no code solutions for your teams

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Connect to a range of data sources using Power BI
  2. Prepare and transform your data, creating dashboards and reports.
  3. Create data visualisations like KPIs and charts.
  4. Publish reports that you have crated via the web or PDF.

This course gives you a high-level overview of Power BI and introduces basic best practices and its drag and drop functionality.

Our advanced training course is for people who are already Power BI users and want to develop their skills further.

It is designed for people who will be creating complex dashboards and reports from scratch.

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Customise a report.
  2. Use the query editor to interrogate the data in a data model, data relationships and hierarchies.
  3. Build interactive reports like drill-through reports and relative date reports.
  4. Creating a wide variety of compelling visualizations including maps, bullet and scatter charts.
  5. Set security and data permissions, and control when your data is updated.

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About the author: Clive Els
Clive is a SQL and Power BI champion. He holds a BSc in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Bristol, is a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) and a Certified Netware Engineer (CNE). He enjoys passing on his knowledge and skills and teaches 4-8 weeks of each year for Learning Tree International both in London and abroad.

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