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How to Get Started with Power BI: A Comprehensive Guide

14 April 2023

A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Started with 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

Step 1: Understanding Power BI

Before diving into Power BI, it's essential to understand what it is and how it works. Power BI is a business analytics service that provides interactive visualizations and business intelligence capabilities with an interface simple enough for end-users to create their reports and dashboards. With Power BI, you can connect to a variety of data sources, transform data, and visualize data through different types of charts, graphs, and tables.

Step 2: Download and Install Power BI Desktop

To get started with Power BI, you'll first need to download and install Power BI Desktop, which is a Windows application that you can use to create reports and dashboards. You can download the latest version of Power BI Desktop from the official website. Here are the links you may find useful. 

Power BI website: https://powerbi.microsoft.com/

Power BI Desktop download page: https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/desktop/

Microsoft Store page for Power BI Desktop: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/power-bi-desktop/9ntxr16hnw1t?activetab=pivot:overviewtab

Power BI service: https://app.powerbi.com/

Power BI mobile app download page: https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/mobile/

 

Step 3: Connect to Data Sources

After installing Power BI Desktop, you can start connecting to your data sources. Power BI supports a wide range of data sources, including Excel spreadsheets, SQL Server databases, and cloud-based sources like Azure SQL Database, Azure Data Lake Storage, and more.

To connect to a data source, click on the "Get Data" button on the Home tab. From there, you can select the type of data source you want to connect to and follow the prompts to connect to your data.

Step 4: Transform and Cleanse Data

Once you've connected to your data sources, you may need to transform and cleanse the data to make it suitable for visualization. Power BI provides a range of data transformation options that you can use to clean, reshape, and combine your data.

To transform your data, select the data table or query, then click on the "Transform Data" button on the Home tab. This will open the Power Query Editor, which allows you to transform and cleanse your data using a visual interface.

Step 5: Create Visualizations

After you've connected to your data sources and transformed the data, you can start creating visualizations. Power BI provides a wide range of visualization options, including charts, graphs, tables, and maps.

To create a visualization, select the data table or query that you want to visualize, then drag and drop the fields onto the visualization pane. You can then customize the visualization by changing the chart type, color scheme, and other options.

Step 6: Create a Dashboard

Once you've created your visualizations, you can combine them into a dashboard. Dashboards provide a single view of your data and allow you to see trends and insights at a glance.

To create a dashboard, click on the "New Dashboard" button on the Home tab. You can then add visualizations to the dashboard by clicking on the "Add Tile" button and selecting the visualization you want to add.

Step 7: Share Your Reports and Dashboards

After you've created your reports and dashboards, you can share them with others in your organization. Power BI provides a range of sharing options, including publishing to the web, sharing with specific users or groups, and embedding in other applications.

To share your reports and dashboards, click on the "Share" button on the Home tab. From there, you can select the sharing option that best suits your needs.

Step 8: Make Sure Your Have The Latest Updates From Microsoft

April 2023 Update (2.116.404.0)

This April Microsoft introduced new features and capabilities to  Power BI 

Updates to Power BI Desktop and the Power BI service. Can be found below. 

The following updates are new to the Power BI service this month:

For detailed information about each new feature, see Power BI feature summary blog post.

You can also watch the entire Power BI monthly update video.

 

Step 9: Further Training with JBI Training

While this guide has provided you with the basics of getting started with Power BI, there's always more to learn. If you're interested in further training, 

JBI Training is a great resource for learning more about Power BI. They offer a range of courses that cover everything from Power BI basics to advanced techniques for data modeling and DAX formulas. Their courses are designed for both beginners and advanced users and are led by experienced instructors who can help you get the most out of Power BI. 

JBI Training website: https://www.jbinternational.co.uk/courses/powerbi

Some of the courses offered by JBI Training include:

JBI Training offers both online and in-person training options, so you can choose the format that works best for you. Their courses are also highly customizable, so you can tailor the training to your specific needs and goals.

Step 9: Official Documentation

Finally, to get the most out of Power BI, it's important to take advantage of the official documentation provided by Microsoft. The Power BI documentation covers everything from getting started with Power BI to advanced topics like data modeling and security.

The Power BI documentation is available online and is updated frequently to reflect the latest features and capabilities of Power BI. It's a great resource for troubleshooting issues, learning new techniques, and staying up-to-date on the latest trends in business intelligence.

To access the Power BI documentation, simply visit the Power BI website and click on the "Documentation" link in the header. From there, you can browse the documentation by topic or search for specific keywords. Power BI documentation: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-bi/

Conclusion

Power BI is a powerful tool for visualizing and analyzing data, and getting started with Power BI is easier than you might think. By following these steps, you can connect to your data sources, transform and cleanse your data, create visualizations, and share your reports and dashboards with others.

If you're interested in learning more about Power BI, JBI Training is a great resource for further training. And don't forget to take advantage of the official Power BI documentation, which provides a wealth of information on everything from getting started to advanced topics.

By mastering Power BI, you'll be able to unlock new insights and make better decisions based on your data. So what are you waiting for? Start exploring Power BI today!

Here are the links again.

  1. Power BI website: https://powerbi.microsoft.com/

  2. Power BI Desktop download page: https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/desktop/

  3. Microsoft Store page for Power BI Desktop: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/power-bi-desktop/9ntxr16hnw1t?activetab=pivot:overviewtab

  4. Power BI service: https://app.powerbi.com/

  5. Power BI mobile app download page: https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/mobile/

  6. JBI Training website: https://jbinternational.co.uk/courses/powerbi

  7. Power BI documentation: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-bi/

About the author: Daniel West
Tech Blogger & Researcher for JBI Training

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