Simple CSV to Interactive Dashboard – Power BI Desktop walk-through

In the earlier article, we saw how Power BI Desktop can help us create complex, interactive and useful reports from various sources of data.

Here is a detailed walk-through of how exactly to use this tool. In this video we will use the simplest possible scenario: Start with a simple CSV file, create a report, publish it on Power BI site and share it with a colleague. We will also see the Power BI mobile app in action.

Download this sample CSV file (ZIP) if you want to follow along. 12 min video. Watch it in full screen mode at highest resolution.

 

Photo credit: kevin dooley via Foter.com / CC BY

Instant benefit: Try Distinct Count wherever you are using Count

SUM and COUNT are the most common methods of summarizing data. It is easily done in Pivot Table or any other analytical tool. What is equally important is DISTINCT COUNT. But it is not commonly used. Why not? Firstly, due to lack of awareness and secondly, due to lack of that feature in Pivot Table. Let us solve both problems in the next 10 minutes.

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What did I learn today: Pivot Table Transpose

Consider a pivot table which has many fields in row as well as column area. Now, for whatever reason, you have to transpose the pivot table. Whatever is in the rows has to go into columns and vice versa. We cannot use Paste Special Transpose with Pivots.

The only choice seems to be manually dragging and dropping fields across row and column areas. Not only is this cumbersome, but it can also lead to mistakes. Don’t worry. I just found a smarter way.

Add a Pivot Chart. Never mind which type. Choose Pie because it takes least amount of effort graphically and it happily ignores child series of data. Now click inside the chart. Choose Design tab and click Switch Rows / Column. It instantly transposes the row and column fields. Delete the chart. Job done.

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This works with Power Pivots as well. For large pivot tables, you may get the maximum series limit reached error for charts. Ignore that error and continue – because in this case, the chart is just a temporary means of achieving transpose operation.

Don’t just make charts the way boss wants. Use Recommended Charts

There are two types of charts. First type is a chart which you create to interpret data more effectively. The second type is more common. These charts are created billions of times everyday – why? Because boss wants it that way!

In this article, I am going to attempt to change the mindset of all users of Charts. Please spend 5 minutes of your time reading this article and trying out a new thought process. I am confident that it will add value to your life.

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Photo credit: Elsie esq. / Foter / CC BY and salendron / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

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