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A summary of the changes for the September 2017 update to Power BI Desktop
Part two of a six-part series of blogs

The September 2017 Power BI Desktop update introduces ribbon charts, a feature to explain the increase or decrease for any chart point and a drill-through feature allowing you to temporarily switch to a summary page.

  1. What's New in Power BI Desktop - September 2017 Update
  2. Drill-through to a Summary Report Page (this blog)
  3. Ribbon Charts
  4. Automatically explaining the increase or decrease
  5. Showing Keyboard Short-Cuts
  6. Preview Features

For a cumulative list of all of the updates to Power BI Desktop since November 2016 see this blog, or have a look at the Power BI courses that we run.

Posted by Andy Brown on 12 September 2017

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Drill-through to a Summary Report Page

The only real way to understand this is by example, so I'll show what the final result could look like, and then how to create it.

How drill-through works

Suppose that you have a main report page, and two pages giving the details for a particular product family or geographical region:

Three pages

The 3 pages of your report.


What drill-through allows you to do is to right-click on any table row or chart data series, and see its corresponding family or region in all its glory:

Showing sales by family

When you right-click on a row, you can drill down either to show its family's details or it's region's details.

Because I chose to see a summary of this family's details, I might then see this separate page of the report:

Amphibian family details

Typically your separate page will contain everything that someone could want to know about the value (here, family) that you've chosen for drill-through.

When you've finished, you can click on the button at the top left to return to where you were:

The back button

The back button can actually take the form of a shape or image.


So that's what this new feature does; how to set it up?

Creating the report for a single dimension value

The first thing to do is to create a report showing charts, tables and KPIs (for example) for a particular family, region, product or whatever:

The family report

This is a report I've created to show the details for a specific family - it contains a card, a pie chart, a table and a KPI.

It's a good idea to apply a temporary filter to your report to limit it to a single dimension value (here Amphibian).  Don't forget to remove this filter when you're ready to test your report, otherwise it will still apply!

Adding a drill-through field

The next thing to do is to drag the field you want to use for drill-through onto the new Drillthrough filters section of the field well:

Drillthrough filters

Drag your filter field onto the section shown in the field well.


Using your drill-through field

That's pretty much all that you need to do.  When you're viewing any visual on any other page which shows the Family field, you can now right click and drill-through to it:

Drill through to family

Want to show a quick summary of Bird family sales? Right-click anywhere on a table row or chart series containing this item, and choose to go to the relevant report page.

Adding a back button

Most users will want an easy way to return whence they came.  When you create a drill-through report, you automatically get a back button:

Back button

The default back button looks like this.


This has a number of formatting properties, including whether it behaves as a back button at all:

Back button properties

Set the Back button property to Off, and it won't behave as a clickable button. It's more likely that you'll want to add shading and borders, though.


However, you can add any shape or image to a page to which you've applied a drill-through field, and make this the back button instead:

Back button?

This image will have a Back button property, although it will default to Off initially.


So I've added my own custom back button to my original family report page:

Chiller back button

Sadly, you can't make a text box into a back button, so I had to screen capture this from another application.

Notice that when you're editing a report you have to hold down the CTRL key and click to use your back button.

All in all, a nice idea, and well implemented too.

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