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Revelations about Power BI - hiding preview and left-click drill-through
When we find new features which we didn't know about, we try to share them! Did you know that you can turn preview off when getting data? Or that you could left-click to drill-through? We didn't!

Posted by Andy Brown on 10 January 2020

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A Couple of Revelations about Power BI

Here at Wise Owl we like to think we're infallible, but the sad truth is that delegates consistently point out things which we didn't know about software.  Here are a couple of recent light-bulb moments we've had (well, Sam and Shaun have had) about Power BI.

Thanks to Tim Reilly of Derby and Burton Hospitals and Lee Nuttall of AXA for providing the impetus for this blog.

Stopping Power BI viewing data when loading it

When you're getting data, you see a preview of it on screen:

Preview of data to load

Tick a table, and you'll see a preview of its data.

This can waste time if you're accessing a SQL Server view (for example) which runs slowly, so why not turn previewing off?

Disabling preview

Click on the circled arrow and untick the Enabled data previews option to speed up your work!

News to you?  Us too!

Left-clicking to drill through

Drill-through is a good feature, but it has one big disadvantage:

Drill-through by region

The problem: how to get your users to realise that they can right-click to drill through to show figures for a selected row, slice, column or bar?

One answer to this problem is to let them left-click instead!

Disclosure time: none of us at Wise Owl had any idea that you could do this!

To do this, turn drill-through on:

Turning drill-through on

Click on this icon to turn drill-through on.

Now when you LEFT-click on a region, you can drill through to show its data by town:

Left-click drill-through

You'll have to believe this, as it's difficult to show in a screen shot, but I left-clicked to get this diagram.

There are two big caveats to this.  The first is that when you hover over a table entry, it's not at all obvious what's going to happen:

Drill-through tooltip

This will work, but the tooltip does nothing to reassure you that this is the case!


The second more important caveat is that when you turn drill-through on, you turn any other visual interactions on the page off:

Drill-through problem

Although I've clicked on the North West region, the pie chart of sales data isn't updating to show just North-West towns. This is because I've enabled drill-down.

So two cheers only for the feature - but it's good to know it's there! 


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