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Posted by Sam Lowrie on 19 July 2021
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5 short tips in Power BI
These tips are a bit short to be ... shorts. Instead, here's a quick-fire list of some easily missed items in Power BI.
You may (or may not) know that in the Model view of Power BI you can create folders for your columns:
Storing ID columns in subfolders provides a good example of the use of folders.
Did you know that by adding a back slash and a second name, it is possible to create subfolders within existing folders?
This is useful when you have massive tables, or for dealing with measures tables.
2) Showing a hierarchy within a matrix
To change the name of a field for a specific visual (and only that visual) go to the field well and right click:
Instead of renaming the field for all future uses, this lets you give the field an alias just for this visual.
Why not include each level's name when doing this for a matrix?
I knew about this but didn't think of the aesthetic advantage. Thanks, Adam!
3) Apply selective interactions after turning them all off
Interactions are great, but too many at the same time can be overwhelming:
What does it all mean? Clicking on the line chart filters the donut chart, but why?
By default visuals affect one another, but there is a way to turn this off by default - just select from the menu: File -> Options -> Current File -> Query Reduction -> Disabling by default:
Now no visual affects another - you can now turn the ones you like on!
4) Sorting multiple columns in a table
You probably already know how to sort a visual:
Either click the column header (for a table/matrix) or click the (...) in the top/bottom right of a visual.
What you may have missed however is sorting by multiple columns in a table. This deals with the pesky issue of two rows returning the same value, and wondering which comes first.
Sort the primary column, then holding down the Shift key click the next column header. Repeat this action for each column you want to include in your sort order.
5) Specific visual presets (themes.powerbi.tips)
If you've ever needed corporate colours and formatting then you've probably used the built in theme formatter, which you can get to by choosing View -> Customize current theme:
You can use the built-in formatter to edit background colours, text size, colour palette and some defaults like titles.
You can combine this with templates by storing pre-formatted visuals, and it all works well. But what if I wanted new visuals to automatically look a certain way?
Not only can you create a corporate palette, but you can also format each visual down to its smallest setting.
Using the asterix * preset the general defaults for all visuals (so you can do things like turning all legends off or having centrally aligned titles).
When you have finished editing choose Download Theme and export the generated JSON file.
Then all that is left to do is View -> Theme -> Browse for themes and import your brand-new super automated theme!
Check out Wise Owl Shorts for more helpful hints!