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What is Power BI and How to Use It?

Data is an important part of modern businesses, and we’re rendering more of it than ever. But assembling cliffs of digital information isn’t much use unless companies can make sense of it. That’s where BI-based software comes in. 

Power BI stands out because it streamlines publication and has all the capabilities of distribution, as well as connects with other products and services provided by Microsoft. It makes it extremely easy to gather your data together for greater accessibility and visibility in your reporting efforts. But before you make use of Power BI, make sure that it currently supports more than 60 out-of-the-box connectors to load data from a variety of highly used cloud-based sources. So before you proceed further, it is important to know everything about Power BI and then start working with it. 

 Using these in-built connectors, you can load the pre-built dashboard of Power BI in seconds and execute powerful data investigation within minutes – and you can also customize elements according to your desire, or have your data experts start from scratch. 

Are you planning to implement a platform that can help you pluck actionable insight from your data? If so, then you’re in the right place. In this post, we’re going to discuss in detail Power BI and how to use it. So, without any further ado, let’s get started!

What is Power BI?

Power BI is a business intelligence tool designed by the Microsoft team to pull data together and process it. The main aim of these tools is to provide interactive visualizations and a simple interface for end-users so that they can create their own dashboards and reports according to their requirements. By doing this, users can generate and share some useful snapshots based on their business workflow. 

It turns the processed data into intelligible insights and makes it easy to process graphs and charts. Power BI collects a large amount of data from various data sources that refer to a Windows desktop app which is known as Power BI Desktop. It is built on the foundation of Microsoft Excel, and the gentle learning curve from Excel to Power BI can be achieved by anyone who knows how to use Excel. So you can easily use Power BI if you know how to use Excel.

Power BI is a package of business intelligence applications, connectors, and software services that work in a group to turn your unrelated sources of data to use through a user-friendly interface. BI tools like Power BI are widely used for a multitude of purposes leveraging the individual elements and gaining benefits of how they work together.

Despite this, we can say that you can also visualize your data and later share insights regarding the same across your organization. After visualization, it becomes easy to analyze data and provide actionable information to business owners so that they can make informed business decisions.

How to Use Power BI?

1. Install and Run Power BI Desktop

First things first, you need to install and configure Power BI Desktop. 

To do this, click on the download button on the download page. It will allow you to download Power BI for free or you can also get it from the Power BI service. 

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After redirecting to the Microsoft Store page, go to the Get tab and follow the instructions provided by Power BI on your system. First start Power BI Desktop from Windows then it will display the open welcome window. 

Now you can Get data, open other reports, select the required links, or recent sources. 

Now select the close icon and close the Welcome screen.

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At the left corner of Power BI Desktop, you’ll see three Power BI Desktop views that are Model, Report, and Data. The current view is denoted by a yellow bar and you can modify views by choosing any of the icons.

2. Connect to Data

Once you’re done with the installation process, you’re ready to connect to and enter the ever-expanding data world. To preview the data sources, select the home tab from the Power BI Desktop and choose Get Data. Click more to redirect to the Get Data window and scroll down to view all data sources. By doing this, you’ll now be connected to a variety of Web data sources in just a couple of seconds. 

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To connect to a web server source, you’re required to choose to get data from the Power BI Desktop Home tab. The query functionality of the Power BI Desktop starts working and reaches the web resource. The Navigator window returns what it discovered on the web page, you can load the table and make all the necessary changes while loading the table. 

To launch the Power Query Editor, select Transform data and press OK. The Query Setting pane will be available on the right side of the View tab.

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3. Shape Data

After connecting to a data source, you’re now allowed to modify the data to fulfill your requirements. To shape data, you deliver Power Query Editor by following all the instructions to adjust the data and represent it. 

Shaping refers to transforming the data such as modifying data types, renaming columns, changing table names, or deleting rows or columns. Power Query Editor grabs these phases consecutively beneath Applied Steps in the Query Settings tab. Whenever this query connects to the data source, all those steps are carried out to use the query in Power BI Desktop, such as in the Power BI service.

Before you proceed further, make sure that the steps applied in Query Settings might contain some actions that you don’t know. You can set each step to notice its impact in the Editor. And to do this, you’re required to specify a web source in the Navigator window and select preview the table.

Now, Power BI will analyze each numeric data while importing it and adjust it according to the actual web Text data type to Whole numbers.

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If you find any changes in your table, you need to select columns and then modify the data accordingly. Press and hold the Shift key to choose more than one adjacent column. Or you can right-click a column header and select a new data type from the menu.

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Now you can apply your changes to the data and view them in Applied Steps.

4. Combine Data

The data regarding different conditions is interesting and will be beneficial for generating more examination actions and queries. However, you may face one problem while integrating the data: almost all data use two-letter abbreviations for state codes to integrate state names with their abbreviations.

To use the state abbreviations data, import them into Power Query Editor and select New Source. 

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Your shaped table will look like this now:

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Rename the table to State codes of Query Settings.

With a single query table, you can integrate two data sources to achieve your goals and meet your business requirements that serve as a basis for interesting data connections or recreational opportunities in the states.

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So if you want to make a report using Power BI desktop, you have enough data for that and you can also just select Apply to maintain the query open in Power Query Editor when you’re working in Power BI Desktop.

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Once you’re done with data loading, you can easily make changes to Power BI Desktop. After the changes, reload the model to apply the changes. If you want to use Power Query Editor, you can directly go to the home tab and select Transform Data on the Power BI Desktop ribbon.

Related: Latest Database Management Trends You can’t Afford to Miss in 2021

5. Build Reports

After generating reports using Power BI Desktop, you can also represent your data in reports and visualizations. The three main areas it has to include:

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  • You can see all the simple and basic tasks linked in the top ribbon, which is linked with visualizations and reports.
  • The canvas area is located in the middle, where you can create visualizations and arrange them accordingly. 
  • The pages tab allows you to add or select report pages.
  • The Filters pane allows you to filter data visualizations.
  • In the Visualizations pane, you can modify, change, or add visualizations, and apply drill through.
  • You can see the available fields in your queries in the Fields pane.  

You can expand the Filters and Visualizations by specifying the arrows at the top of the panes to create cool visualizations.

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Choose any one field from the list to create a simple visualization onto the canvas and wait to see the results. 

6. Share Your Work

After successfully generating a report in Power BI Desktop, you can now share your work with others. You will find many other ways to share your work after generating reports and distributing the report from the Power BI service to publish reports. So to do that, go to the home tab of the ribbon and select Publish.

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You can now sign in to Power BI or select a destination.

When you’re done with the publishing process, you’ll see the following dialog:

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To preview your report in the Power BI service, go to your Power BI site, select My workspace > Reports.

7. Next Steps

As we all know, you can easily integrate a diagnostics port using Power BI Desktop and perform traces for various purposes. While working with the diagnostics port, when you make any changes in the model, it will not be supported and lead to corruption and data loss.

What does Power BI do?

Using Microsoft Power BI, you can run reports and surface acuities based on a company’s information and data. Here Power BI helps you to connect with a wide range of data sets, and clarify the info it’s fed for better outlines and greater understanding. The business intelligence reports and visuals processed using this data can be shared with other users also.

Additionally, Power BI allows users to track what happened in the past and also gain insights regarding the present. Additionally, you can also know what might happen in the future. It is scented with the capabilities of machine learning, meaning it can spot data patterns and use those patterns to generate informed predictions. These estimations allow users to prepare themselves for the future to achieve their goals and meet other key metrics, which is why it is aptly called business intelligence.

What are the Main Components of Power BI?

  • Google Data Studio
  • Qlik Sense
  • Amazon QuickSight
  • IBM Cognos
  • Elasticsearch
  • SAS Visual Analytics
  • Jet Reports
  • TIBCO Spotfire
  • MicroStrategy Analytics

Final Thoughts

If you are wondering why Power BI is expanding and gaining immense popularity among corporations, it is because this business intelligence tool provides more useful insights, interactive dashboards, and rich reporting that satisfy all business needs. Now is the time to utilize the tools and services available to prepare you for a successful Power BI adoption and enhance your data insights within your organization.

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