What is a Power BI Dashboard?
One of the unique features of the Power BI service is the ability to create dashboards. Power BI dashboards are single pages that show visualisations of a business’ data and metrics, where they can be customised to suit individual requirements. Dashboards are excellent ways of tracking your business data and seeing how your business is progressing, given that you can create dashboards in Power BI to show the most essential metrics on one single page.
Power BI dashboard visualisations are known as tiles, and users can assign tiles to dashboards from reports. Dashboards, however, are a feature of the Power BI service only, not the Desktop app. This is how they differ from Power BI reports.
Using the main Microsoft Power BI elements, users can build reports in Power BI Desktop, then subsequently publish them to the service. If you have a subscription to a SaaS (Software as a Service) application, then you can create reports in Power BI service directly thanks to the built-in apps where reports can be created from your online data.
Power BI is a superb business intelligence tool in its own right, in that you can control how your work is shared. Not only that, but dashboards can be interactive for users of other Power BI elements (such as the Power BI mobile apps). After creating interactive dashboards, these can be shared so end users on mobile devices can view, and interact with them.
Why Create a Dashboard?
You may have various detailed reports from different business areas. You may also want to combine high level summaries from each of this reports in one central space, allowing people to have an overview of major business metrics. This is precisely what a dashboard can do. A dashboard is a collection of individual visuals from one or multiple reports.
Power BI Report & Dashboard Differences
Dashboards are one placeholder to display the key performance indicators, values and metrics that help people make important decisions, while reports contain more detailed data displayed in the forms of charts, graphs, tables and so on.
Power BI reports can seem very similar to dashboards based on their similar appearance, in that they are both pages filled with tiles. While they may look visually comparable, there are some very clear differences between Power BI dashboards and reports. Some key differences are outlined below.
- Datasets – reports are based on one dataset (per report), while dashboards contain tiles from one or more reports or datasets.
- Pages – dashboards in Power BI only fill up one page, while reports can span one or more pages.
- Filtering – dashboards, while interactive for end users, do not have the capabilities for filtering or slicing. There are several ways to highlight, filter and slice data in a Power BI report.
- Alerts – dashboards allow you to set alerts for emails, while reports do not have this option.
- Natural language queries – these are available in both Power BI dashboards and reports, the only prerequisite for reports is that you must have edit permissions for the report, as well as the underlying dataset.
- Available in Power BI Desktop – dashboards cannot be viewed in the desktop application, only the Power BI service, unlike reports which can be built and viewed in Power BI Desktop.
Creating Dashboards from Reports
As far as creating Power BI dashboards from existing reports go, it’s a relatively straightforward process.
- Publish a report to Power BI service.
- Open the report – under the “Reports” tab, you can choose the report to open, with each page on the report being separated in different tabs. To create a Power BI dashboard, select a visual you want to add and click on the pin icon above the visual. You will have a choice of adding the visual to an existing dashboard or create a new one.
Please note that you can only create a dashboard in Power BI if you have a Pro licence.
Need Data Visualisation Help?
XL Intelligence specialise in creating interactive dashboards using Power BI. Power BI is arguably the industry-leader in terms of business intelligence solutions, where data visualisation, analysis and modelling are all vital elements. For our clients, they have truly seen how their decision-making processes can be made easier using Power BI consulting services, or by attending one of our many Power BI training courses.
Learning how to use Power BI for your business might be one of the most important investments you make, as you cannot afford to be ill-informed about how your business is progressing. We are expert Power BI consultants who work with you to ensure your data is being displayed in the correct way, and provide you with continued guided support.
We offer Power BI training too, offering specific data visualisation courses as well as modules on data modelling, DAX and much more. We can usually customise some courses to suit your specific requirements too.
Be it consultancy, training or any questions about our services, contact us today and we can have a conversation about how we can help make Power BI work for you.