Power BI Custom Visuals Class (Module 05 – KPI Indicator)

Power BI Module 05 - KPI Indicator

In this module you will learn how to use the KPI Indicator (This is kind of like saying “ATM Machine” isn’t it?), a Power BI Custom Visual. Power BI comes standard with a KPI visual but the custom visual we will cover in this post shows a few more options than is available in the standard tool. Using the KPI Indicator allows you to not only visualize key performance indicators but also include a historical trend line or bar chart with it.

Module 05 – KPI Indicator

Downloads

Key Takeaways

  • The KPI Indicator allows for comparison of actual and target values.
  • The deviation between these two values is shown as a percentage.
  • You can optionally choose if you would like to visualize a historical trend line or bar chart

image

The chart type can easily be change between line and bar chart.

  • Under the Format paintbrush you only one property section that is unique to the KPI Indicator. The others come standard with every visual.
  • In the KPI properties you can do the following:
    • Change the name that appears on the KPI Indicator
    • The Banding percentage allows you to adjust the threshold of when something is set as red, yellow or green.  If the Banding comparison property is set to “Relative” this value should be entered as a percentage number (of the target). If the Banding comparison property is set to “Absolute” this value should be entered as a non-percentage number (that will be added/subtracted from the target instead).
    • Change the Banding type property to one of the following:
      • Increasing is better –  Increasing is best when you’re measuring things like sales or profit. If you go over your profit target that’s a good thing!
      • Decreasing is better – Decreasing is probably best when you’re looking at something like budgeting. Staying under budget is usually a good thing. Unless you being too far under budget means you won’t get that money again next year which leads to the last option
      • Closer is better – This is for when you need your data to land in the middle of a bell curve.  Meaning if you go too high or too low that’s a bad thing. This is often useful when looking at medical data.  For example, if your blood pressure is too high then that’s a bad thing, but if you’re blood pressure is too low that’s also a bad thing too. You need to land in the middle somewhere, which is what this option allows.
    • The Banding comparison can either be “Relative” or “Absolute”. If this property is set to “Relative” the banding percentage is calculated as a percentage of the target. If this property is set to “Absolute” the banding percentage is calculated as a subtraction to/from the target.
    • The Chart type property decides whether the trend indication should be a line chart or a bar chart.
    • The Deviation as % is On by default. This means that the Actual value compared to the Target value will be presented as a percentage deviation. The deviation is presented to the right of the actual value. If this property is switched off the deviation will not be treated as percentage. It is typically useful when Banding comparison is set to “Absolute” and the actual value is not measured in %.
    • The Thousand separator property can be used to force the formatting of the actual value to be formatted with thousands separators. This is typically useful when working with larger non-percentage measures.

image

Many of the property descriptions above were obtained from Fredrik Hedenstörm, the designer of the visual.

  • In addition to these properties you have a set of settings that appears on every visual to adjust the background color, add a border around the visual and lock the aspect ratio.

Find Out More

You will always be able to find this video module and advanced viewing of future modules on the Pragmatic Works On Demand Training platform.  Click here to learn more about this training platform that includes 20+ courses.

Power BI Custom Visuals Class (Module 04 – Radar Chart)

Power BI Module 04 - Radar Chart

In this module you will learn how to use the Radar Chart, a Power BI Custom Visual. The Radar Chart is sometimes is also know to some as a web chart, spider chart, or star chart.  Using the Radar Chart allows you to display multiple categories of data on each spoke (like spokes on a bicycle wheel) of the chart. The Radar Chart does support the display of multiple metrics, which allows you to compare and contrast the “pull” that each category has on your metrics.

Module 04 – Radar Chart

Downloads

Key Takeaways

  • The Radar Chart displays one or more metrics to see how each performed against different categories.
  • When more than one metric is used a transparent overlay is used so all metrics can be viewed without any problems.

image

Overlaying metrics can be viewed without issue.

  • Under the Format paintbrush you have options to adjust the data labels, data colors and legend properties.
  • In the Data label properties you can do the following:
    • Turn on the data labels
    • Increase the text size of labels
    • Change the color of the data label text
    • Apply formatting to the labels

image

  • In the Data colors properties you can change the color used to display each metric.

image

  • In the Legend properties you can change the following settings:
    • Position of legend
    • Add a legend title
    • Change the color of the legend text
    • Increase the size of the legend text

image

  • In addition to these properties you have a set of settings that appears on every visual to adjust the background color, add a border around the visual and lock the aspect ratio.

Find Out More

You will always be able to find this video module and advanced viewing of future modules on the Pragmatic Works On Demand Training platform.  Click here to learn more about this training platform that includes 20+ courses.

Power BI Custom Visuals Class (Module 03 – Hexbin Scatterplot)

Power BI Module 03

In this module you will learn how to use the Hexbin Scatterplot Power BI Custom Visual.  The Hexbin Scatterplot is a variation of the traditional Scatter Chart but instead of using bubble size it relies on color saturation and hexbins to show value distribution.  You should consider using this chart when you’re more interested in visualizing density instead of individuals points themselves.

Module 03 – Hexbin Scatterplot

Downloads

Key Takeaways

  • The Hexbin Scatterplot relies on color saturation to portray data rather than bubble size.
  • The darker the hexbin, the larger the value distribution.

image

The darker colored hexbins represent larger data values than the lighter colored bins.

  • Under the Format paintbrush you can optionally increase/decrease the size radius of the hexbins.
  • You can also change what is displayed in the chart by turning off the Dots, Hexbins, or the Rug representation

image

The Hexbin Scatterplot has several format changes that can be customized.

  • Dots – These are a single points representing the categorical data placed in the Details field property.

image

  • Hexbins – Hexbins are great when you’re looking shows density instead of individuals values. The color saturation is determined by frequency of values or the field placed in the Value field property.

image

  • Rug – Rug plots refer to the indicators in the margin that show on both vertical and horizontal axis where data points lie.

image

Find Out More

You will always be able to find this video module and advanced viewing of future modules on the Pragmatic Works On Demand Training platform.  Click here to learn more about this training platform that includes 20+ courses.

Power BI Custom Visuals Class (Module 02 – Enlighten Aquarium)

Power BI Module 02

In this module you will learn how to use the Enlighten Aquarium Power BI Custom Visual.  While it might not be the most practical visualization it does provide a fun way to show categorical data and can have multiple series shown as well.

Module 02 – Enlighten Aquarium

Downloads

Key Takeaways

  • The Fish field setting is where you will place the categorical data you would like to visualize. Each unique value here creates a new fish in the aquarium
  • The Fish Size setting allows you to place one or more metrics that you would like to analyze on each fish.

image

image

When you place more than one metric in the Fish Size property it creates a second series of fish on the aquarium that have a different shape

  • Each custom visual has additional formatting that can be found by selecting the Format paintbrush.

image

The Enlighten Aquarium has minimal format settings that can be adjusted.

Find Out More

You will always be able to find this video module and advanced viewing of future modules on the Pragmatic Works On Demand Training platform.  Click here to learn more about this training platform that includes 20+ courses.

Power BI Custom Visuals Class (Module 01 – Custom Visuals Introduction)

Power BI Module 01

Welcome to an exciting new FREE class that I am launching today!  Over the next year (that’s right year!) I will be releasing one module a week detailing how to work with all of the Power BI visuals available in the Custom Visuals Gallery.  You might ask why am I doing this?  Well The Microsoft Power BI team and the Power BI Community, through the Custom Visuals Gallery, have expanded the data visualization capabilities of Power BI drastically but unfortunately has provided little and in some cases no direction on how to use these the new features.  These Custom Visuals are designed by Microsoft on occasion but more often then not the Power BI Community has put in a lot of hard work to provide these great new features for everyone to use.  My thought is if the Power BI Community is willing to design and publish these without asking individuals for payment then I would love to provide training on these features to you for free as well.

I hope you enjoy this journey with me!  Let’s start with an introduction to Power BI Custom Visuals.

Module 01 – Custom Visuals Introduction

Key Takeaways

  • Power BI Custom Visuals allow you to extend the capabilities beyond the native visualizations provided to you in the Power BI Desktop.

image

This is the default visualizations pane you are provided in the Power BI Desktop application.  With the ability to add Custom Visuals you increase this by almost 50 additional visualization types you can use.

  • You can find Custom Visuals by going to the link http://app.powerbi.com/visuals/
  • Custom Visuals are easy to download and then import into the Power BI Desktop

image

Import Custom Visuals by clicking the ellipsis in the Visualization Pane.

  • Power BI Custom Visuals are developed by both Microsoft and the Power BI Community so you will see a warning appear that covers Microsoft legally because you’re importing code that may be designed by someone else.

You will always be able to find this video module and advanced viewing of future modules on the Pragmatic Works On Demand Training platform.  Click here to learn more about this training platform that includes 20+ courses.

Power BI Takeover–Webinar Recording and Q&A

Last week I did a little experimental webinar that was outside our (Pragmatic Works) norm.  Instead of our traditional 1 hour session I delivered a 3 hour workshop that took you through the end to end process of developing Power BI solutions.  The idea being to give you a taste of what my training classes are like.  If you’d like to watch the recording of the event it’s available free here. http://pragmaticworks.com/Training/Details/Power-BI-Takeover

I thought I’d also share a a few stats about the event last week too.

  • 39% that attended said they were completely new to Power BI
  • The average time spent in the class was 163 minutes.
  • With 950+ in attendance at some point during the 3 hour class.
  • There were 126 question logged during the session

With so many questions that were logged I thought it would be helpful to answer some of the most common questions via my blog. So let’s get started!

Q: Is there any R or Python integration?  How about other developer API?

Yes!  There is R integration built into Power BI.  You will find it in the Visualizations pane.  There is also a developer API available.  Here’s some documentation on the Power BI REST API https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn877544.aspx

Q: If you only want to share certain visualizations to a user without sharing the full report, would pinning just the one visualization live to the dashboard serve that purpose?

A report visualization that is pinned from a report defaults to launching the full report but one little trick you could try is changing that default behavior by clicking the ellipsis on the pinned item and then edit it to launch a custom link instead. 

image

Q: For combine binaries option; in order to combine data from 2 files, do both files need to have same metadata?

It’s not mandatory that they have the same metadata but it definitely make it easier to combine them together.  If the metadata is different between these files then it combines the data from the files into a single column and then you must parse the column into the columns you need.

Q: Do we have connectors that connect to social media sites – Facebook, twitter, etc..?

Yes!  There is a native Facebook connector built in and you can also pull in twitter data through a couple other methods.   My favorite is with Stream Analytics. Read about it here.

Q: Is it possible to join more than 1 table in the MERGE window as the demo shows only option to select 2 tables?

No not at the same time. You can of course go back and merge another table after you do the first 2.

Q: what is the difference between the Query editor and Data Modeler? What can and can’t do in each case ?

To summarize the Query Editor is mainly for Data Extraction actions.  So providing source information, applying rules to the incoming data, etc… The Data Modeling areas are focused on creating relationships between tables you’ve important and creating calculations you might need in your report.  This of this as the last step to prepare you data for reports.

Q: Is the data model in a proprietary format?  If data were loaded to data model could they be accessed later for loading data somewhere else?

Yes it is in a proprietary format but you can access the data through multiple tools later. Outside of Power BI you can also access the data in the model using Excel once it’s been deployed to PowerBI.com using the Analyze in Excel feature.

Q: Most tables don’t have a month number column. How would you correctly sort month if you did not have that month number field?

I would create a month number column in this case.  You can do this by creating a new calculated column with the following formula = MONTH([YourDateColumn])

Q: Is xvelocity the same as what was called vertipak in excel?

Yes, these are the same.  Just a name change occurred a number of years ago.

Q: How can I deploy my work in PowerBI in on premise SharePoint 2013?

Nothing that I demoed in this workshop can be deployed to SharePoint on premises but the Power BI related components of Excel can be.

Q: Is Q and A available on the PowerBI desktop, too?

No, you must deploy to PowerBI.com before you can utilize Q&A. You can however enhance how Q&A works by adding synonyms in the Power BI Desktop.

I hope you enjoyed the free workshop and look forward to doing another one in the future!

The Next Generation of Training

Over the last five years, training and education have seen drastic changes in how course material is delivered. The reason is because many students simply cannot attend a training class that has a set start and end time and/or eats up twenty to thirty hours of their week. The reality for many of us is that work comes first, and it is impossible to be completely disconnected from our regular nine to five job to attend a training class.

With technology training, this is even more prevalent because of how frequently the technology itself changes. Being able to keep up has never been more difficult. So what do you do? Do you send your team to training over and over again and hope that work emergencies don’t constantly pull them away from an instructor led class?

The answer is self-paced training. That means attending training when it suits you and not when a company schedules it. It means being able to learn anywhere, including on tablets and phones, not just from a classroom.

The market for self-paced training is growing. There are many companies already providing this type of training and some are even available for free. So how do you know which to pick? How do I know that the company I choose will have what I need and keep their training updated? What if I really need to talk to someone with questions I have about the class or how I’m going to implement this in my organization?

Bottom line, do your research. You have to find the company and courses that work best with your needs and schedule. Often times, companies tout the number of courses they have but you will find out rather quickly that their classes leave you begging for more. These classes provide you nothing more than a cursory overview, something Pragmatic Works offers in our Free Training webinars, rather than the deep dive you really need.

For some people, on-demand training will never be the right fit. Some people learn best when they have a live instructor to talk to. If that is the case, there are several alternatives for you to consider. First, you can attend an in-person workshop. These courses are taught all around the world and often allow you to have a personal interaction with the instructor. Next, if you still like the idea of digital training but would just like a little help, then consider virtual training. Rather than leaving you on your own, virtual courses can provide guidance in the form of a virtual mentor. These classes give you the ability to learn from the comfort of your own office or home while still giving you the instructor interaction.

Here are a few things to remember when purchasing self-paced training:

  • Do your research. Make sure the package you select has everything you need and gives you the time needed to absorb the content.
  • Remember the benefits! You can learn when, where and how you want.
  • Self-paced training may not be right for you. There are plenty of great instructor-taught training courses out there.

Do you prefer in-person, virtual, or self-paced training? Let us know which you prefer and why in the comments below.

On-Demand Training

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 56 other followers