Microsoft Power BI – Getting Started

Learn how to get started with Microsoft Power BI, including downloading and installing Power BI Desktop, importing data from a variety of sources, creating measures and visuals, and publishing your reports.


If you are just getting started with Microsoft Power BI, or are simply interested in testing out its various capabilities to see whether it is a good fit for your organization, we have compiled a list of essential steps for you to get started.

Downloading Power BI

To download Power BI Desktop, follow these steps:

1. Go to the Power BI website (https://powerbi.microsoft.com/).

2. Click on the “Try Free” button in the top right corner of the page.

3. Click on the “Download” button under the Power BI Desktop section.

4. The download should start automatically. If it doesn’t, click on the “Download” button again.

5. Once the download is complete, you can install Power BI Desktop by double-clicking on the downloaded file and following the prompts in the installation wizard.

Note: Power BI Desktop is a free tool, but you will need to sign in with a Microsoft account to use it. If you don’t have a Microsoft account, you can create one for free.

Importing Your Data

There are several ways to import data into Power BI Desktop:

1. From a file: You can import data from a variety of file types, including Excel, CSV, and text files. To do this, click on the “Get Data” button in the ribbon at the top of the Power BI Desktop window, and then select the file you want to import.

2. From a database: You can also import data from a database, such as SQL Server or Oracle. To do this, click on the “Get Data” button in the ribbon, and then select “Database” from the list of data sources.

3. From the web: You can import data from a web page by clicking on the “Get Data” button in the ribbon and selecting “Web” from the list of data sources.

4. From a cloud service: Power BI Desktop can also connect to cloud services such as Azure and Google Analytics. To do this, click on the “Get Data” button in the ribbon, and then select the cloud service you want to connect to.

Once you have selected your data source, you will be prompted to enter any necessary credentials and specify the data you want to import. Power BI Desktop will then retrieve the data and display it in a preview window. You can then select the data you want to include in your report and click “Load” to import it into Power BI Desktop.

Creating Measures

In Power BI, measures are calculated values that you can use to analyze your data. Here’s how to create a measure in Power BI Desktop:

1. Open the “Report” view in Power BI Desktop.

2. Click on the “New Measure” button in the ribbon at the top of the window.

3. This will open the “New Measure” dialog box.

4. In the “Name” field, enter a name for your measure.

5. In the “Formula” field, enter a DAX formula that defines the calculation for your measure. DAX (Data Analysis Expression) is a programming language used by Power BI to create measures and other calculated values.

Here’s an example of a simple measure that calculates the average sales price for a product:

Average Sales Price = AVERAGE(Sales[Price])

To learn more about creating measures in Power BI, you can check out the Power BI documentation or take a look at some online tutorials. There are also many resources available online to help you learn DAX and create more complex measures.

Creating Visuals

To create a visual in Power BI, follow these steps:

1. Open Power BI and connect to your data by clicking on the “Get Data” button.

2. Once your data is loaded, you can create a visual by clicking and dragging a field from the “Fields” pane onto the canvas.

3. Power BI will automatically create a visual based on the data you selected. You can choose from different visual types by clicking on the visual and selecting a different type from the “Visualizations” pane.

4. You can customize the visual by selecting it and using the options in the “Format” pane to change things like the title, axis labels, and legend.

5. You can also filter the data displayed in the visual by clicking on the “Filters” pane and selecting the filters you want to apply.

You can create multiple visuals on a single Power BI report by repeating these steps for each visual you want to create.

Formatting Values

You can format values in Power BI in several ways:

1. To change the number formatting of a field, such as the number of decimal places or the use of a thousands separator, select the field in the “Fields” pane and then click the “Format” button. In the “Format” pane, you can choose from different formatting options for your field.

2. To change the font or color of text, select the text element you want to format, such as the title or axis labels, and then use the options in the “Format” pane to change the font and color.

3. To apply conditional formatting to a field, such as highlighting values above or below a certain threshold, select the field and then click the “Conditional formatting” button in the “Format” pane. You can then choose the type of conditional formatting you want to apply and specify the conditions under which the formatting will be applied.

4. To create custom formatting for a field, you can use DAX (Data Analysis Expression) formulas. For example, you could use a DAX formula to display a currency symbol or to change the formatting of a date field. To create a custom formatting expression, click the “Advanced options” button in the “Format” pane and then enter your DAX formula in the “Formatting” box.

Applying Filters

To apply filters in Power BI, follow these steps:

1. Select the visual that you want to filter.

2. In the “Filters” pane, select the field that you want to use as a filter.

3. Select the filter type that you want to use. There are several types of filters available, including:

  • Value filters: Filter based on specific values or ranges of values in a field.
  • Top N filters: Filter to show the top or bottom N items in a field.
  • Date filters: Filter based on dates or date ranges.
  • Advanced filters: Create custom filters using logical operators and DAX expressions.

4. Specify the criteria for the filter. For example, you might specify a specific value or date range to include, or use logical operators to create a more complex filter.

5. Click the “Apply” button to apply the filter to the visual.

You can apply multiple filters to a single visual by repeating these steps for each filter you want to add. You can also apply filters to the entire report by clicking on the “Report” tab and selecting the fields you want to use as filters.

Publishing Your Report

To publish a report in Power BI, follow these steps:

1. Click the “Publish” button in the top menu.

2. If you haven’t already signed in to your Power BI account, enter your login credentials and click “Sign in”.

3. Select the workspace where you want to publish the report. If you don’t have any existing workspaces, you can create a new one by clicking the “Create new” button.

4. Click the “Select” button to choose the report you want to publish.

5. Click the “Publish” button to upload the report to the selected workspace.

5. If you want to make the report available to others, click the “Share” button and enter the email addresses of the people you want to share the report with.

Once your report is published, it will be available to view and interact with in the Power BI service. You can also share the report with others by sending them a link or embedding it in a webpage.

Using Power BI Online

To use Power BI online, you will need one of the following subscriptions:

1. Power BI Pro: This is a paid subscription that provides access to the full range of Power BI features, including the ability to publish and share reports, use the Power BI API, and collaborate with other users.

2. Power BI Premium: This is a paid subscription that provides access to additional features and resources for organizations that need to scale their Power BI deployments.

3. Power BI Free: This is a free subscription that provides access to a limited set of Power BI features, including the ability to create and share reports and dashboards with others.

You can choose the subscription that best fits your needs based on the features and resources you require. You can also try out Power BI for free by signing up for a trial of Power BI Pro or Power BI Premium.

Resources / Learnings

Here are some resources that you can use to learn more about Power BI:

1. Power BI documentation: This is the official documentation for Power BI, and it covers topics such as getting started with Power BI, creating reports and dashboards, and using Power BI with other tools and services. You can find the documentation at the following URL: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-bi/

2. Power BI YouTube channel: This is the official Power BI YouTube channel, and it features a range of video tutorials and demos on topics such as creating reports, working with data, and using advanced Power BI features. You can access the YouTube channel at the following URL: https://www.youtube.com/user/mspowerbi

3. Power BI community forum: This is an online community for Power BI users, and it includes discussion forums, user groups, and other resources for learning about and troubleshooting Power BI. You can access the community forum at the following URL: https://community.powerbi.com/

4. Power BI blog: This is the official Power BI blog, and it includes articles and updates on new Power BI features and resources. You can access the blog at the following URL: https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/

We hope these resources help you get started with Power BI. If you have additional questions feel free to contact our team for a free consultation.