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About this book

Deliver eye-catching and insightful business intelligence with Microsoft Power BI Desktop. This new edition has been updated to cover all the latest features of Microsoft’s continually evolving visualization product. New in this edition is help with storytelling—adapted to PCs, tablets, and smartphones—and the building of a data narrative. You will find coverage of templates and JSON style sheets, data model annotations, and the use of composite data sources. Also provided is an introduction to incorporating Python visuals and the much awaited Decomposition Tree visual.
Pro Power BI Desktop shows you how to use source data to produce stunning dashboards and compelling reports that you mold into a data narrative to seize your audience’s attention. Slice and dice the data with remarkable ease and then add metrics and KPIs to project the insights that create your competitive advantage. Convert raw data into clear, accurate, and interactive information with Microsoft’s free self-service BI tool.
This book shows you how to choose from a wide range of built-in and third-party visualization types so that your message is always enhanced. You will be able to deliver those results on PCs, tablets, and smartphones, as well as share results via the cloud. The book helps you save time by preparing the underlying data correctly without needing an IT department to prepare it for you.

What You Will LearnDeliver attention-grabbing information, turning data into insightFind new insights as you chop and tweak your data as never beforeBuild a data narrative through interactive reports with drill-through and cross-page slicingMash up data from multiple sources into a cleansed and coherent data modelBuild interdependent charts, maps, and tables to deliver visually stunning informationCreate dashboards that help in monitoring key performance indicators of your businessAdapt delivery to mobile devices such as phones and tablets
Who This Book Is For
Power users who are ready to step up to the big leagues by going beyond what Microsoft Excel by itself can offer. The book also is for line-of-business managers who are starved for actionable data needed to make decisions about their business. And the book is for BI analysts looking for an easy-to-use tool to analyze data and share results with C-suite colleagues they support.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Discovering and Loading Data with Power BI Desktop

Abstract
Before you can use Power BI Desktop to present any analysis or discover new insights, you need data. Your sources could be in many places and in many formats. Nonetheless, you need to access them, look at them, select them, and quite possibly restructure them or clean them up to some extent. You may also need to join many separate data sources before you shape the data into a coherent model that you can use as the foundation for your dashboards and reports. The amazing thing is that you can do all of this using Power BI Desktop without needing any other tools or utilities.
Adam Aspin

Chapter 2. Discovering and Loading File-Based Data with Power BI Desktop

Abstract
Sending files across networks and over the Internet or via email has become second nature to most of us. As long as the files that you have obtained conform to some of the widely recognized standards currently in use (of which you will learn more later), you should have little difficulty loading them into Power BI Desktop.
Adam Aspin

Chapter 3. Loading Data from Databases and Data Warehouses

Abstract
Much of the world’s corporate data currently resides in relational databases, data warehouses, and data warehouse appliances either on-premises or in the cloud. Power BI Desktop can connect to most of the world’s leading databases and data warehouses. Not only that, but it can also connect to many of the lesser-known or more niche data sources that are currently available. This chapter will show you how to extract data from several of these data sources to power your analytics using Power BI Desktop. Indeed, you will discover that once you have learned how to connect to one or two databases, you have learned how to use nearly all of them, thanks to the standardized interface and approach that Power BI Desktop brings to data extraction.
Adam Aspin

Chapter 4. DirectQuery and Connect Live

Abstract
The previous chapter showed you how to access data from a range of database and data warehouse sources. This process is both simple and efficient, as you saw. However, there is one stage in the process of fetching data that can take a little time, especially if you are dealing with large datasets. This is the “load” phase where the data from the source system is transferred into the Power BI Desktop in-memory model and compressed.
Adam Aspin

Chapter 5. Loading Data from the Web and the Cloud

Abstract
In this chapter we will take a look at a subset of the fast-growing and wide-ranging set of data sources available over the Internet that you can use as a source of analytical data for Power BI Desktop. While the data sources that you will see in the following pages may be extremely diverse, they all have one thing in common: they are stored outside the enterprise and are available using an Internet connection.
Adam Aspin

Chapter 6. Loading Data from Other Data Sources

Abstract
There are currently many dozens of data sources for which Power BI connectors are available. Clearly it would be impossible to explain how to use all of them. In any case, the list of available sources is growing by the month—so this would be a fruitless task. To conclude our whistle-stop tour of available source data, this chapter will introduce you to
Adam Aspin

Chapter 7. Structuring Imported Data

Abstract
In the previous six chapters, you saw some of the ways in which you can find and load (or connect to) data into the Power BI Desktop data model. Inevitably, this is the first part of any process that you follow to extract, transform, and load data. Yet it is quite definitely only a first step. Once the data is in Power BI Desktop, you need to know how to adapt it to suit your requirements in a multitude of ways. This is because not all data is ready to be used immediately. Quite often, you have to do some initial work on the data to make it more easily usable in Power BI Desktop. Tweaking source data is generally referred to as data transformation, which is the subject of this chapter as well as the next two.
Adam Aspin

Chapter 8. Data Transformation and Cleansing

Abstract
Once a dataset has been shaped and filtered (as covered in the previous chapter), it probably still needs a good few modifications to make it ready for consumption. Many of these modifications are, at their heart, a selection of fairly simple yet necessary techniques that you apply to make the data cleaner and more standardized. I have chosen to group these approaches under the heading data transformation and cleansing.
Adam Aspin

Chapter 9. Restructuring Data

Abstract
In the previous two chapters, you saw how to hone your dataset so that you defined only the rows and columns of data that you really need. Then you learned how to cleanse and complete the data that they contain. In this chapter, you will learn how to build on these foundations to deliver data that is ready to be molded into a structured and usable data model.
Adam Aspin

Chapter 10. Complex Data Loads

Abstract
Not all data loads are a matter of simply establishing a connection to the source and applying transformations to the source data that is, fortunately, already laid out in neatly structured tables. Sometimes you may want to “push the envelope” when loading data and prepare more complex source data structures for use in your Power BI dashboards. By this, I mean that the source data is not initially in a ready-to-use tabular format and that some restructuring of the data is required to prepare a table for use.
Adam Aspin

Chapter 11. Organizing, Managing, and Parameterizing Queries

Abstract
Producing a robust and efficient data query is not just about finding the appropriate load and transform functions and placing them in the correct sequence. It is also about extending, adjusting, and maintaining the process. This can be either to correct an error once the query is being tested or to adapt a query to new requirements. This chapter will introduce you to some of the techniques that you can apply to handle the various stages of the query lifecycle.
Adam Aspin

Chapter 12. The M Language

Abstract
Data ingestion and modification are not only interface driven in Power BI Desktop. In fact, the entire process is underpinned and powered by a highly specific programming language. Called “M,” this language underlies everything that you have learned to do in the last 11 chapters.
Adam Aspin

Chapter 13. Creating a Data Model

Abstract
You need only one thing to create stunning visualizations and that is good data. Specifically, you need clean and accurate data loaded into the Power BI Desktop data model. There you can hone tens of millions of rows from multiple data sources into a coherent and powerful framework on which you can build your analyses and dashboards.
Adam Aspin

Chapter 14. Table Visuals

Abstract
You are now entering the final straight on your race to deliver clear, powerful, and visually compelling analytics. The time has come to transform data into attention-grabbing dashboards that capture the imagination of your audience. In this chapter, you will start learning how to use Power BI Desktop to
Adam Aspin

Chapter 15. Matrix and Card Visuals

Abstract
This chapter takes you through the process of creating further text-based visualizations in Power BI Desktop. You will learn how to further develop the skills that you acquired in the previous chapter to create and enhance
Adam Aspin

Chapter 16. Charts in Power BI Desktop

Abstract
It is one thing to have a game-changing insight that can fundamentally alter the way your business works. It is quite another to be able to convince your colleagues of your vision. So what better way to show them—intuitively and instantaneously—that you are right than with a chart that irrefutably makes your point?
Adam Aspin

Chapter 17. Formatting Charts in Power BI Desktop

Abstract
Now that you have mastered basic charts, it is time to move on to the next step and learn how to tweak your charts to the greatest effect. The next few sections are devoted to the various techniques available in Power BI Desktop to give your charts real clarity and power. Some of these enhancements apply to all chart types, whereas others are specific to a single type of chart—or even one or two chart types.
Adam Aspin

Chapter 18. Other Types of Visuals

Abstract
While text-based visuals and charts can often make your point, there are times when you need to deliver your insights in ways that go beyond the more traditional data displays. This is where Power BI Desktop really comes to your aid. With the right data—and only a few clicks—you can revitalize your dashboards with
Adam Aspin

Chapter 19. Third-Party Visuals

Abstract
By now, you must surely have come to appreciate the sheer range of visual possibilities that Power BI Desktop has to offer. From a range of chart types to gauges, tables, and cards, it delivers a wealth of easy-to-use ways of delivering insight into your data clearly and effectively.
Adam Aspin

Chapter 20. Maps in Power BI Desktop

Abstract
Another powerful technique that you can use to both analyze and present your insights is to display the data in map form. All that this requires is that your source data contains information that can be used for geographical representation. So if you have country, state, town, postal (or ZIP) code, or even latitude and longitude in the dataset, then you can get Power BI Desktop to add a map to your report and show the selected data using the map as a background.
Adam Aspin

Chapter 21. Filtering Data

Abstract
Power BI Desktop is built from the ground up to enable you, the user, to sift through mounds of facts and figures so that you can deliver meaningful insights. Consequently, what matters is being able to delve into data and highlight the information it contains quickly and accurately. This way, you can always explore a new idea or simply follow your intuitions without needing either to apply complex processes or to struggle with an impenetrable interface. After all, Power BI Desktop is there to help you come up with new analyses that could give your business an edge on the competition.
Adam Aspin

Chapter 22. Using Slicers

Abstract
With your filters in place, you now have some extremely powerful and insightful dashboards ready to be paraded in front of your colleagues, bosses, and clients. Yet static illustrations can only tell a story in a certain way. What you need to clinch the deal or convince an audience is some truly telling interaction with your facts and figures. Once again, Power BI Desktop is the tool of choice, as it highlights the key metrics in your presentation with a single click—and makes your point, simply and elegantly.
Adam Aspin

Chapter 23. Enhancing Dashboards

Abstract
After spending a little time working with Power BI Desktop, I can assume that you have analyzed your data. In fact, I imagine that you have been able to tease out a few extremely interesting trends and telling facts from your deep dive into the figures—and you have created the tables, charts, maps, and gauges to prove your point. To finish the job, you now want to add the final tweaks to the look and feel of your work so that it will come across to your audience as polished and professional.
Adam Aspin

Chapter 24. Advanced Dashboarding Techniques

Abstract
In the final chapter of this book, I want to finish by introducing a series of techniques that you can use to add real power and depth to your dashboards. The approaches that you will discover here are specifically designed to add structure to your reports. This means that you will be able to
Adam Aspin

Appendix A. Sample Data

Abstract
If you wish to follow the examples used in this book—and I hope you will—you will need some sample data to work with. All the files referenced in this book are available for download and can easily be installed on your local PC. This appendix explains where to obtain the sample files, how to install them, and what they are used for.
Adam Aspin

Backmatter

Additional information

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