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Power BI Tutorial

Power BI Tutorial: What is? Why Use?

What is BI?

Business intelligence is a technology-driven method which helps you to analyze data and to provide actionable information which helps corporate executives, business managers, and other users to make informed business decisions.

What is Power BI?

Power BI is a Business Intelligence and Data Visualization tool which helps you to convert data from various data source into interactive dashboards and BI reports. It provides multiple software connectors and services.

Different Power BI version like Desktop, Service-based (SaaS), and mobile Power Bi apps are used for different platforms.

In this Power BI tutorial, you will learn all the important concepts of Power BI and develop a foundational understanding of how to use Power BI tool.

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Why use Power BI?

Here, are the most prominent reasons for using Power BI tool:

  • Pre-built dashboards and reports for SaaS Solutions
  • Power BI allows real-time dashboard updates.
  • Offers Secure and reliable connection to your data sources in the cloud or on-premises
  • Power BI offers Quick deployment, hybrid configuration, and secure environment.
  • Allows data exploration using natural language query
  • Offers feature for dashboard visualization regularly updated with the community.

Types of Power BI tools

Some Important Power BI tools are:

Power BI Desktop

Power BI desktop is the primary authoring and publishing tool for Power BI. Developers and power users use it to create brand new models and reports from scratch.
Costs: Free

Power BI service

Online Software as a Service (SaaS) where Powe Bl data models, reports, dashboards are hosted. Administration, sharing, collaboration happens in the cloud.

Pro license: $10/users/month

Power BI Data Gateway

Power BI Data Gateway works as the bridge between the Power Bl Service and on-premise data sources like DirectQuery, Import, Live Query. It is Installed by Bl Admin.

Power BI Report Server

It can host paginated reports, KPIs, mobile reports, & Power Bl Desktop reports. It is updated every 4 months and installed/managed by the IT team. The users can modify Power Bl reports other reports created by the development team.

Power BI Mobile Apps

Power BI mobile app is available for iOS, Android, Windows. It can be managed using Microsoft Intune. You can use this tool to view reports and dashboards on the Power Bl Service Report Server.

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Data sources for the Power BI

Data sourceDescription
Excel (.xlsx, xlxm)A workbook can have data entered manually or data, which is queried and loaded from external data sources.
Comma Separated Value (.csv)Files are simple text files with rows of data. Every row can contain one or more values, which is separated by a comma.
Power BI Desktop (.pbi)You can use Power BI Desktop to query and load data from external data sources.
Databases in the CloudIt allows you to connect live to Azure SQL Database, Azure SQL Data Warehouse, etc.
Databases on-premisesYou can connect directly to SQL Server Analysis Services Relational model databases. A Power BI Enterprise Gateway is required.

Key terms used in Power BI

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Visualization -A visual display of information to achieve one or more objective. It offers a single-screen display of information. It alerts users on issues or problems Operational, Performance, Personal, etc.
Datasets – A dataset is something which you import or connect to. Datasets can be renamed, refreshed, removes, and explored.

Reports – A Power BI report is one or multiple pages of visualizations. It can be created from scratch, imported to a dashboard, and created using datasets.

Dashboard -The dashboard is a collection which contains zero or more tiles and widgets. It is used to represent a customized view of some subset of the underlying datasets.
Tile – It a single visualization found in a report or on a rectangular dashboard box which contains each visual.

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History of Power BI

  • Power BI was conceptualized by Ruler and Dhers Netz of the SQL server coverage services team at Microsoft.
  • It was designed by West Chadic George in the year 2010 and named as a Project Crescent.
  • In 2011, It was bundled with SQL Server Codenamed Mount McKinley.
  • Microsoft unveiled the first preview to Power BI in September 2014.
  • The first version of Power BI released on 24 July 2015. It was based on Excel Based Add-ins like Power Query, Pivot, view, and Map.

Architecture of Power BI

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Data Integration:

An organization needs to work with data which comes from different sources which can be in various file formats. The data should be extracted from a different source which can be from different servers or databases. This data is integrated into one standard format in a common staging area.

Data Processing:

In this stage, the integrated data is still not prepared for visualization as the data needs processing. This data is pre-processed. For example, redundant values, missing values will be removed from the data set.

The business rule should be applied to the data when the data is cleaned. You can load that data back to Data Warehouse.

Data Presentation

Once the data is loaded and processed, it can be visualized much better with use of various visualization that Power Bi has to offer. Use of dashboard and report helps one represent data more intuitively. This visual report helps business end users to take business decision based on the insights.

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Power BI Dashboard

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Power Bl Desktop is an enlargement tool used to generate dashboards and reports. Power Bl applications will be accessed by other users through desktop and mobile devices.

There are Power BI components are 5 main components released in the market.

  • Power Query: It can be used to search, access, and transform public and/ or internal data sources.
  • Power Pivot: It is used for data modeling for in-memory analytics.
  • Power View: This component allows you to visualize, analyze, and display data.
  • Power Map: It brings data to life with interactive geographical visualization.
  • Power BI Service: It allows you to share data views and workbooks, which you can refresh from on-premises and cloud-based data sources.
  • Power BI Q&A: It allows you to ask questions and get immediate answers using a natural language query.
  • Data Management Gateway: It offers periodic data refreshers, view data feeds, expose tables.
  • Data Catalog: This component allows the user to discover and reuse queries using the Data Catalog. Metadata can be facilitated for search functionality.

What is Dax Function?

DAX is a formula expression language which is called (DAX) which can be used with various visualization tools like Power BI. It is also known as a functional language, where the full code is kept inside a function. DAX programming formulas contain two data types: Numeric and Other.

Each is linked to the other by having common columns. Here is a simple diagram showing the relationships.

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There are 3 things in Power BI where you can use


  • Calculated Columns
  • Measures
  • Tables

We shall see  how all these  DAX functions works

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