Three Reasons Why You’ll Love Power BI Desktop
If you analyse data in Excel then you’ll love Power BI Desktop. In this blog, our expert trainer Serena explains three reasons why it's so popular.
Hi, we are Happy
We are leading a movement to create happy, empowered and productive workplaces.
How can we help you and your people to find joy in at least 80% of your work?
Microsoft introduced Self-Service Business Intelligence (BI) back in 2009 with Power Pivot for Microsoft Excel 2010. At that time, Microsoft did not make any big announcements, and everything started slowly. Some enthusiastic users adopted the new technology, but the vast majority of Excel users either ignored it, or were frustrated at being unable to use it because the version of Microsoft Office installed at their company did not include the add-ins.
For several years, Microsoft collected the feedback of users, carefully considered what was missing in the world of end-user BI, and then crafted the version of Power BI that’s available to us today.
Power BI Desktop is an evolution of the add-ins available in Excel: Power Pivot, Power Query, and Power View. Instead of using three different add-ins all launched separately from inside Excel, there is now one integrated tool.
Power BI Desktop is a free stand alone report designer and it is really easy to use. The interface is intuitive, which means the learning curve is very short, even for those with little knowledge of how to analyse data.
Here are three reasons why I love Power BI Desktop.
1) It’s easy to connect to multiple files and ‘merge’ data
Loading data from different sources is simple. As well as the typical Excel and csv files, you can connect to 70+ different types of sources such as Google Analytics, Sales Force, Azure. Anything you want to do is largely a matter of drag and drop, or checking boxes.
Here’s one of my favourite time saving tricks: All four csv files in this folder can be quickly merged into one table in one go.
No need for to open the files and copy/paste. No need for code. It takes just a few simple clicks in Power BI to combine the files and start to analyse the data. The combined table from these four csv files has over 11 million rows – which is 10x more than an Excel worksheet can hold!
And with just a few more clicks I can create an interactive map and chart from this combined data:
2) It’s easy to prepare data
Not only can I connect to large data sets, I can save time on the repetitive ‘cleaning’ and ‘transposing’ tasks that I need to do, in order to be change the data so that it is in a format I can work with. I can take data that looks like this (which may look pretty, but is definitely unworkable for what I need):
And turn it into a format that better suits analysis. This involves filling in gaps, unmerging and unpivoting data. This can be achieved in just a few clicks with no need for macros or complicated formulas:
Now that I have the correct format, it takes just a couple more clicks to create an interactive report. Here I can click on a region in the table and the line chart immediately updates to show me the pattern of the sales:
And all this – from receiving the data to creating the report – in under 5 minutes!
3) It’s easy to ask questions about your data
With Power BI, you have the ability to carry out analysis of your data by asking it questions, in plain English — no special code or syntax is required. This feature is called natural language queries, and with it, you can ask Power BI to perform tasks in much the same way you would ask one of your colleagues.
For example, double click in an empty part of the canvas (the report) and the ‘ask a question’ box appears. Type what you are interested, for example “Sales for ma… ”
As you type, Power BI presents you with meaningful queries. Complete your question and a chart or table will be displayed that best shows the data:
Of course, to get more complex analysis you can create formulas and make the most of the powerful DAX language – but this way of just typing what you want is a great way to get started.
- What is Power BI and Why Should You Use it? - Serena tells us more about Power BI and the why it such a popular way of analysing data in Excel.
- How to Create a Pivot Table in Excel - Nicky will show you how to create a basic Pivot Table and display your data as percentages.
- More Pivot Perfection - Learn how to get your Pivot Table to put your filtered data on different sheets.
Why not sign up to our newsletter?
Sign up to our monthly newsletter, full of tips, tricks and news to help you to be happier and more productive at work.
Serena is an experienced IT trainer with a background as a business analyst. She has 20+ years’ experience of managing training projects, writing training materials and delivering customised workshops. A Microsoft certified and TPMA qualified trainer, Serena provides training to an advanced level for both private and public sector clients, specialising in data analysis. She has a relaxed, approachable style and makes even the most advanced topics easy to follow.
Testimonials from happy Customers
Ruby Alden-Gibson1 day ago
Really enjoyed the course. It was informative and I learnt loads!
Trusted Customer2 days ago
Very good, the process was easy and communication good. Mostly spoke to Laura so it would be good if all her emails had come from her name email address.
Trusted Customer2 days ago
Fully satisfied with the service and location of the training.
Trusted Customer5 days ago
Trent Grassian6 days ago
An incredible training, which was so engaging and informative. Really got a lot out of it and would highly recommend itt o others!
Joanne Spear6 days ago
thanks, the course was simple and easy to follow and i found the presenters approach very friendly.
Wilma Wheatley6 days ago
The tutor was great in including everyone. answered all the questions i had before attending
Trusted Customer6 days ago
Happy's training courses enhanced my knowledge and gave me new skills which I can use in my job to make things more efficient.
Jodie Moore7 days ago
Great course with a great tutor. Very interactive with good learning experiences.
Trusted Customer7 days ago
Great course, enjoyable and useful.
Jackie Costin7 days ago
Roumiana Grigorova7 days ago
I am very happy, taking this training. I would say I am one step more confident. This was an interesting and very useful experience. Our lecture was a great, I have to sa...