PL-300 – Section 5: Part 1 Level 4: Adding more control to your visualizations

  1. Adding Text boxes, Images and Shapes

Hello, and welcome to level four. And in this level, we’re going to be adding more control to your visualisations.

Now, we’re going to start fairly easy. We’re going to add additional elements to your pages that aren’t actual your visualisations. For example, previously, we have got this item, this visualisation, which we can click on and it highlights individual elements elsewhere. And it also filters down on this table, but there’s no real way of knowing that without actually being a proficient Power BI user.

So, what I’m going to do is I’m going in the Home tab to insert a Text Box. So, you can see the Text Box is now appeared and I’m just going to say Click on a year to focus on this year. Now you can see it’s being treated as a visualisation. So, I might want to add a title, instructions for example. So, I’m going to have this as a background colour of yellow, foreground colour of black, have it centre aligned, have it a bit bigger. So, let’s close down Title.

Now, you may notice that there isn’t actually a category for changing the font size here of the actual text, but you can also see that when I’m inside here, there is a bar similar to what you might have in Microsoft Word. So, that allows me to change the size alignment, bold, italic, underlined and font as well. So, I’m going to now resize this. So it’s a bit smaller. Maybe, drag this down just a bit. And I think maybe also add a border because it doesn’t have a border. It only seems to have a border when you click on it. There we go.

Now I want to link this in some way to this actual box. So, what I’m going to do is I’m going to put a little shape. So, I’m going to go from this particular box to this visualisation. So here we have an arrow, a ginormous arrow as it looks like. So, I’ll just make it a bit smaller. And then in the Format shape pane. So, this is the equivalent of the visualisation.

We also have things like Rotation. So, I’m going to rotate this 90 degrees, oops, wrong way, 270 degrees, that’s the right way. But you can also change things like the Line colour and the Weight, and whether it is Fill or not. And again, you can change what the Fill colour is. And even at a Title, if you so wish. If there was a particular shape that needed a title.

Now, there is another one called Action, another category here. But I will be looking at that when I look at insert buttons in a few videos time.

Now, a quick look at some of the additional formatting options. So, if we’re going to Shape, you can change the Shape type and you can see all the different options. So, while you’ve got some options here, you can see them described in here. So, you don’t have to have your first choice all the time. You’ve also got Rounded corner. So, have a look at this shape, when I change this from zero to 100 pixels. You can also change the size of the arrowhead, as well as the Stem width. So that’s this bit here. So, how wide is it compared to the rest of the shape. Now, obviously, these will not be applicable for all shapes. So, if you change the shape, then you might have different options. Looking at the style section in addition to having the Fill and the Border, you can also add some Text. So, you can see there down again, you’ve got all the formatting options. You can also add Padding in the words how far it has to be away from the shape. You can also add some Shadow and Glow as well. Going back to the text box, you can see that we have got Superscript and Subscript as well as Bulleted Lists. We’ve also got these things down here, Value and Review. Those are to do with smart narratives, and we’ll be looking at that near the end of part one of this course.

Now, maybe, you’ve got some instructions on a website that you want people to be able to go to. Well, you could have another text box or maybe I’ve got a text box here. And I’ll say Full instructions, click here. So, resize that. And what I’m going to do is insert a link. So, this is a hyperlink to somewhere. So, I’m just going to take it to But that could be your website with full instructions or maybe even a video on how to use it. So, you can see it’s only linked the word here, but it is hyperlinked. Now you can’t actually click on it while it’s still here in the Power BI Desktop, but when it’s published, then you can click on it. If you want to just make sure you’re going to the right address, then you can always select the link and click on it that way.

Additionally, you can also insert images. So, here we have in Home, Insert, Image. This will allow you to find an image and insert it. Now, you notice it goes directly to your hard drive. It doesn’t look from the Internet and try and find and download an image. So if you want something from the internet, you will have to have previously downloaded it. And it’s just any image it could be your icon, it could be something relating to your company. And what I’m going to do is I’m going to lock the aspect ratio, so that when I resize it, it will always resize in the same height and weight previously.

When I was trying to resize it, I could resize it like this. So, we’ve got a lot of wasted space, which may be what you want but I want the aspect ratio to stay the same. So, the ratio between the height and the width. So, that could be your icon, that could be an attractive text to click on or attractive image to click on.

Now, you can’t add a hyperlink to go onto, say, website, but you can do other things. Again, we’ve got this Action icon, this Action category here and we’ll have a look at that when we’re inserting buttons a bit later.

So, this video was all about adding something that could be helpful to you, the end user. We were inserting text boxes, we were inserting images and we were inserting shapes. So it’s not fully featured the same Microsoft Word where you can do free form shapes or whatever, but you can always do something elsewhere. So, maybe, if I go into Word and I do an image in Word. So, if I insert a shape, which is more of a free form shape. There you go.

And then I could always use the Snipping Tool, which is available on computers from Windows 7 onwards, to extract that, and then save it as a file. You can tell I’m no artist, can’t you? So, here is my shape. And then insert that image. So, that is one way of being able to import from other applications, which are a bit more user friendly. So, maybe, that’s my new icon of my company.

So, we can insert text boxes, images and shapes. We’ll see in the future how we can also use the shapes and the images to do things, actions. But with text boxes, you can also add hyperlinks.

  1. Visual Level, Page Level and Report Level Filters – Basic Filters

Your boss comes up to you and says, “Well, it’s looking good so far. There’s just one thing, and I just want to concentrate on Greater Manchester and West Midlands. Can we do that?” And you say, “Well, we could do that. We could click on Greater Manchester and West Midlands and that will focus on them by holding down Ctrl.” But, suppose, we want to go a bit more. This give the user the end choice. “And I don’t want the use to end choice,” says your boss, “I just want to have this about Greater Manchester and West Midlands and that’s it.” So what can we do? Well, we can use something called Filters.

Now, Filters means that we don’t have to go back over the data, we have all of this data which includes Greater Manchester and the West Midlands, which also includes Merseyside, Tyne and Wear, the rest of it. We don’t want to have to get rid of that data physically. We don’t want to have to re-import a new set of data with just that. But we don’t want them to appear in our visualisations. So, what we can use are things called Filters.

Now, there are three different of Filters and we’ll be adding to this by looking at slices later on but just concentrating on Filters. Filters allow you remove from a particular visualisation, or a particular page, or a particular report, all of the pages, various bits of data. So, you can concentrate on particular bits.

So, let’s say I wanted to just concentrate on, as my boss said, Greater Manchester and West Midlands. Okay, well, there are three different types. First of all, we have the Visual filters. Now, the Visual filters you’ll see are set up based on what you can see. So, they are a visualisation filter, but they’re also visual. So, they’re based up on literally what you can see. So, if I go into region name, currently, region name is all. Now, if I click on it, then we have something called filter type, advanced filtering. For the moment, I’m just going to show you basic filtering. So, we click on that, and change this to basic filtering. And we can say, “Well, I only want to see Greater Manchester and West Midlands.” And you see that everything else disappears.

Now, you could say, “I only want to see one thing.” So, I only want the user to be able to just click on one particular item. Or you can say, “Well, I’m fine if the user selects multiple items, they can select all.” Now, selecting null doesn’t make any sense. Because then they’ll be no data to be shown in your visualisation. And while things like Excel might interpret selecting null of the categories as being show nothing, here in Power BI it just means this ignores the filter. So, I’m going to select Greater Manchester and West Midlands. And you’ll notice that up here it says region name is, Greater Manchester or West Midlands. Even when I collapse it, you’ll see that there is a filter on, because it doesn’t say region name is all.

Now, when I hover over it, you’ll see this little icon, it looks to be like an eraser, a rubber. And that removes the Filter. So, let’s select that again. Greater Manchester and West Midlands. Now, because this is a visual filter, it is only looking at this one visualisation. If I don’t want this, so I’ll click on the eraser here, and I’ll scroll down to the page level filters, this will affect everything on this particular page. But there’s nothing there. So, we haven’t got anything set up like we have with the visuals because we’ve added the columns. Instead, we have to say what out filter’s going to be. Well, I want to filter on the region names. So, I’ll drag region name across and here we get exactly the same thing, basic filtering and advanced filtering.

You might notice a third option, which was available in the Visual filters called Top N, which we’ll have a look at in a future video, isn’t there.

So, again, I can say Greater Manchester and West Midlands and you’ll notice that instantly, all of the visualisations on this page have been updated to reflect that. Now, that’s not the case for other pages. Here, we can see in the matrix that we’ve previously set up, we still have all six. So, let’s remove this filter. I’m going to click on the X to really get rid of it. And take it down to the report level. Now, instead, you notice that I couldn’t have just dragged this in easily from page level to report level. I actually have to remove it and then recreate it. So, in the report level filters, I’m going to put Greater Manchester and West Midlands. And now if I go to the matrix page, you can see that is has now been updated to reflect just those two categories. So, this is basic filtering. And you can basic filter on text, you can basic filter on dates. So, if I drag a date in here, you can see we’ve got basic filtering as well. And you can see this very small scroll bar there. The formatting is not brilliant. I’ve got to hover over each of these to say, “Well, I just want to concentrate on the March, the first of 1995,” maybe, I need just to add a bit more width to really be able to do that. And you can also do basic filtering on measures as well. So, I want to have basic filtering only when the sales volume is 458. So, you can imagine not as useful for dates and for numbers, which generally, are in ranges rather than discrete categories. But still doable.

So, Filters, we’ve got three different types, Visual level filters, Page level filters, which affects all of the page, and Report level filters, which affects all the pages in this report.