Everything you want to know about Microsoft Power BI

Category: Microsoft Power BI Posted:Jun 03, 2020 By: Ashley Morrison

Before we understand PowerBI, lets run:

What is BI?

Business Intelligence is a technology-driven approach that assists you to evaluate information and provide workable details that help corporate executives, business managers, and various other customers to make informed business decisions.

In this article, you will learn about:

  • What is BI?
  • What is a Power BI?
  • Why use Power BI?
  • Types of Power BI tools
  • Data sources for Power BI
  • Key terms utilized in Power BI
  • Background of Power BI
  • Power BI Architecture
  • How to set up and run Power BI Desktop computer
  • Power BI Dashboard
  • What is Dax Function?
  • PowerBI vs. Tableau
  • Who uses Power BI?

Power BI is a Business Intelligence and Data Visualization tool that aids you to transform data from various data sources into interactive dashboards and BI reports. It gives multiple software connectors and services.

Different Power BI versions include Desktop, Service-based (SaaS), and mobile Power BI apps. They are used for different platforms.

As we proceed further, we can together discover all the essential concepts of Power BI and develop a fundamental understanding of how to use these Power BI tools.

Why use Power BI?

Below, are the most popular reasons for using Power BI tools:

  • Pre-built dashboards and reports for SaaS Solutions
  • Power BI enables real-time dashboard updates
  • Offers secure and reliable connections to your data sources in the cloud or on-premises
  • Power BI offers quick deployment, hybrid configuration, and a secure environment.
  • Enables data expedition using natural language query
  • Provides attributes for dashboard visualization frequently upgraded with the area.

Types Of Power BI tools

Some Important Power BI tools are:

Power BI Desktop 

Power BI desktop is the key authoring and publishing tool for Power BI. Developers and customers use it to create brand new models and reports from scratch.

Cost: Free

Power BI service

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

Pro certificate: $10/users/month.

Power BI Data Gateway

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

Power BI Report Web Server

It can host paginated reports, KPIs, mobile reports, & Power Bl Desktop reports. It is upgraded every four months and it is installed/managed by the IT group. The customers can change Power Bl reports and other reports created by the development team.

Power BI Mobile Apps.

Power BI mobile app is offered for iOS, Android, and Windows. It can be handled using Microsoft Intune. You can use this device to watch reports and dashboards on the Power Bl Service Report Web Server.

Data sources for Power BI

Key terms used in Power BI


History of Power BI

  • Power BI was conceptualized by Ruler and Dhers Netz of the SQL webserver coverage services group at Microsoft.
  • It was developed by West Chadic George in the year 2010 and called as Project Crescent.
  • In 2011, It was bundled with SQL Web server Codenamed Mount McKinley.
  • Microsoft introduced the first preview to Power BI in September 2014.
  • The initial version of Power BI was launched on 24 July 2015. It was based on Excel Based Add-ins like Power Query, Pivot, View, and Map.

The architecture of Power BI.


Data Integration

Every organization needs to work with data that comes from various resources that can be in different data formats. The data must be extracted from various resources which can be from different web servers or data sources. This information is integrated into one conventional style in a usual staging area.

Data Processing

In this phase, the incorporated data is still not prepared for visualization as it requires processing. This data is pre-processed. For instance, repetitive values, missing values will certainly be removed from the data set.

Business guidelines need to be applied to the data when the data is cleaned up. You can load that data back to Data Warehouse.

Data Presentation

Once the data is packed and processed, it can be envisioned better with the use of numerous visualizations that Power BI has to supply. The use of dashboards and report helps one represent data with ease. This visual report helps business end-users to make service choices based on the understandings.

Set up and run the Power BI Desktop

Step 1) Browse through link

And select the Download free button.


Step 2) You will be rerouted to a Microsoft store and click on the Get button.


Step 3) Click on Install.


Step 4) You can see progression status on the display.


Step 5) Before the welcome display you will be asked to register to enter.


Step 6) When you run Power BI Desktop, a Welcome screen is presented.


Power BI Dashboard


Power BI Desktop is an enlargement tool used to create dashboards and reports. Power BI applications will be accessed by other users with desktop and smartphones.

The five major Power BI components that are launched in the market are listed below.

  • Power Query: It can be used to search, access, and transform public and/ or private data resources.
  • Power Pivot: It is used for data modeling for in-memory analytics.
  • Power View: This component allows you to picture, assess, and present data.
  • Power Map: It brings information to life with interactive geographical visualization.
  • Power BI Solution: It enables you to share data sights and workbooks, which you can refresh from on-premises and cloud-based data sources.
  • Power BI Q&A: It enables you to ask queries and get instant answers using a natural language query.
  • Data Management Portal: It uses regular data refreshers, view data feeds, and expose tables.
  • Data Catalog: This part permits the individual to discover and reuse queries using the Data Catalog. Metadata can be promoted for search functionality.

What is Dax Feature?

DAX is a formula expression language that can be utilized with numerous visualization tools like Power BI. It is also known as a functional language, where the complete code is kept inside a function. DAX programming solutions have two data kinds: Numeric and Other.


Each of these is linked to the other by having common columns. Here is a basic representation showing the relationships.

There are 3 things in Power BI where you can make use of.


  • Calculated Columns.
  • Measures.
  • Tables.

Let’s see all these and see how DAX functions.

Calculated Columns.

Calculated columns permit you to create new columns based on the given data.

For example, there is no’ Final price’ column readily available in the Products table. Here, the DAX function is made use of to compute a new column when only total price & quantity is offered.

Price = List_Items[MRP]*List_Items[Qty]

In the data, each row will currently have the respective calculated cost.


You can perform a calculation without the need to add any data. This is helpful for reports where the price can be shown, without needing a new column to save it.


1] Total of the MRP column * Total of Qty column


DAX functions in tabular models return entire tables. For example, To create a listing of all the countries the organization has customers in, use the function: 

cities touched = DISTINCT(Customers[City])

A word on Filters.

Filters hide rows that do not fit the offered criteria. A calculation after filtering out data will apply only on a row that matches those standards.

Power BI DAX Functions

Some vital DAX features are:


This DAX function permits you to find the average from the given set of values.

Example – AvgComm = AVERAGE(List_Items[Price])


Helps you to locate the maximum from the given set of values.

Example– HighSale = MAX(List_Items[Price])


Helps you to discover the minimum from the given set of values.

Example– Permits you to figure out the lowest order. 

LowestSale = MIN(List_Items[Price])


Count any numerical data.

Example– Matter number of the ticket provided. TicketVolume = COUNT(Invoices[Ticket])


This function helps you to sign up with values in calculated columns. You can use ConcatenateX if used in procedures.

Instance– Concatenate the Product names, and MRPs will offer a distinct code for all the rate factors at which each item is offered.  ProMrp = CONCATENATE(List_Items[Item],List_Items[MRP])


This feature enables you to calculate the sum from the start of the current Year to the specified date. It does determine based upon a calendar year, not a financial year.

Example– Calculate Sales total amounts for the price column. CumiSales = TOTALYTD(SUM(List_Items[Price]),Invoices[Date])


Returns everything. Neglects filters.

Example– Utilized with the compute feature above.

CumiSales = TOTALYTD(SUM(List_Items[Price]),Invoices[Date])

PowerBI vs. Tableau.


Who uses Power BI?

Below mentioned are some of the professionals who use Power BI tool:

  • PMO – Project and Portfolio Manager.
  • Business and Data Analyst.
  • Developer & Database Administrator.
  • IT Team, IT Professionals.
  • Customer for End User Report.
  • Data Scientists.

you may like to read this ‘Everything you want to know about Microsoft Power BI


To conclude, Power BI is highly personalized, with individuals able to individualize control panels and interfaces. You can envision data your way, with our rich library of fully-customizable, open-source data visualizations. With the personalized visuals SDK, you can create sensational visualizations. Test as well as debug on the fly, and also plan right into redistributable custom-made visuals that can be made use of throughout all Power BI products. You can share custom-made visuals you have created within your company to your clients and customers, or share them with the world on AppSource.Curious to learn more? You’re in the right place. At ZaraTech we offer mentor-led self-paced online training programs on Microsoft Power BI. Enroll with us to learn from the best!

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