Getting Started: Power BI Essentials

If you’re thinking about working with Power BI, would simply like a look-see or if you haven’t quite found the time to learn the new platform, this on-demand webinar is for you.

Get an overview of both the Desktop application as well as the web-based application, Power BI service. We show you the fundamental components of each platform and discuss the powerful features that you can rapidly exploit. We also provide demos of each and a comparison and contrast of functionality.

Learn about

Power BI Desktop, the free, standalone self-service BI application

  • Importing data
  • Relationships
  • Visualizations

Power BI service, the web-based portal application

  • Publishing the Power BI Desktop model
  • Creating dashboards from visualizations
  • Collaboration in the Power BI portal
  • Navigating the Power BI service
  • Exporting data to Excel


Bill Pearson
Microsoft Business Intelligence Architect
Senturus, Inc.

Bill is a 30-year BI veteran and CPA with experience in accounting/finance, ERP and CRM systems. Adept in legacy and current platforms, Bill is proficient across the Microsoft Business Intelligence stack and brings a wealth of hands-on experience to his work in Power BI, SQL Server, SQL Server Analysis Services), SQL Server Reporting Services and Excel Power Pivot.

Presentation outline

  • Introduction: Power BI Desktop
    • Ideal design environment for Power BI
      • Data models
      • Prototyping / proof-of-concept
    • Specifically designed for data analytics
  • Power BI Desktop self-service use case
    • I’m an analyst who has data in flat files upon which I want to perform some analysis – and I don’t want to get IT involved in what is an exploration effort.
  • Power BI Desktop walkthrough
    • Two data files (Excel spreadsheet and a CSV file)
    • Make data connections to my files
    • Import data
    • Inspect relationships
    • Build a few visualizations
    • Learn about Power BI Desktop features
    • Publish Power BI model to Power BI Service
    • Discuss how to download the free Power BI Desktop
  • As a design / development environment
    • Main design steps
      • Connect to data
      • Transform data
      • Refine data model
      • Create relationships
      • Create visualizations
    • Visualizations and fields panes
  • Making data connections
    • Import data
    • Direct query
      • Native query direct to data source
      • No data imported / cached
    • Live connection (SSAS only)
      • Power BI connects directly to SSAS, generates DAX
      • Power BI becomes presentation layer for SSAS
    • Options for creating data models
      • Excel PowerPivot
        • Can deploy to Power BI Service or SharePoint
        • Microsoft Office will lag Power BI Desktop
      • Power BI Desktop
        • Combines all Excel Power BI
        • Standalone, free tool
        • Monthly updates with significant advances
        • Can publish only to Power BI Service, Power BI Premium Server and SharePoint 2019
      • How to install Power BI Desktop
        • Free download
        • Introduction: Power BI Service
          • Azure-based, business analytics service used for features, including
            • Connections to online services / sources
            • Publishing / refreshing data models
            • Viewing dashboards and reports online
            • Using Q & A (natural language search)
            • Sharing / collaborating
            • Analyze with Excel
          • Power BI Service walkthrough
            • Inspect published models and explore features
            • Navigate among datasets, reports and dashboards
            • Explain how to assemble dashboards
            • Q & A
            • Discuss how to sign up for the Power BI Service
          • Signing up for Power BI Service and Power BI Desktop
            • Sign up with a domain e-mail address – not common email address
            • Note organization constraints
            • Start with free account – will prompt for Pro account upon attempt to use Pro features (60-day free trial)
          • Signing in to Power BI Service
            • /
          • Understanding Power BI Service
            • Welcome to Power BI page
            • Power BI portal
            • Power BI components
              • Datasets
              • Reports
              • Dashboards
            • Power BI portal: navigation pane
              • Organizes deployed content
              • By default, all content deployed to My Workspace
              • Pro subscription can
                • Create other workspaces for collaboration
                • Select which workspace to deploy content
              • Power BI components
                • Data sources, workbooks and datasets
                • Reports
                • Dashboards
                • The elements depend upon each other
                  • Datasets -> reports ->  dashboards
  • Power BI components: data sources and datasets
    • Datasets can have multiple tables / other sources
    • Two primary types of data sources
      • Cloud services (SaaS)
      • On-premises data sources
    • Data can either be
      • Imported into a Power BI dataset
      • Left in original source accessed directly via a live connection
    • Power BI Components: Reports
      • Primary way to analyze data in Power BI
      • Reading view vs. editing view
      • Creating reports
        • From scratch
        • Importing from
          • Excel (Power view only – not pivot tables)
          • Power BI Desktop
        • Apps / organizational content packs – reports automatically distributed / access controlled
      • One dataset per report, currently
      • Approaches to multi-source reporting
        • Dashboard
        • Self-serve model
        • Connect to organizational model in SSAS Tabular
          • Simply connect to model
          • Nothing to build or import with dynamic connection
        • Power BI components: dashboards
          • A summarized view of metrics with drill through to underlying detailed reports
          • Creating dashboards
            • From existing reports (pinning)
            • Using Q & A to create / pin report
          • Distributing dashboards
            • Via mail
            • Via app workspaces
          • Drilling into dashboard tiles
            • If created by pinning a visualization, navigates user to corresponding report
            • If created by Q & A, navigates user to page containing natural question with its visualization

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