Power Bi Tutorial

Updated on January 2, 2024
Article byJeevan A Y
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Power BI Tutorial for Beginners

This Power BI beginners tutorial covers the basic learning techniques of data visualization. Considering the audience as beginners, this tutorial starts from scratch, thus eliminating confusion related to the topic.

In addition, this tutorial assumes that the user is proficient with the advanced formulasAdvanced FormulasVLOOKUP, INDEX, MATCH, and IF AND are just a few of the advanced Excel formulae and functions available in Excel.read more and concepts of MS Excel.


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What is Power BI?

Power BI is a business intelligence tool that helps convert raw data into meaningful insights through dashboards, reports, and applications (apps). It helps visualize data from a variety of visual elements available.

For example, an organization may want to create a finance dashboard that displays profits, inventories, cash-in-hand, operating expenses, and so on. Alternatively, a sales dashboard shows the number of units sold in a particular region, earnings of a location, discounts and schemes offered to the general public, and so on.

The datasets are uploaded in the Power BI followed by visualizing and selecting the most appropriate representation. A user-friendly visualization helps ease the analysis of data.

The desktop version of Power BI is free of cost. Besides, one can also try the SaaS (software as a service) and the mobile supporting app.

The Availability of Power BI

The Power BI desktop is available on the Microsoft website. Alternatively, it can be downloaded from the following link.


Note: Prior to downloading, verify whether your Excel is 32-bit or 64-bit. Thereafter, the corresponding version must be installed.

–>> If you want to learn Power BI professionally, then Power BI Basics Course (5+ hours) is the perfect solution. This course will introduce you to a wide range of Power BI concepts like collection of software services, apps, and connectors that work together to turn your unrelated sources of data into coherent, visually immersive, and interactive insights, Creating Reports in Power BI Desktop, Analyze Data with Excel, Graphs & Visualizations, Interactive Dashboards along with some real life examples.

Getting Started with Power BI Desktop

The steps for getting started with the Power BI desktop are listed as follows:

  1. Once the Power BI desktop has been installed, type “Power BI” in the search box, as shown in the following image. Click on the “Power BI desktop”.

    Power Bi (Getting Started).png

  2. Power BI takes some time to load. In the meantime, the “initializing model” is visible on the screen, as shown in the following image.

    Power Bi Desktop (Initializing model)

  3. The “sign-in” window, as shown in the following image, appears.

    Power Bi Desktop (Sign in)

  4. Cancel the registration or the “sign-in” window and a complete Power BI file opens.

    Power Bi Desktop (full window)

Power BI Desktop User Interface

Let us understand the Power BI user interface. The elements of the user interface are listed as follows:

  • There are four tabs on the ribbon–Home, View, Modeling, and Help. These are similar to the menu options of MS Excel.
Power Bi Desktop (4 tab home, view, modeling nad help)
  • In the working area of the Power Bi desktop view, there are three icons on the left side of the screen. These are–“report,” “data,” and “model.”
Power Bi Desktop (Icons)

In the following pointers (a to c), the “report,” “data,” and “model” tabs are discussed.

a. By default, the “report” workspace is visible, as shown in the following image. In this workspace, all the visualizations of data are created.

Power Bi (Report Workspace)

b. In the “data” tab, the uploaded data tableData TableA data table in excel is a type of what-if analysis tool that allows you to compare variables and see how they impact the result and overall data. It can be found under the data tab in the what-if analysis section.read more information is visible.

Power Bi (data)

c. In the “model” tab, the relationship between two or more data tables can be seen. This is the case when more than one data table is uploaded.

Power Bi (model)
  • On the right-hand side of the page are two tabs, “visualizations” and “fields.” By using these “visualizations,” we can create reports and dashboards from the “fields.” “Fields” are the column headings of the uploaded data table.
Power Bi (Visualizations and fields)

The Procedure of Uploading Data

Let us learn how to upload the data to the Power BI desktop. The succeeding image shows a sample dataset prepared in Excel. The steps to upload the given dataset are listed as follows:

Step 1: Keep the data ready in any of the mentioned file extensions–Excel, text/csv, xml, json, pdf, etc. The current dataset is in Excel format.

Power Bi (sample data set excel)

Step 2: In the Home tab, click on the “get data” drop-down listDrop-down ListA drop-down list in excel is a pre-defined list of inputs that allows users to select an option.read more. Select the appropriate option depending on the type of data source. Since our data is in Excel format, we choose the same.

get data option

Step 3: Choose the desired file from a location on the computer. Go to the saved folder and select the file. Click “open” to upload the data.

Power Bi (File Location)

Step 4: The “navigator” window opens, as shown in the succeeding image. In this, we can edit the data using Power QueryPower QueryPower Query is an excel tool used to import data from different sources, transform (change) it as required, and return a refined dataset in the workbook.read more. Alternatively, we can upload the data as it is.

Step 5: Select the worksheet name (sales data) where the data resides. At the bottom, there are two options–the “load” and “transform data.” For editing the dataset, choose “transform data,” else click the “load” option.


Step 6: In the “Data” option, the entire data table can be seen, as shown in the following image.

Data option

An Example of Creating Visualizations

Once the data is uploaded, we can create visualizations. The following steps serve as an example for such visualizations:

Step 1: In “fields,” all the data headings can be viewed.

Field headings

Step 2: To create overall sales numbers, choose the “card” visualization.

Card Visualization

Step 3: Under “fields,” select “sales” to see the total sales numbers in the card, as shown in the following image.

Sales Field

Step 4: To create a city-wise representation, choose the clustered column chartClustered Column ChartIn Excel, a clustered column chart depicts data in a series of vertical columns. Though these charts are simple to create, analyzing them becomes increasingly difficult as the number of categories increases from single to multiple. read more visualization icon. In “axis,” select “city,” and in the “value” field, select “sales.”

Likewise, you can use the different visual elements to create the desired dashboard.

Data City wise, clustered column chart

The Reasons for Using Power BI

The Power BI has a number of features which are of interest to a data professional. The reasons to learn Power BI are listed as follows:

Note: The refreshing time can be scheduled if the data uploaded to the Power BI is offline.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a Power BI tutorial?

The Power BI tutorial is a guide which discusses all aspects of the Power BI tool. This includes the definition, reasons to use, the process of getting started, components of the user interface, and so on.

The Power BI is a business intelligence tool which helps visualize the uploaded data from the different sources. Such visualizations are then incorporated in the form of dashboards and reports for the end-users.

Prior to uploading the dataset, it must be kept ready in the format accepted by the tool. Once data is loaded, the “visualizations” tab can be used for a better presentation of the data.

2. How does the Power BI desktop work?

The desktop version of the Power BI works as follows:
Connect data sources – The data from multiple sources are connected. Such connections make it easy to update data by refreshing.
Create data models – The data models are created to provide insights to the data repository. The queries of analysts related to the models, dashboards, data connections, etc., are addressed at this stage.
Apply visualization methods – The data models are converted into reports with the help of the visualization techniques available on the Power BI tool.
Share reports – The reports are shared with the other users to build upon the existing model. Since sharing helps connect with others on the entire process of designing, it simplifies the procedure of generating business reports.

3. Is Power BI better than MS Excel?

The Power BI is preferred over the MS Excel for the following reasons:
• The Power BI facilitates data sharing, which is tedious with Excel.
• The Power BI refreshes data automatically and displays improved visualization techniques.
• The Power BI can process much larger datasets at a faster processing speed than Excel.

The MS Excel is preferred over the Power BI for the following reasons:
• Excel can create tabular style reports, which cannot be easily prepared with Power BI.
• Excel can perform quick calculations with the help of a variety of its functions, thereby making it a comprehensive tool.
• The chart and graph features provided by Excel are more advanced than those of Power BI.

Hence, selecting from the two tools requires the user to think about issues like cost of the tool, size of data, quality of visualizations, collaboration with the team, and so on.

This has been a guide to Power Bi Tutorial for Beginners. Here we discuss what is Power BI excel and how to use it along with step by step examples You can learn more about data visualization from the following articles –