In this guide, we are going to discuss how you can download and use Power BI Desktop. Power BI is a popular business analysis service from Microsoft. It offers different versions of the software, including Power BI Desktop. It is basically the free edition of the software that anyone can use without paying a dime. You can easily download and install it on your Windows PC, then perform data analysis using data transformation, statistics, data modeling, and data visualization tools. It allows you to generate a full report and then publish it and share it with others.
Now let’s take a look at its full set of features and how you can use it.
What is Power BI Desktop?
Power BI Desktop is free software that lets you transform and visualize your dataset. It also allows you to connect to multiple data sources and then merge them into a data model. You can then analyze and visualize the generated data models. So it is basically data modeling software with the help of which users can perform analyzes on their datasets.
People working on Business Intelligence assignments and projects can use Microsoft Power BI Desktop to create, analyze, publish, and share data reports.
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What can you do with Power BI Desktop?
Here are some of the common uses for the Power BI Desktop app:
- It allows you to get data from multiple sources including Excel workbooks, text, CSV files, SQL Server, Web, OData feed, Dataverse, etc.
- You can create a data model using data transformation and cleansing tools.
- It also allows you to use data visualization tools and generate tables and charts to understand and analyze data visually.
- You can also generate data analysis reports.
- It allows you to share reports generated using the Power BI service.
Overall, it is well suited for professionals, including data analysts and business intelligence professionals. Even wannabes can use it because it is easier to understand.
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What are the main features of Power BI Desktop?
Here are the main strengths and features of Power BI Desktop:
It provides different views to visualize your data in multiple modes, including reports, data (tables, measures, etc.) and model.
As we already mentioned above, it supports a large number of file formats and data sources to import your data into and then perform data analysis and visualization.
Talking about one of the key features that is the data modeling module, you get a tab dedicated to creating a data model called Modeling. In this tab, you can find various practical features and options, including creating a new measure, generating a new column and calculating values ââfor each row, creating a new table, managing relationships , creating a Q&A visual in a report, adding simulation parameters to your reports, etc.
You get a dedicated View tab from which you can also change the canvas theme, switch to mobile layout, apply filters, add bookmark, sync slicers, and more. It also provides a Performance analyzer feature that helps you monitor your reports to check the time taken by each visual to query the data and display the results.
It allows you to create multiple data visualization charts including stacked bar chart, stacked column chart, clustered bar chart, line chart, pie chart, area chart, waterfall chart, funnel, scatter chart, donut, treemap, map, gauge, multi-line map, visual R script, visual python, Q&A, and much more. It even lets you import custom visuals from a file or get more visuals from the Power BI online service.
Along with the regular visuals, Power BI also contains four AI-powered visuals that include Q&A, key influencer, decomposition tree, and Smart story.
It allows you to export your reports to a PDF document. Or, you can also create a Power BI template for the same. Apart from that, you can publish your reports to the Power BI (.pbix) file.
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How do I download and use Power BI Desktop?
Here are the basic steps to download and use Power BI Desktop on Windows 11/10:
- Download and install Power BI Desktop from the Microsoft Store or Download Center.
- Launch the app.
- Connect to your data from multiple sources.
- Transform and cleanse the data to create the desired data model.
- Generate different visuals according to your needs.
- Generate reports.
- Export or publish reports.
Microsoft Power BI Desktop is available on different platforms. You can get it from the official Microsoft Store or you can directly download its executable from the web.
For users who prefer to install apps from Microsoft Store, you can easily install Power BI from microsoft.com. Just go to the aforementioned link and hit the Get button. The app will then open in your Microsoft Store app. You can just hit the Get button and it will then be installed on your PC within a while.
And, if you just want to download the executable and install the software on your PC using the executable, you can visit the Microsoft Download Center page and download the app. After installing Power BI Desktop, launch the app, and then you can start using it.
The first step to using it would be to connect to your data. To do this, go to the Home tab then click on the Get data button.
You will see different data sources to import your data. Just click on the one you want to import your data from and then indicate the data type you just selected. For example, if you select the Excel workbook, you need to browse and select an Excel file.
After signing in or importing datasets, you can proceed to transform your data to cleanse your data. To do this, go to the Home tab and click on the Transform Data> Transform Data option. He will open the Powerful query editor window in which you can perform data transformation using various tools.
It offers features such as Transpose, Invert Rows, Change Data Type, Merge Columns, Convert to List, Pivot Column, Format Date and Time Values, etc. You can also perform statistical, mathematical, scientific, trigonometric, rounding, and information extraction operations. It also provides dedicated functionality to run custom R and Python scripts to transform and shape your data.
You can also model your data by going to its Modeling tab where you can find handy features like creating new measurements, tables, simulation parameters, etc.
When you have a data model ready the way you want it, you can generate visuals for it that will help you and others better understand the data. We have already talked about the kind of visuals and graphics it allows you to create.
You can simply go to the Visualization pane on the right, then select the type of visual you want to create. After selecting the chart, drag and drop the columns to the axis, values, legend, tooltip, and other fields to map the data on the chart accordingly.
By doing this, you will be able to see the visuals on the report. If you want, export visuals data, sort fields, and do more.
Now you can create a report which is basically a collection of all the visuals in a Power BI Desktop file.
Finally, you can publish and share the reports. To publish the report, click on the Publish button present in the Home tab. It will ask you to sign in to the Power BI service using your Power BI account; just follow the instructions and you can publish the report.
It also prompts you to choose whether you want to share the report to a workspace, team workspace, or elsewhere in the Power BI service. Note that you need a Power BI license to share reports with the Power BI service.
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How to use Power BI for beginners?
Power BI is fairly easy to understand, even with advanced data analysis tools. Its graphical interface is not at all complex and all the tools are easily accessible. So, beginners can easily use it with the guide that we have shared in this article.
Read: How to share Excel Insights with Power BI Publisher for Excel.
Is Power BI Desktop the same as Power BI Pro?
Power BI Desktop is the free version of Power BI, while Power BI Pro is the full version of the software. Power BI Pro is a paid edition and you must purchase an individual license to use it. For example, if you have an organization of 15 people, you will need to purchase 15 individual licenses for each of them to use the app. This edition obviously has more advanced features compared to the free version, such as the integration of Power BI visuals in applications, dashboards, unlimited visualization, native integration with Azure Data Services and other Microsoft services. , etc.
Hope this article helps you better understand Power BI Desktop and how to use it.
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