Microsoft Power BI Desktop is a part of the Microsoft Power Platform universe. It is a desktop application that acts as a companion to Power BI, a leading Business Intelligence tool. Power BI Desktop application is available for a free download on Microsoft Store. However, its true capabilities are vastly enhanced when combined with other Power Platform products and services

Microsoft Power BI Desktop – The Application

Power BI Desktop application allows users to connect to multiple sources of data, transform the data to create data models, and visualize the data in the form of reports, graphs, and other such collections of visuals. It is built for data analysts and empowers them to convert raw data into insights. An individual with limited technical knowledge can also create visually rich reports and data models.

It consists of best-in-class interactive visualizations, with state-of-the-art industry-leading data query and data modelling mechanisms built into it.

The users can use Power BI Desktop to:

1. Connect to data

Power BI Desktop allows users to import data from a wide variety of sources, be it cloud-based or on-premise, including sources like SQL Server, Excel, Salesforce, SharePoint, Google Analytics, Google Sheets, Dynamics 365, Azure SQL DB, et al.

2. Model data as per their requirements

Power BI Desktop comes with an in-built query editor known as Power Query Editor. A user can make changes like renaming a table, changing the data type, deleting unwanted additional columns, combining data from multiple sources, etc. The user can slice and dice the large volume of data into smaller pieces depending upon their requirements. 

It also enables users to manage the relationship between different data sets imported from multiple data sources. It can be done manually or using the “Auto-detect” feature to find and create relationships. The users can further enrich the data by performing calculations, customizing data formats, and categorizing them to meet their specifications. 

3. Present data visually

Power BI Desktop allows users to convert their data and represent it into visual formats like graphs, reports, and dashboards. It also enables users to choose from multiple visualization options through the “Visualization Pane” feature, available in the report canvas.

4. Create reports

A user can view reports in the Report View section. A report is a collection of different complex and rich visuals created by a user. It can be of one or more pages. A user can choose from different visualization options and format reports using different colours, gradients, other similar options. It also has a mobile layout functionality that allows the users to access and view reports; on mobile and desktop platforms. The users can change the layout and customize it to match the device screen.

Once the reports are ready, a user can save the file on a personal computer. The Power BI Desktop file has a “.pbix extension”.

5. Share reports using Power BI resources

A user can share the reports with other colleagues or users in his organization by using Power BI services. The user can also upload and publish these reports onto the Power BI site for future reference or share them with users having Power BI licenses. It is mandatory to have a Power BI license to share the reports with other users in your organization.

Power BI prompts users to select the location for sharing the report using the Power BI service. It can be the user’s workspace, a team workspace or any other place that a user selects.

If you are using a free Power BI license, the following features would not be available:

  • Ability to share reports
  • Multiple app workspaces
  • API embedding

The Power BI license pricing starts at as low as USD 10 per user. It enables businesses to make sense of their business-wide data and gain real-time actionable insights. If you are looking for an IT partner to implement  Microsoft Power Platform for your business, connect with experts at Direction Software. Direction Software is a multicultural Information Technology Solutions and Business consulting company with Indo-German Management, headquartered in Mumbai, India.

We offer Bespoke solutions on .Net, Java & open-source platforms, E-Business consulting, Back Office Support, Business Intelligence, and Mobility Solutions.

About the author:
Chirag Thakkar – Sr. Digital Marketing Consultant

At Direction Software LLP, Chirag works with the Marketing Team to enhance the Digital Marketing presence and Lead Generation.