How to Create Your First Power BI Report

In this article, you will learn how to create your first Power BI Report. 

First, you will need to download and install Power BI Desktop. Navigate to the Microsoft Power BI Desktop download page. Click “Download.”

You can download this here:


This opens the Microsoft Store. Select the blue “Get” button and the download will begin.  


Now that the installation and setup is complete, it’s time to start creating your first report!

First, title your project and save it. Note that it is good practice to save your progress as you work. 


To get started, you will need to import a dataset. Click on the “Get Data” option in the ribbon at the top of the screen. In this tutorial, we will import an Excel workbook.



Once you have selected a file to open, the Power BI Navigator will display a preview of the dataset. Look it over to ensure that this is the dataset you want to work with. If everything looks good, then check the box and click “Load.” If you are working with multiple datasets, repeat this process for each dataset.



If you are working with multiple datasets, it is likely that you need to merge tables. To do so, click on the third button from the top on the left-hand side bar. In this example, since the “Ice Cream Flavor” column in Table 1 corresponds to the “Product” column in Table 2, we will merge these two tables based on this field. 



Select the third button from the top on the left sidebar. To merge these two tables, we will click on the “Ice Cream Flavor” column in Table 1, and drag the mouse over to the corresponding “Product” column in Table 2. If the relationship between tables was created successfully, a line connecting the tables indicating this will appear.



Now that all of our data has been imported, we can start building a dashboard! Click on the first button from the top on the left sidebar.



Navigate to the Visualizations bar on the right hand side of your screen. Let’s begin by creating a card. Select the card option in Visualizations.



This will display a blank card on the screen. To fill the card, navigate to the fields bar on the right of your screen and select a field to populate the card with, such as “Units Sold.”



To edit features such as font and color, select the paint roller “Format” button and make the changes you would like.



Next, let’s create a chart. Select the pie chart visualization in the visualizations tab. Select fields to populate the chart. In this example, we will select Ice Cream Flavor and Units Sold. Now we can see which Ice Cream Flavor was most popular among customers.



Right now, the report displays metrics such as total units sold for the entire dataset. But what if we wanted to take an in-depth look at these metrics for a specific time frame? 


Select the “Slicer” visualization. Then, pick a field from one of your tables, such as “Date.” Typically, Power BI automatically creates a Date Hierarchy. This allows you to select whether you want to slice your data by year, quarter, month, etc.



Now, you can select the time frame for which you want to analyze the data in your report.



There may be instances where you need to make your own calculations for measures that are not explicitly provided in the dataset. For example, let’s say we want to calculate how many total units were sold on Saturdays, which correspond to day 7 in this dataset.  


Right click on the table to which you would like to add the new measure, and select “New Measure.” A formula bar will appear at the top of the screen. Here, you can rename the measure and enter a DAX formula.



Congratulations! You have learned all the basics of creating your very first Power BI report.