Embedding Power BI Dashboard in a Website

Microsoft has made it easy to publish dashboards publicly on the web.  All you need is a completed dashboard and a website destination and you’re set.

Once you’ve completed working on your dashboard and are satisfied with the reports, simply go the the file menu, select publish, and the choose “Publish to Power BI”.   You’ll be asked to save any saved changes prior to publishing.

A pop up window will appear asking for your destination.  By default, Power BI has setup an online workspace for you to publish to.  Select “My workspace” to use the default space.  This sometimes takes a while for the upload to process so be patient.

Once the file is uploaded, you’ll be able to go to powerbi.microsoft.com and find your published dashboard.  After logging in, select Workspaces on the left menu and then Reports on the active window.  You’re report will be there.

For each published report, you’ll have the option of sharing the report.  Clicking on the share button will give you a link to embed the report in your website.



Finding Public Datasets

Power BI is a wonderful to use when you have data that you’re trying to display.  Sometimes you may just want to play with alternative datasets to explore the full functionality offered by Power BI.

This will be an ever expanding list of sources of public data sets.

Kaggle Datasets

Actuarial Climate Index/

Government Data

California Data

Minneapolis, MN data

CDC Death Data

Enron Email Data



Please feel free to add any sample data sets in the comments below.

Editing Interactions Between Visualizations on a Page

Sometimes you want all of the visualizations on a page to change when a single data point is clicked.  This is the default interaction in Power BI.  By selecting any of the sections on one visualization, the corresponding data in other visualizations will be highlighted.  This is a fun feature most of the time.  However, sometimes you do not want all of the visualizations to update.

If this is the case, you can turn off the interactions on specific visualizations.

Start by highlighting a single visualization.

Then go to the Format Menu and select Edit Interactions which is located on the left side:

You will then see additional options displayed at the top of all the other visualizations on the page.   

To stop another visualization from interacting with the currently highlighted one, you simply need to click on the circle with the line through it.

Alternatively, if you have previously turned off the interaction and want to turn it back on, just click on the funnel icon.

Rotating Text Boxes in Power BI

Power BI has added a lot of customization and features and Microsoft continues to roll out new customizations each month.

Though most elements of a Power BI dashboard are meant to be dynamic, sometimes you need a text box with static information.   To insert static information you can select a text box from the Home menu.

You then end up with something like this:


But what if you want to rotate the text 90 degrees either for design or clarity’s sake?  Currently this feature is not available in Power BI (surprisingly, you can rotate shapes.)

There is a workaround available.

Simply created a stacked bar chart and hide all the content except the Y-Axis label.  To do this, select a single data field and put it into a stacked bar chart.

Then go to the features menu and turn off all the features except the Y-axis features.

Add a label to the Y-axis that contains the text you want and then minimize the the visualization so that all you can see if the y-axis label.

Then you’ll have this:

How to activate themes in Power BI

Several months ago, Power BI implemented the option to create and import themes in Power BI.  More recently, the options was also added to publish reports using themes.  Both of these are great options for controlling colors in your Power BI dashboards.  I’ve been writing weekly themes for months for Theme Thursdays.

Below are the instructions for activating the themes options in Power BI desktop.

Go to the file menu and select “Options and Settings” then select “Options”.

On the options window, select “Preview Features” in the left hand menu.

Then click the box next to “Custom Report Themes” as shown in the image below.  Note that you will have to exit Power BI and restart the program for the change to take effect.

Theme Thursday: Gray!

Okay, I had to add the exclamation point to the title to make this theme a little more exciting.  But sometimes you need understated themes.   This also allows you to add extra highlights to certain data points by overriding some of the colors from the theme.


As always, my themes are free to use, however a linkback is always appreciated!

Json file:

“name”: “Gray”,
“dataColors”: [“#666666”, “#777777”, “#888888″,”#999999″,”#aaaaaa”,”#bbbbbb”,”#cccccc”],
“foreground”: “#888888”,
“tableAccent”: “#aaaaaa”

Adding a Custom Visualization

Power BI does not limit you to the preinstalled visualizations.  Indeed, Microsoft has created a marketplace for additional visualizations which can be imported and used in your dashboards.  Click the three dots in the visualization menu to get started.

After clicking the three dots, a search menu will pop up that gives you the option of selecting a visualization from your organization or from the marketplace.  For today’s purposes, I selected marketplace and searched for “Cylindrical Guage”

After importing the visualization, it will show up as an option where the three dots previously resided (the dots just moved down so you can continue to add custom visualizations).

After importing the visualization, it can be used throughout the dashboard.  As with the native visualizations, the custom visualizations can be customized to display various types of data.

Syncing Slicers in Power BI

One of my favorite features in Power BI is the ability to add slicers and isolate data within all the visualizations on a page simultaneously.   Slicers can be used on various types of data.

As with many features in Power BI, the slicer allows for various levels of customization.  The slicer will initially render with a start and end input along with a slider.

The slider can be removed by selecting “No” next to slider in the slicer formatting window.  Other options include include switching the slicer to a drop down box, list, or several other functions.  There is also the possibility of allowing multiple selection or requiring a single selection.  You can also turn on or off the “all” function for selections.

Additionally, slicers can sync across various pages.  The simplest way to do this is to select your existing slicer, press Control-C, and paste the slicer into another page.  When you paste the copy of the slicer, a dialogue box will pop up asking if you want to sync with the existing slicer.

At this point, simply click the yellow sync button and your slicer will sync with the original.  You can continue this process on all the pages you want slicers and they will sync with each other.

If you miss the dialogue box and later decide to sync sliders, you can sync the sliders on the view menu by clicking the “Sync sliders” option shown below.

Bike Data: Playing with the Play Button

One of the often overlooked features in Power BI is the “play axis” available on the scatter plot.  This feature adds an additional axis at the bottom on the visualization which allows the user to loop through data.  This can be very useful for observing patterns.

To begin, select the scatter plot option for your data.

After selecting the scatter plot and selecting the relevant data, you’ll notice that there is an field titled “play axis” which will control the visualization.


After implementing the play axis, an additional selection will appear at the bottom of the visualization complete with a play button which loops through the data points.

Divvy Bike Sharing Data – Take 2

After putting together a very simple example yesterday using a standard white background and default colors, I decided to have a little fun with the bicycle sharing data and attempt a visualization based on a picture of a bicycle. Though there is not a lot of graphs included on the Power BI example below, you can see how pictures can be used to add another element on the sheet. Given more time, one could also customize the colors of the elements in the graph.



To add a background image to your Power BI presentation, follow the rules below.

Select the background of the slide (make sure none of your visualization elements are selected).

Go to the format menu

On the format menu, you will need to navigate to the Page Background section

You will then need to click on the add image button and navigate to the directory where you have saved the image.

After the image has been selected, you are given additional options for customization which include transparency and image fit.  In the example above, I used the “fit” option for the image and have the transparency set at 100%.

Background images expand the design possibilities within Power BI.