Creating your first report in Power BI desktop:
Install Power BI desktop: Power BI desktop is a free software. You can install it from here.
Once you install Power BI desktop, launch it and you would see something like this. You can see Report pane (authoring reports), data pane (get data and shape it) and relationships pane (create relationships between datasets) as marked below. The top ribbon will give you options while working on these panes. On the right-hand side you can see visualizations that you can use (you can import more custom visuals which I will explain in separate post), filters you choose to apply on reports and Fields from your data model.
'Get Data' option in the top ribbon allows you to collect data from various sources. You could see the sources from where you can get the data, Power BI desktop supports almost all the sources that you can think of.
For examples in this post I am using Excel as source with World Population dataset downloaded from here.
Once you load the data from Excel, you can see the data in the data pane as below. But first we have to shape/transform the data. We would like to un-pivot the data and create a year column so that we can use it in various analysis of how population has grown over years etc.
To do all these transformations we have a powerful tool in Power BI suite - "Power Query". To transform using click on "Edit Queries" option.
It opens a pop up window like below and you can see lot of transformations that can be applied on your data. In my case, un-pivoting is very easy. Just select the columns you want to unpivot, in my case last 4 columns as shown below and click on 'Unpivot columns' in the top ribbon.
Just Save it and close the window. Now you should see the data in your 'Data pane' transformed to the unpivoted format and ..... your data is ready to visualize.
Visualizing the data:
Go back to the Report pane, the first icon on the left hand side as highlighted below. Now you should see your dataset in the Fields section (far right). Just drag the columns into the pane and you should see a table with your data.
You can change the visualization just by selecting the table/chart and clicking on another visualization in visualizations section. I have changed the chart to a line chart and only selected few countries for analyzing. Observe the Filters pane and others such as Axis, Legend etc. from the below screen.
Now your first sample report created in Power BI desktop is ready. You can create as many visuals as you want in this pane just by dragging the required columns again and creating other visuals and aligning them properly as below.
This is how you can create a simple report using Power BI desktop. I will cover in-depth features in the coming posts. Stay tuned!