Power BI Tutorial

Power BI User interface


In our previous article, we learned How to download and Install Power BI Desktop on Windows machine. In this article, we will learn about Power BI Desktop User Interface. First, we need to launch the Power BI.

Launch Power BI using the Start Menu

Windows 10

To launch the Power BI Desktop, click on Start. It will open the start menu with a large list of apps. To narrow down our search, click on any visible first letter. It brings up a full menu of all the letters in the alphabet and includes symbols and numbers. We are interested in launching the Power BI Desktop. Click on the letter P (P for Power) and then search for Power BI shortcut. Click on the Power BI shortcut to launch Power BI.

Windows 8.1

To launch the Power BI Desktop, click on Start. It will open the menu. To explore all the installed apps, click on all apps. It will open a large list of installed apps. Scroll and search for Power BI Desktop icon. Click on the Power BI Desktop icon to launch Power BI.
Note: If for Windows 8.1 Power BI Microsoft Store app is also installed don’t click on the same. 

Launch Power BI Desktop from the desktop or toolbar shortcut

If you have a desktop or toolbar shortcut, you can use the same to launch the Power BI Desktop.

Power BI User Interface

If your system is connected to an internet connection, then maybe you can see a “Welcome to Power BI Desktop” dialog. For the time being, I am not interested to create an account. To skip this dialog, let select “Already have a Power BI account? Sign in”. It will open Sign in dialog. You can close the Sign In dialog.

Why we are not registering or performing a sign in? 

To create a Power BI account, you need a school or organization email ID. If you have one, you can use it. But I don’t have an organization email ID (We will use the vlmeonn.com email ID later in our tutorial series). If we try to use a Gmail email ID, we will receive the following error message at the time of login.

Close the above sign in dialog.

Start Dialog or Start Screen

Again, we have Sign dialog. But this time it is different. In this dialog, we have three different sections. As shown in the above image in Section 1 you can find an option to Get Data by creating a new Data Source connection. Use recent data source. And the list of previously opened Power BI reports.  Section 2 is in the middle. Here we have an option to perform sign in using an organization email id. Following image shows the start dialog when you logged in. 

On the right, we have Section 3 with some quick URLs. In the quick URLs, we have following URLs “WHAT’S NEW”, “POWER BI BLOG”, “FORUM”, and “TUTORIALS”.
Let’s close the start dialog. 

Application Title Bar

On the top, we have the Application Title Bar. On the left, we have quick buttons to save, undo and redo. In the center, we have our report name. Right now, it is untitled. On the right, we have the option to sign in. In the following image, we combined application toolbar for Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

Power BI Ribbons

Following are the different ribbons are available at the time of writing this article.
Home Ribbon: On the home toolbar we can find options such as Cut, Copy, Paste, Get Data, Edit Queries, Refresh and so on. We will explore more about all the available options in our upcoming articles.

View Ribbon: On the view toolbar, we have options such as Show Gridlines, Snap Objects to Grid, Lock Objects. We need this option to arrange the different visual elements on the report page.

Modeling Ribbon: On the modeling toolbar, we have options for data modeling such as create the relationship, New measure, New Column, New Table, and others.

Help Ribbon: Finally, we have help toolbar, here we can find the links for help, tutorials, and others.

Format Ribbon: By default, it is hidden, visible only when we select a visualization. It is used to format the visualizations.

Data/ Drill Ribbon: By default, it is hidden, visible only when we select a visualization. It is used to Drill up and Drill-down operation on visualization elements. 


Note: We have some more hidden ribbons we will discuss about other ribbons in our other articles

Power BI Tabs

Below the toolbars, on the left, we have three different tabs. Following are the different tab details
Report: By default, the report tab is selected. It is used to create the visualization in your report’s pages. For the report tab, Home, View, Modelling and Help ribbons are active. 

Data: Below the report tab, we have the data tab. Here we can edit or transform our imported data.  Currently, we didn’t have any data, so we can’t explore the available option on the data tab. For the data tab only Home, Modeling and Help ribbons are active.

Relationship: Relationship is the last tab in our list. It is used to create a relationship between multiple data tables. We will learn more about the relationship in our article, which is dedicated to Joins, types of Joins in Power BI.

Report Page

If the report tab is not active, select the report tab. In the center, we have our reports page. It is our main working area. Here we can add our visualizations or visual elements. Visual elements include Graphs, charts, maps and any other available in Power BI. At the bottom, we have options to add new report pages. It is like adding new workbook in excel. 


Visualization section is available in the right pane. At visualizations section, you can find all the available Power BI visualizations (Graphs, Charts, and other). You can add one or more visualization on the report page. As shown in the following image we added few visualizations. Again, we don’t have any data to edit the visualizations.

Values Filters, and Drill through

Below the visualizations, we have values, Filters (page level and report-level filters), and Drill through.

Style and Formation

Below visualizations, we can also find the options to change the style for the report and its elements.


On the right, we have fields pane. On the Fields pane, we can find all the available data tables and fields. In the Fields pane at the top, we have a search box to find any specific data table or column. Currently, it is blank. To add any data table and columns, we need to create a new data source or in other words, we need to get the data.

We are done with the Power BI desktop user interface. But currently, we are not able to see all the feature for Power BI. We will explore more about Microsoft Power BI User interface in our other articles. For example, in our next article, we will learn How to create a Data Source or How to get data from a flat file. For our first data source or the get data operation, will use a very simple CSV file. After importing the data, we explore more about visualizations, fields, report and data table.

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