1. Introduction to Power BI


In this lesson, we’ll introduce the concept of dashboards and discuss why Power BI is an ideal tool for creating them.

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  1. Course Outline (00:31)

    This course outlines the various products with the Power BI name. It demonstrates how to build a report, upload it to the cloud and share it with colleagues in your business.

  2. Understanding Dashboards (00:46)

    A dashboard is an easy-to-read, single screen interface that shows Key Performance Indicators (or KPIs) for a business unit. In effect, it is a series of elements, such as charts, tables, and images that provide insights into your data. 

    Dashboard provide a high-level overview of the business, and make it easy to identify trends and obtain insights from raw data. As a result, they lead to improved decision-making and better results.

  3. Creating Dashboards in Power BI (01:35)

    There are many advantages to using Power BI to create dashboards. If you have experience of creating dashboards in Excel, you will find Power BI has the following advantages:

    • Power BI is a dedicated visualization tool, so you can create detailed, insightful dashboards quickly, even if you don’t currently have advanced data analysis skills

    • Power BI connects to data from a wide variety of sources

    • Power BI can handle much larger data sets than Excel

    If you have experience of a purpose-built dashboard tool like Tableau, then you will find Power BI has the following advantages:

    • Power BI is a Microsoft product. If your company runs largely on Microsoft products, Power BI will fit in well

    • Power BI is considerably cheaper than many competitor products

    • Power BI receives frequent feature updates


In the next few courses, we're going to show you how to build Power BI dashboards that turn raw data into compelling visual insights that can empower you and your viewers. We'll look at how to build a range of visualizations, such as bar charts, tree maps, area charts and much more. We'll also look at the various formatting tools available in Power BI. In this first course, we'll run through the main products bearing the Power BI name. We'll show you how to build a report in a matter of minutes, upload it to the Power BI cloud and share it with colleagues throughout your business. Before jumping into the software, let's consider some fundamental questions. Let's start by asking what is a dashboard. A dashboard is simply an easy to read single-screen interface that shows key performance indicators for a business unit. In Power BI dashboards are effectively a collection of different visual elements, such as charts, tables, text boxes or even images and videos. Dashboards are used in a number of business contexts. They provide managers with a quick high-level overview of the business on an annual, quarterly or monthly basis.

Dashboards also make it easier to spot trends and obtain insights from raw data. Consequently, they often lead to improve decision-making and better results. So why should we use Power BI to create dashboards? If you have experience creating dashboards in Excel, then you'll find Power BI to be a significant improvement. Since Power BI is a purpose-built visualization tool, we can create detailed visualizations with great depth of insight, much more easily and quickly than we can in Excel. Furthermore, Power BI is designed to be accessible to a variety of users and doesn't require a highly technical data analysis skills. As such, you'll find that the process of creating dashboards is much easier to learn in Power BI than it is in Excel. Power BI can also connect to data sets from a wide variety of sources and can handle much larger data sets than Excel. If you're familiar with other visualization software such as Tableau or Qlik, you might be wondering what advantages Power BI offers over such tools. The first advantage of Power BI is that it's a Microsoft product. If your business currently runs Microsoft products, you'll find it particularly easy to integrate Power BI into your current software ecosystem. The second advantage is cost. Power BI desktop which is the primary visualization tool we'll use in the first few courses is completely free. The online service which we'll also use has a free version and a modestly priced paid version. Finally, Power BI receives frequent updates usually on a monthly basis. These updates are completely free. Now that you understand the general advantages of Power BI over other visualization tools, we'll introduce you to the range of Power BI products. We'll cover these products in the next lesson.

Dashboards and Visualizations
Building Your First Dashboard