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In Power BI, the charts on a report page are not independent of each other. You can obtain deep and detailed insights quickly using interactions. In this lesson, we’ll learn how interactions work and how to edit them.
- Interactions allow you to use one chart as a filter for the other charts on a page
- You can choose which charts interacts with other charts, and customize the type of interaction between each chart
Types of Interaction
- Filtering: Filtering a chart changes the chart so that it shows only the data for the selected data point
- Highlighting: Highlighting does not change the chart as a whole but highlights the segment of each bar/column etc. relating to the selected data point
In this lesson, we'll cover interactions. Interactions determine how other charts on a page react when one is selected. When you have several visualizations on a single page, interactions can make the difference between a disparate collection of charts and an integrated, interactive, report or dashboard. We've created a new page in our report to demonstrate the available interaction options.
This new page focuses on analyzing the number of users of our company's software.
Note that we've created a bar chart for users by salesperson, a line chart of users by month, and a column chart of users by subregion.
We've also added a slicer for region.
There are two kinds of interactions in Power BI, filtering and highlighting. To demonstrate the effects of both, let's select Branscome on our bar chart.
We can see Branscome's bar is highlighted, and the other two charts have changed.
Our line chart has been filtered and now only shows the number of users Branscome sold to by month.
Clearly, Branscome sold to large companies in March, April, May, and December, and to smaller companies through much of the rest of the year.
Moving on, the column chart has highlighted the section of each bar that can be attributed to Branscome, but the overall size of the bars remains the same.
We can see that filtering changes the shape of the chart entirely, while highlighting keeps the overall shape intact and highlights the relevant pieces of the chart.
Let's click out of Branscome's bar to reset our visuals.
If we click the Mid-Atlantic column from our sub-region chart, we see that the line chart is filtered, and the bar chart is highlighted.
By contrast, if we un-select Mid-Atlantic and then select a point on the line chart, the other visuals do not change at all.
Finally, we'll select the South region in our slicer and see that all the visuals are filtered.
Let's deselect South to return the report to its original state.
Note that we can change the way our charts interact. To that end, we'll select the bar chart, navigate to the format tab in the ribbon, and select edit interactions.
We can now control how each of the other visuals react when we select a salesperson from our bar chart. At the top of the column chart, you can see three symbols for the three interaction options, filter, highlight, and no impact.
Highlight is currently selected. Notice that the line chart and slicer do not have a highlight option, as highlighting only makes sense for some visualization types.
Let's say that we want our line chart to remain unchanged when we select points from our other visuals. We also want our bar and column charts to filter each other instead of highlighting. We'll set the column chart to filter and the line chart to no impact.
Next, we'll select the column chart, set the bar chart to filter and the line chart to no impact again.
Finally, we'll select the slicer and set the line chart to no impact one last time.
Now when we select specific salespeople on the bar chart, the column chart is filtered, and the line chart stays the same.
Likewise, when we select a value in the slicer, only the bar and column charts are filtered.
The line chart now behaves differently to the other charts on the page.
To make this clear to users, we'll put a box around the line chart.
We could do this by creating a border in the format section of the visualizations pane. But for this lesson, we'll demonstrate the process of adding a shape. We'll navigate to the home tab in the ribbon, select shapes, and then rectangle.
We'll now navigate to the format shape pane, select fill, and set transparency to 100%. We'll then drag the rectangle over the line chart and resize it.
Next, we'll navigate to the format tab on the ribbon, select send backwards, and then send to back.
As we can see, interactions allow us to effectively use one chart to filter another chart. This provides an intuitive way to drill down into your data and quickly discover insights at a deep level, even with a large and broad dataset. In the next lesson, we'll look at how to use the analytics pane to add reference lines to our charts.