13. Filtering Charts Using Interactions


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.

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  1. Lesson Goal (00:09)

    The goal of this lesson is to use interactions to use one chart on a report page as a filter for other charts on the same page.

  2. Types of Interaction (00:28)

    Interactions determine how the other charts on a report page react when we select a data point from another chart. On a report page with many charts, using interactions appropriately can help users obtain detailed insights in a quick and intuitive way. 

    Interactions can be seen when we select a data point from one of the charts on a report page. There are two types of interaction that we may see in the other charts on the report page. Filtering edits a chart to show only data for the selected data point. Other data is not shown in the chart. Highlighting does not change the overall shape of the chart, but highlights the amount that is relevant to the selected data point.

    The type of interaction applied to a particular chart by default depends on the chart type. For example, bar and column charts typically use highlighting by default, while line charts use filtering. A notable exception occurs when we use a slicer. A slicer will always filter the visuals on a page instead of highlighting them.

  3. Adjusting Interaction Types (02:18)

    We can edit the interactions between charts. To do this, we select a chart, and select Edit Interactions from the Format tab. We then see an icon for each other chart on the page, which indicates how they interact with the selected chart. We can choose the highlight option or the filter option. We also have the option to have no interaction between two charts.

    Using Edit Interactions, we can customize exactly how each chart interacts with every other chart on a report page. This means we can provide a highly intuitive method for users to drill down into a data set and obtain insights from the data quickly.

  4. Drawing a Shape (03:42)

    In some instances, you may want to draw attention to a particular chart in a report. For example, in our report, we have a line chart which does not interact with other charts. As a result, we want to visually separate this chart from the other charts on the page.

    One way to do this is to add a shape to the report. Shapes are simple visual objects that can be added to a report page. We can add a shape by selecting Shapes from the Home tab. Available shapes includes rectangles, lines, ovals, and others. After inserting a shape, we can format its appearance, and we can use the Format tab of the ribbon to position it in front of or behind other visuals.


Interactions determine how other charts on a page react when one is selected.

In this lesson, we'll use interactions to apply one chart on a report page as a filter for other charts on the same page. 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.

We've created a bar chart of users by salesperson, the line chart of users by month and a column chart of users by Sub-region.

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 Branscomb on our bar chart.

We can see Branscomb'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 Branscomb sold to by month.

Clearly, Branscomb sold to large companies in March April, May and December and to smaller companies for most of the rest of the year. The column chart, has highlighted the section of each column that can be attributed to Branscomb but the overall size of the columns, 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 Branscomb'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. If we unselect Mid-Atlantic, and select a point on the line chart, the other charts are highlighted.

Finally, we clear the selection in the line chart.

Select the South region in the 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 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 cause highlighting only makes sense for some visualization types. Let's say that we want our line charts 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 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 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 in 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 Insert tab on 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 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 data set. In the next lesson, we'll look at how to use the Analytics Pane to add reference lines to our charts.

Dashboards and Visualizations
Introduction to Visualizations in Power BI


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