Power BI: 5 Advanced Tips to Organize your Dashboard

Igor Comune
Microsoft Power BI
Published in
5 min readSep 3, 2023

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In this post, I’ll give you 5 tips to sleep better, or, why and how to organize your dashboards and avoid nightmares when the project complexity goes beyond our memory.

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Powerbi-desktop.jpg

Most of the dahsboards, in the beginning, they seem to be extremely easy, but … as the project continues and more demands are arrives, we can easilly lose control over it. In order to avoid it, I’ll give you the 5 tips I’d like to have received it in the beginning of my career.

Index

  1. Version Control (With GitHub)
  2. Update log
  3. Group your Measures
  4. Containerization
  5. DAX Structure

1 Version Control (With GitHub)

Why

This one, for me, is the most important tip of all. In this post I won’t teach you how to do it, because I already did it in this post:

How

Power BI — Version Control. Intro | by Igor Comune | Jul, 2023 | Medium

2 Update log

Why

A simple .txt file in the project folder can be used as a log. Most of the time is easier to read a text file than try to figure out the differences in each version you uploaded into your GitHub account.

How

Create a .txt file in your project folder with any name, but remember to keep the pattern for all your dashboard, like this: log_updates_dashboard_name

I use the following structure:

- Date
-- Tab "A"
--- Update 1, requested by: "Cthulu"


- Date
-- Tab "B"
--- Update 1, requested by: "Cthulu"

In practice:

30/08/2023
Tab - Name of the tab
- Title changes from "X" to "Y", requested by the manager "ABC"
- Visual changed from Pie to Horizontal, requested by the manager "ABC"

Tab - Another name
- Created the "Another name", requested by the manager "ABC"
- Measure 'abc' was changed to "xyz", due to error in the filter

The best thing is: in your commit you can copy the date and set it as the Summary and the Tabs and updates as the Description.

In this log file, you can type changes in measures, in titles, in colors… whatever is necessary for you to keep track of your work.

Image 1 — Example of commit with data from the Log

3 Group your Measures

Why

As bigger as the dashboard gests, more measures are added and the measure can interate between themselves. Currently I separate measures by Tab. It can be a temptation to reuse a measure but I avoid it in huge projects.

How

1 In Modeling, create a table called _measures

2 Create your measures inside this table

3 Access Model View

Image 2 — Power BI Model View — Grouping Measures

4 Select your measures with CTRL

5 Name the folder in Display Folder, in my case Pasta de Exibição.

As soon as your press enter, the folder will be create with your measures inside it.

4 Containerization and Readability

Why

This tip aims to avoid being repetitive with your visuals.

How

The Image 3, shows four red boxes indicating the same word, meaning that we are showing Sales — Total by X.

Image 3 — Example to avoid

Look at image 4, the same information but instead of using “Sales By…” I wrote “Total Sales”, as Total Sales inside a box and the visuals are inside the same box, we can understand the everything inside the box is Sales By… City, Category Name…

Image 4 — Correct Structure

Can you see that a small change made a huge difference in readability?

Image 5 — Example of Structure

It will help you a lot with your communication, instead of saying:

This is sales by X, and this is sales by Y and this is sales by Z

You can say:

Here we have all of our sales information by X, Y and Z.

5 DAX Structure

Why

All the time we have to refactor our DAX and it gets extremely annoying when it returns an error, and you see that the error was caused by omission of a dot or comma.

How

Let me show you how to avoid it with 2 examples:

test1 = 
CALCULATE(
sum(IowaLiquorSales[sale_dollars]),
filter(IowaLiquorSales,
IowaLiquorSales[city] = "Ames")
)

the test1 is correct, but if I try to remove the filter itself, take a look:

test1 = 
CALCULATE(
sum(IowaLiquorSales[sale_dollars]),
)

It returns this error:

The ‘2’ argument in the CALCULATE function is required.

If you are an attentive person , you noted that I forgt the comma in the end of the sum() line, to avoid it, instead of ending the line with comma, you should start the line with comma.

test1 = 
CALCULATE(
sum(IowaLiquorSales[sale_dollars])
,filter(IowaLiquorSales
,IowaLiquorSales[city] = "Ames")
)

And if you remove the filter, look what happens:

// Right
test1 =
CALCULATE(
sum(IowaLiquorSales[sale_dollars])
)

// Returns an error
test1 =
CALCULATE(
sum(IowaLiquorSales[sale_dollars]),
)

This type of error that most annoys me during my working day, learning this “tip” avoids some shouts and punchs with my already broken hand.

If this post was useful to you, please, like it, share it, comment on it, save it… it’ll help me a lot. ❤

Igor Comune | LinkedIn

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Igor Comune
Microsoft Power BI

An "under construction" Data Scientist with a love for numbers and analysis!