I recently completed a custom training course on Microsoft Power BI, a free software that can visualize data from almost any source. No more struggling to create nice looking visual dashboards using the charting features in Excel. What a relief!
Power BI is comprised of 3 separate products and each one has its unique features. These 3 products are Power BI Desktop, Power BI Online and Power BI Mobile. Each of these products provide slightly different features, with the Online account offering the most powerful sharing, storage & collaboration features.
Power BI Desktop is a downloadable software for your computer that allows you to move data from any type of source including txt, csv, databases, online services or Excel files into the program on your computer. Once the data has been received, the program contains a very powerful and easy to use query editor. This editor allows you to manipulate the data within Power BI so you can search and filter it to get exactly the information you wish to visualize.
Power BI Desktop contains a wide variety of visualizations that can be added to create beautiful interactive reports very easily. Create the exact dashboard visualizations you require, with additional visualizations being added automatically with updates to the program.
These reports can be saved with a pbix extension which allows you to store the reports with visualizations and the data within a single file on your computer. You can also export these reports as PDF files or upload them to another product called Power BI Online which is an online free or paid service.
The paid version of Power BI Online allows for sharing, collaboration and additional features that go beyond the free Power BI Online capabilities. This service offers the best features for team environments since it allows for full customization, storage & creation of dashboards and reports.
Power BI Mobile is exactly what you would expect, that capability to work with the software using a mobile phone.
If you work with data and need to visualize that data, it is a product that is well worth taking the time to checkout. Learn more about Microsoft Power BI.