Power BI - Use Bookmarks for Chart information

Do you also regularly get the question from customers about which data the chart shows and what the definitions are of this data? I do. The October update from Power BI Desktop includes Bookmarks (preview). How can you use bookmarks in your dashboard to answer those questions in a user friendly way?

Bookmarks in Power BI 

Bookmarks enables you to save interesting states of your report. A state can be saved inside your report as a bookmark. These bookmarks can be helpful to tell a story to a customer (like a PowerPoint presentation) and allow you to navigate through the report or to store important analyzes. You can also use a state (bookmark) to use two different visuals for the same data, for example a table and a column chart. Using a button (self-made images), you can switch from visual. In this post we will show you how to combine a chart and related information using bookmarks.

Before we get started, it is important to know that Power BI Desktop is now available in the Windows Store. If you install this via the Windows Store, your Power BI Desktop will always be up to date and you no longer have to manually download and install a new version every month. A big advantage.

Windows Store - Power BI Desktop

1) Create the Report (images)
First, make sure you have turned on the preview feature 'Bookmarks' in the menu. Go to Options and settings and click on Options. On the left (Global) you see Preview features, click on this. Select the bookmark feature and save your settings. You may have to restart Power BI Desktop.

Power BI Desktop - Turn on preview features

We use the same report from an earlier post. In this report, we have four visuals and three of them are charts. We want to show some information about the chart 'Total Sales and Profit per Month' in the upper left corner.

First, we insert a self made black question mark image to the upper right corner of the chart. This will be default look of the report (and will be the first bookmark later on). Now we want to show the information of the chart. Therefore we insert another question mark image on the same spot, a gray one. The black question mark is not visible anymore. Last, we insert a text box on the same spot as the chart. The chart will not be visible now. This text box contains information about the report and you can also add a link for additional information. The report now shows us information about the chart (screenshot 2).

Power BI Desktop - Add all the visuals to the report

2) Create the Bookmarks
We want to create interaction between those two states, because now only the last visuals (with information about the chart) are visible in the report. For this we need the bookmarks.

The first bookmark is the state of the original report, with the chart. Note that this state has a black question mark. For this bookmark, we have to hide the other visuals. In this case, the gray question mark image and the text box with information. Go to the 'View' menu and select the 'Selection Pane'. On the right side the 'Selection' pane will appear. Deselect the gray question mark image and text box in 'Selection'. Now we see the first original state again. We want to save this state by adding a bookmark. Go to 'View' and select the 'Bookmarks Pane'. On the right the 'Bookmarks' pane appears. Click on 'Add' and give the bookmark a suitable name.

The second bookmark must contain the information about the chart. Open the 'Selection Pane' again make the gray question mark image and text box visible again. Now hide the chart 'Total Sales and Profit per Month' and the black question mark image. Save this as a new bookmark.

Finally, when we click on the black question mark, we must ensure that we will be redirected to the information state and then back to the default state (by clicking the gray question mark). Click on the first bookmark called 'Home (overview)' and select black question mark image. you see a new option called 'Link'. Turn this on, choose 'Bookmark' as type and select the bookmark 'Chart 1 information (selected)'. Now select the second bookmark and follow the same steps, but now you select the gray question mark and you link this image to the first bookmark 'Home (overview)'.

Power BI Desktop - Create the bookmarks

First, you have to create all the visuals in your report and then you can create bookmarks in combination with the selection pane to show or hide those visuals for a specific bookmark. Otherwise, when you first create a bookmark of the original state and then add new visuals for the second bookmark, the first bookmark will also inherit those new visuals.

3) Result
We will now watch the result in the Power BI service. Open the published report and click on the black question mark. The information about the chart is now displayed instead of the chart it self. A new click on the gray question mark will bring you back to the original report with the chart. It works!

Power BI Service - Result

Bookmarks View
There is a new feature in the 'View' menu, the 'Bookmarks pane'. It is below the already existing 'Selection pane'. Turn this feature on and the 'Bookmarks' pane appears on the right. Click on 'View' in 'Bookmarks' and you will see a Bookmark bar below. In this bar you can switch between the bookmarks. Enter the full screen mode and it looks like a PowerPoint presentation with different slides. Cool!

Power BI Service - Bookmarks View

Power BI Desktop
You can also open the bookmarks view in Power BI Desktop to make sure it works before publish the report. Open the 'Bookmarks pane' as before and click on the same 'View' button. It works the same as in the Power BI service.

You can download the Power BI report here.

In this post you saw how to customize your dashboard using bookmarks. This is one of the many ways to use them, besides presentation or storing important analyzes. With this, you do not have to refer your users to another location for associated documentation. Also, what I see in practice as well, an information page (sort of landings page) is not necessary anymore.

Since this is a preview, there will be more features in the next versions. This post describes the updates and improvements related to the bookmarking feature, released in December 2017.

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