Building Your First Power View Report

Building Your First Power View Report

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Today’s guest post on Power View is from Devin Knight, a Senior BI consultant at Pragmatic Works Consulting. Previously, Devin tech edited the book Professional Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Integration Services and was an author in the books Knight's 24-Hour Trainer: Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Integration Services, Knight's Microsoft Business Intelligence 24-Hour Trainer, and SharePoint 2010 Business Intelligence 24-Hour Trainer. He has spoken at past conferences like PASS Summit, SQL Saturdays and Code Camps. Making his home in Jacksonville, FL, he is the Vice President of the local users' group (JSSUG).

Fulfilling User Needs

Developing a Power View report has been touted as being so simple that within a handful of clicks you can add rather impressive elements, like effective visualizations, to a report. This isn’t always the case with other tools in the market. The goal of this post is to walk you through Power View as if you were designing a report for the first time, and show you how simple it really is to build a Power View report.

Using the Development Environment

Before we start, it’s important to note that you will need SQL Server 2012 and SharePoint 2010 to create a Power View report. Power View also runs on Silverlight 5, which enables you to edit Power View reports in a browser window, as shown below.

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The development interface retains the familiar look and feel of Office tools. If you know how to use Excel, picking up Power View for the first time should be a breeze.

Understanding your Data

Understanding your data and what you want to achieve with it is one of the most important aspects of building a Power View report. The better a report designer understands the layout of the data model, the easier it becomes to produce insightful results. Power View is designed to help you produce fast results in an easy to understand format.

When designing PowerPivot reports with images and visualizations, you may want to consider BISM Tabular data sources for Power View reports. Shown below is a report that leverages a data set with images enabled by BISM Tabular data sources.

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Building your First Report

In this demonstration of building a basic Power View report I will be using a data set found on Microsoft’s live demo site. To follow along go here to access the blank Power View Report (this will require a Windows Live ID).

Upon launching this live example you will see a blank report in presentation view. To edit this blank report, select Edit Report in the top left of your screen.

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You can create report elements by selecting the data you would like to visualize from the data pane on the right side of your screen. It’s helpful to know how your data model is organized because you may find yourself struggling to find the fields you need otherwise.

Next, from the Product table, select Image and then use the Visualizations toolbar to set the field as Tiles. This will place the product images in slide tile view. You may need to stretch the tiles across the width and the length of the report for layout purposes.

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To capture the details of each product in the slide tile view, select a single product image and select Card from the Visualizations toolbar dropdown. Add the fields Product Name, Category, Channels, Item Group, SKU and Retail Price from the Product table. To fit all of the information you may need to resize the Card as shown below. Think of the Card as a baseball card that captures all the key information about a product.

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Next, we will add regional sales information to the report. To get the regional data to interact with the product image tiles, select a tile and pick Region Map and Region Name data elements from the Region table. From the Sales table select Revenue. This gives a tabular view of the region sales for the selected product with an image that highlights the part of the country that makes up that region. Move this table to the bottom right of the report to improve the layout of the report.

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To complete the regional view of our report, we will put together a bar chart of profitability metrics by product. Begin by selecting one of the tiles and pick the data elements Profitability from the Sales table and Wholesales Price from the Product table. Turn the new table into a chart by selecting Clustered Bar from the Visualizations toolbar. Resize and move the chart to the bottom left of the report. Lastly, name the report Product Sales Report. The final result of this first view should look like this.

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Power View reports can have multiple views, which appear as multiple pages to a user. This allows users to easily flip through multiple reports in a single Power View document. To create a new view, select the View context menu on the left side of the design surface and click New View as shown below.

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In the new view we will demo one of the most impressive visualizations in Power View –the Scatter chart. To begin, go to the Sales table and select Revenue, Quantity, and # Products, and from the Product table select Category. Once the data elements are selected, choose Scatter Chart from the visualizations toolbar to turn the table into a chart. The result is a nice scatter that shows which product categories generate the most revenue for the business. To take this chart to the next level, we could add animation to it by dragging Month from the Date table to the Play Axis of the chart. Resize the chart to fill the entire report view and hit the play button on the bottom left to view product category performance over time. Lastly, name the report Sales Analysis by Month.

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With this report complete, you can view it as a user by selecting Full Screen under the Home tab of the toolbar. This allows you to flip through multiple views of the report and preview the report views by selecting the button in the bottom left of your screen.

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Hovering over the views, you get a larger preview on the top report. When you select a report, it appears in full screen mode.

Going through this demo should have given you the idea of how with just a few clicks, you can create impactful, insight-driving reports with Power View.

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