Drill mode in a visual in Power BI
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This article shows how to drill down in a visual in the Microsoft Power BI service. Using drill down and drill up on your data points, you can explore in-depth details about your data.
Drill requires a hierarchy
When a visual has a hierarchy, you can drill down to reveal additional details. For example, you might have a visual that looks at sports competition medal count by a hierarchy made up of sport, discipline, and event. By default, the visual would show medal count by sport: gymnastics, skiing, aquatics, and so on. But, because it has a hierarchy, selecting one of the visual elements (like a bar, line, or bubble), would display an increasingly more-detailed picture. Selecting the aquatics element would show you data for swimming, diving, and water polo. Selecting the diving element would show you details for springboard, platform, and synchronized diving events.
Dates are a unique type of hierarchy. Report designers often add date hierarchies to visuals. A common date hierarchy is one that contains year, quarter, month, and day.
Figure out which visuals can be drilled
Not sure which Power BI visuals contain a hierarchy? Hover over a visual. If you see a combination of these drill controls at the top, your visual has a hierarchy.
Learn how to drill down and up
In this example we're using a treemap that has a hierarchy made up of territory, city, postal code, and store name. The treemap, before drilling, looks at total units sold this year by territory. Territory is the top level of the hierarchy.
Two ways to access the drill features
You have two ways for accessing the drill-down, drill-up, and expand features for visuals that have hierarchies. Try them both, and use the one that you enjoy the most.
First way: hover over a visual to see and use the icons. Turn on the drill-down feature first by selecting the downward arrow. The grey background lets you know that the drill-down option is active.
Second way: right-click a visual to reveal and use the menu.
Drill down all fields at once
You have several ways to drill into your visual. Selecting the double arrow drill-down icon takes you to the next level in the hierarchy. If you're looking at the Territory level for Kentucky and Tennessee, you can drill down to city level for both states, then postal code level for both states, and, finally, the store name level for both states. Each step in the path shows you new information.
Select the drill-up icon until you get back to "Total units this year by territory".
Expand all fields at once
Expand adds an additional hierarchy level to the current view. So if you're looking at the Territory level, you can expand all current leaves in the tree at the same time. Your first drill adds city data for both KY and TN. The next drill adds postal code data for both KY and TN, and keeps city data as well. Each step in the path shows you the same information and adds on one level of new information.
Drill down one field at a time
Select the drill-down icon to turn it on .
Now you have the option of drilling down one field at a time by selecting a visual element. Examples of visual elements are: bar, bubble, and leaf.
If you don't turn on the drill-down option, selecting a visual element (like a bar, bubble, or leaf) won't drill down. Instead, it will cross-filter the other charts on the report page.
Select the leaf for TN. Your treemap now shows all the cities and territories in Tennessee that have a store.
At this point, you can:
Continue drilling down for Tennessee.
Drill down for a particular city in Tennessee.
Let's continue to drill down one field at a time. Select Knoxville, TN. Your treemap now shows the postal code for your store in Knoxville.
Notice that the title changes as you drill down and back up again.
And drill down one more field. Select postal code 37919 and drill down to store name.
For this particular data, drilling down all levels at once may not be interesting. Let's try expanding instead.
Expand all and expand one field at a time
Having a treemap that shows us only a postal code or only a store name isn't informative. So let's expand down one level in the hierarchy.
First, drill back up to the postal code level.
With the treemap active, select the expand down icon . Your treemap now shows two levels of the hierarchy: postal code and store name.
To see all four hierarchy levels of data for Tennessee, select the drill-up arrow until you reach the second level, Total units this year by territory and city.
Make sure the drill-down option is still turned on, and select the expand down icon . Your treemap now shows the same number of leaves (boxes), but each leaf has additional detail. Instead of only showing city and state, it now also shows us postal code.
Select the expand down icon one more time to display all four hierarchy levels of detail for Tennessee on your treemap. Hover over a leaf to see even more detail.
Show the data as you drill
Use Show as a table to get a look behind the scenes. Each time you drill or expand, Show as a table displays the data being used to build the visual. This may help you understand how hierarchies, drill, and expand work together to build visuals.
In the upper-right corner, select More actions (...), and then select Show as a table.
Power BI opens the treemap so that it fills the canvas. The data that makes up the treemap displays below the visual.
With the visual alone in the canvas, continue drilling. Watch the data in the table change to reflect the data being used to create the treemap. The following table shows the results of drilling down all fields at once from territory to store name. The first table represents the top level of the hierarchy, the treemap showing two leaves, one for KY and one for TN. The next three tables represent the treemap's data as you drill down all levels at once--from territory to city to postal code to store name.
Notice that the totals are the same for City, PostalCode, and Name. Matching totals won't always be the case. But for this data, there's only one store in each postal code and in each city.
Considerations and limitations
By default, drilling won't filter other visuals in a report. However, the report designer can change this default behavior. As you drill, look to see if the other visuals on the page are cross-filtering or cross-highlighting.
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