Use Power BI Q&A to explore your data and create visuals
APPLIES TO: Power BI Desktop Power BI service
Sometimes the fastest way to get an answer from your data is to ask a question using natural language. The Q&A feature in Power BI lets you explore your data in your own words. The first part of this article shows how you use Q&A in dashboards in the Power BI service. The second part shows what you can do with Q&A when creating reports in either the Power BI service or Power BI Desktop. For more information, see Q&A for Power BI business users.
These articles cover using Q&A in other scenarios in Power BI:
Q&A is interactive and fun. Often one question leads to others as the visualizations reveal interesting paths to pursue. Watch Amanda demonstrate using Q&A to create visualizations, dig into those visuals, and then pin them to dashboards.
This video might use earlier versions of Power BI Desktop or the Power BI service.
Part 1: Use Q&A on a dashboard in the Power BI service
In the Power BI service, a dashboard contains tiles pinned from one or more datasets, so you can ask questions about any of the data contained in any of those datasets. To see what reports and datasets were used to create the dashboard, select More options (...) from the menu bar, and then choose See related content.
The Q&A question box is where you type your question using natural language. It's located in the upper-left corner of your dashboard. Don't see the Q&A box? See Considerations and troubleshooting in the Q&A for for Power BI business users article. Q&A recognizes the words you type and figures out where, and in which dataset, to find the answer. Q&A also helps you form your question with auto-completion, restatement, and other textual and visual aids.
The answer to your question is displayed as an interactive visualization and updates as you modify the question.
Open a dashboard and place your cursor in the question box. Even before you start typing, Q&A displays a new screen with suggestions to help you form your question. You see phrases and complete questions containing the names of the tables in the underlying datasets and might even see complete questions listed if the dataset owner has created featured questions.
You can choose one of these questions as a starting point and continue to refine the question to find a specific answer. You can also use a table name to help you word a new question.
Select from the list of questions, or begin typing your own question and select from the dropdown suggestions.
As you type a question, Q&A picks the best visualization to display your answer.
The visualization changes dynamically as you modify the question.
When you type a question, Power BI looks for the best answer using any dataset that has a tile on that dashboard. If all the tiles are from datasetA, then your answer will come from datasetA. If there are tiles from datasetA and datasetB, then Q&A searches for the best answer from those two datasets.
Be careful. If you only have one tile from datasetA and you remove it from your dashboard, Q&A will no longer have access to datasetA.
When you're happy with the result, pin the visualization to a dashboard by selecting the pin icon in the top right corner. If the dashboard was shared with you, or is part of an app, you won't be able to pin.
Part 2: Use Q&A in a report in Power BI service or Power BI Desktop
Use Q&A to explore your dataset and to add visualizations to the report and to dashboards. A report is based on a single dataset and might be blank or contain pages full of visualizations. However, just because a report is blank, doesn't mean there isn't any data for you to explore--the dataset is linked to the report and is waiting for you to explore and create visualizations. To see which dataset is being used to create a report, open the report in Power BI service Reading view and select More options (...) > See related content from the menu bar.
To use Q&A in reports, you must have edit permissions for the report and underlying dataset. In the Q&A for Power BI business users article, we refer to this as a creator scenario. If instead you're consuming a report that has been shared with you, Q&A isn't available.
In Power BI Desktop Report view, select Q&A from the Insert tab.
Power BI Desktop
A Q&A question box displays on your report canvas. In the following example, the question box displays on top of another visualization. This is fine, but it might be better to add a blank page to the report before asking a question.
Place your cursor in the question box. As you type, Q&A displays suggestions to help you form your question.
As you type a question, Q&A picks the best visualization to display your answer. The visualization changes dynamically as you modify the question.
When you have the visualization you like, select Enter. To save the visualization with the report, select File > Save.
Interact with the new visualization. It doesn't matter how you created the visualization. All of the same interactivity, formatting, and features are available.
If you've created the visualization in the Power BI service, you can even pin it to a dashboard.
Tell Q&A which visualization to use
With Q&A, not only can you ask your data to speak for itself, you can tell Power BI how to display the answer. Just add "as a <visualization type>" to the end of your question. For example, "show inventory volume by plant as a map" and "show total inventory as a card". Try it for yourself.
Considerations and troubleshooting
If you've connected to a dataset using a live connection or gateway, Q&A needs to be enabled for that dataset.
Say you've opened a report and don't see the Q&A option. If you're using the Power BI service, make sure the report is open in Editing view. If you can't open Editing view, you don't have edit permissions for that report, and you can't use Q&A with that specific report.
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