Q&A for Power BI business users

APPLIES TO: Power BI service for business users Power BI service for designers & developers Power BI Desktop Requires Pro or Premium license

What is Q&A?

Sometimes the fastest way to get an answer from your data is to ask a question using natural language. For example, "what were total sales last year."

Use Q&A to explore your data using natural language capabilities and receive answers in the form of charts and graphs. Unlike a search engine, Q&A only provides results about the data in Power BI datasets.

Which visualizations does Q&A use?

Q&A picks the best chart or graph based on the data displayed. Sometimes data is defined as a certain type or category, telling Q&A how to display it. For example, if data is defined as a date type, it's more likely to be displayed as a line chart. Data that is categorized as a city is more likely to be displayed as a map.

You can tell Q&A which visual to use by adding it to your question. But keep in mind that it isn't always possible for Q&A to display the data using the visual type you requested. Q&A will prompt you with a list of workable visual types.

Where can I use Q&A?

You can find Q&A on dashboards in the Power BI service, and at the bottom of the dashboard in Power BI mobile. Unless the designer has given you edit permissions, you can use Q&A to explore data but won't be able to save any visualizations created with Q&A.

Screenshot of Ask a question about your data in a red box on the visual dashboard.

Q&A is available on reports, if the report designer added an interactive Q&A visual.

Screenshot of the Q&A question box highlighted by a red box on the report.

Q&A on dashboards

Q&A is available with a Pro or Premium license. Q&A virtual analyst in iOS apps and Q&A in Power BI embedded analytics are covered in separate articles. Power BI Q&A only supports answering natural language queries in English, although there's a preview available for Spanish that can be enabled by your Power BI administrator.

Screenshot of the Q&A query for revenue by region as a treemap.

The Q&A visual in Power BI reports

A report designer can add a specific type of interactive visual called the Q&A visual. Power BI report end users can ask natural language questions and create a new report visual that represents the answer to the question. The Q&A visual behaves like any other visual in a report. Cross-filter, cross-highlight, bookmarks, and comments are enabled.

Q&A visuals have a question box across the top of the visual. You type your question into the question box and Q&A responds with a visual. The Q&A visual can be used over and over again to ask questions about your data. When you leave the report, the Q&A visual resets to its default.

Screenshot of default Q&A visual identified by the question box at the top.

Considerations and troubleshooting

Question: I don't see Q&A on this dashboard.

Answer 1: If you don't see a question box, check your settings. Select the Settings icon in the upper right corner of your Power BI toolbar, or from the More options (...) drop-down menu. Screenshot of the Power BI toolbar with a red box highlight around the settings icon.

Choose Settings > Dashboards. Make sure there's a check mark next to Show the Q&A search box on this dashboard. Screenshot of Settings Dashboards enabling Q&A settings for dashboard.

Answer 2: Sometimes you won't have access to the settings. If the dashboard owner or your administrator turned Q&A off, check with them to see if it's OK to turn it back on. To look up the owner, select the name of the dashboard from the top menu bar.

Screenshot of the top menu bar on a report with the drop-down featuring the report admin name.

Question: I'm not getting the results I'd like to see when I type a question.

Answer: Select the option to contact the report or dashboard owner. You can find the report or dashboard owner from the Q&A dashboard page or the Q&A visual. Or, you can look up the owner from the Power BI header. There are many things the owner can do to improve the Q&A results. For example, the owner can rename columns in the dataset to use terms that are easily understood (CustomerFirstName instead of CustFN). Since the owner knows the dataset, they can also come up with helpful questions and add them to the Q&A suggested questions.

Screenshot of Display contact information.


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Next steps

To learn how to ask your own natural language questions and create answers in the form of visuals, see the Q&A Tutorial.