Q&A for Power BI business users

APPLIES TO: Applies to.Power BI service for business users Applies to.Power BI service for designers & developers Does not apply to.Power BI Desktop Applies to.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 intuitive, natural language capabilities and receive answers in the form of charts and graphs. Q&A is different from a search engine -- Q&A only provides results about the data in Power BI datasets.

Which visualization does Q&A use?

Q&A picks the best chart or graph based on the data being displayed. Sometimes data in the underlying dataset is defined as a certain type or category and this helps Q&A know how to display it. For example, if data is defined as a date type, it is 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 also tell Q&A which visual to use by adding it to your question. But keep in mind that it may not always be 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'll 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'll be able to use Q&A to explore data but won't be able to save any visualizations created with Q&A.

question box

You'll also find Q&A on reports, if the report designer added an interactive Q&A visual.

Q&A visual

Q&A on dashboards

Power BI Q&A is available with a Pro or Premium license. Q&A in the Power BI mobile apps and Q&A with Power BI Embedded are covered in separate articles. At the current time, Power BI Q&A only supports answering natural language queries asked in English, although there is a preview available for Spanish that can be enabled by your Power BI administrator.

q&a created treemap

Asking the question is just the beginning. Have fun traveling through your data refining or expanding your question, uncovering trust-worthy new information, zeroing in on details and zooming out for a broader view. You'll be delighted by the insights and discoveries you make.

The experience is truly interactive…and fast! Powered by an in-memory storage, response is almost instantaneous.

The Q&A visual in Power BI reports

In Power BI reports, there is a specific type of interactive visual called the Q&A visual. When a report designer adds this visual to a report, report end users can ask natural language questions and create a new report visual that represents the answer to that question. The Q&A visual behaves like other visual in a report, it can be cross-filtered/cross-highlighted and also supports bookmarks and comments.

You can identify a Q&A visual by its question box across the top. This is where you'll enter or type questions using natural language. 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

Considerations and troubleshooting

Question: I don't see Q&A on this dashboard.
Answer 1: If you don't see a question box, first check your settings. To do this, select the cog icon in the upper right corner of your Power BI toolbar, or from the More options (...) dropdown menu.
cog icon

Then choose Settings > Dashboards. Make sure there is a check mark next to Show the Q&A search box on this dashboard.
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 report name drop down

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 do this directly 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 really well, they can also come up with helpful questions and add them to the Q&A suggested questions.

Display contact information

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Next steps

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