Interact with visuals in reports, dashboards, and apps

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

At its most basic, a *visualization (or visual) is a chart built by Power BI designers using the data in reports and datasets.

Visuals are found on dashboards, in reports and can be created instantly using Power BI Q&A. When a designer creates a visual in a report, they can pin it to a dashboard. For more information, see Interact with visuals in reports, dashboards, and apps. The following example shows a dashboard with eight tiles.

Screenshot of a Power BI service window showing a dashboard in the main pane.


We recommend first reading the overview topic Basic concepts for the Power Bi service business user before reading this more-detailed content.

What can I do with visuals

Visuals are created by report and dashboard designers and shared with colleagues. The designer assigns different permissions to their colleagues, depending on how each colleague will use the report or dashboard. For example, a developer can be assigned different permissions than a business user.

The following table lists the most common tasks for a business user with links to step-by-step instructions. Business users have many options for interacting with visuals to uncover insights and make data-driven business decisions.

The administrator or the designer can disable your ability to see or use these features. And some of these features only work on specific visual types. If you have any questions, contact your administrator or the owner of the report or dashboard. To find the owner, select the dashboard or report dropdown.

Screenshot of the title dropdown with the expand icon and contact name highlighted


But first, a word about Q&A. Q&A is Power BI's natural language search tool. You type a question using natural language, and Q&A answers the question in the form of a visual. Q&A is a way business users can create their own visuals instantly. However, the visuals you create with Q&A cannot be saved. But, if there's something specific you want to learn from the data, and the designer didn't include it in a report or on a dashboard, Q&A is a great option. For more information, see Q&A for Power BI business users.

Task On a dashboard In a report In Q&A
Add comments to a visual or start a conversation with colleagues about it. Yes Yes No
Open and explore the report where the visual was created. Yes n/a No
View all the filters and slicers affecting the visual. Yes, if you open in focus mode. Yes No
Open and explore a visual in Q&A (if the designer used Q&A to create the visual). Yes n/a n/a
Explore and create a visual in Q&A (visuals created with Q&A can't be saved). Yes If designer has added Q&A to the report. Yes
Use Power BI to find interesting facts or trends—automatically generated visuals are called insights. Yes, for tiles. No No
View one visual at a time using focus mode. Yes, for tiles. Yes, for visuals. n/a
Check the visual's timestamp and see the latest refresh time. Yes Yes n/a
View one visual at a time, without borders or nav panes, using full screen mode. Yes Yes By default
How to Print from the Power BI service. Yes Yes No
Dig into the visual by adding and modifying visual filters. No Yes No
Hover over a visual to reveal additional details and tooltips. Yes Yes Yes
How visuals cross-filter and cross-highlight each other in a Power BI report. No Yes n/a
Show the data used to create the visual. No Yes No
Change the way the visual is sorted. No Yes You can change sort by rewording the question.
Add a spotlight to a visual. No Yes No
Export data to Excel from a Power BI dashboard tile or a report visual. Yes Yes No
Create an alert to notify you when a value crosses a limit you've set. Yes No No
Cross filter and cross highlight the other visuals on the page. No Yes n/a
Drill a visual that has a hierarchy. No Yes No

Next steps