Interact with visuals in reports, dashboards, and apps

APPLIES TO: Applies to.Power BI service for business users Does not apply to.Power BI service for designers & developers Does not apply to.Power BI Desktop Applies to.Requires Pro or Premium license

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

Visuals are found on dashboards, in reports, and can be created on-the-fly using Power BI Q&A. When a designer creates a visual in a report, they can pin that visual to a dashboard. A visual on a dashboard is called a tile. This dashboard has eight tiles.

Dashboard with tiles


We recommend first reading the overview topic Power BI basic concepts for business users 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 the colleague is going to use the report or dashboard. For example, a developer may be assigned different permissions than a business user.

The most common tasks for a business user are listed in the table below, 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.

For many of these options, your 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.

Title dropdown showing owner


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 on the fly. 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. To learn more about Q&A, see Q&A for business users.

Task On a dashboard In a report In Q&A
Add comments to a visual for yourself or start a conversation with colleagues about the visual. yes yes no
Open and explore the report where the visual was created. yes na no
View a list of the filters and slicers that are affecting the visual. 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 na na
Create a visual in Q&A (for exploration, you won't be able to save it). yes if designer has added Q&A to the report yes
Ask Power BI to look for interesting facts or trends in the visual's data for you. These automatically generated visuals are called insights. yes, for tiles no no
View just one visual at a time using focus mode. yes, for tiles yes, for visuals na
Look up the last time the visual was refreshed. yes yes na
View just one visual at a time, without borders or nav panes, using full screen mode. yes yes by default
Print. 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
Cross-filter and cross-highlight other visuals on the page. no yes na
Show the data used to create the visual. no yes no
Change the way the visual is sorted. no yes can change sort by rewording the question
Add a spotlight to a visual. no yes no
Export to Excel. yes yes no
Create an alert to notify you when a value exceeds a threshold you've set. yes no no
Cross filter and cross highlight the other visuals on the page. no yes na
Drill a visual that has a hierarchy. no yes no

Next steps

Back to Basic concepts for business users
Select a visual to open a report
Types of visuals available in Power BI