Use the ribbon in Power BI Desktop

Power BI Desktop has revised its ribbon to better align its appearance and experience with other Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Office.

Screenshot of the new ribbon in Power BI Desktop.

Features of the ribbon

The benefits of the ribbon are intended to make the experience across Power BI Desktop and other Microsoft products easy and familiar.

These benefits can be grouped into the following categories:

  • Search bar - The ribbon includes a search experience similar to the search available in other Microsoft products. When you select the search bar, Power BI suggests actions based on the current state of your report. As you type, search results are updated and buttons are provided to offer help or next steps.

    Screenshot of the Power BI Desktop window, highlighting the new search bar.

  • Improved look, feel, and organization - Icons and functionality in the updated Power BI Desktop ribbon are aligned to the look, feel, and organization of ribbon items found in Office applications.

    Screenshot of the Power BI Desktop window, which shows the improved search bar.

  • An intuitive Themes gallery - The Themes gallery, found in the View ribbon, has the familiar look and feel of the PowerPoint themes gallery. The images in the ribbon show what the theme changes will look like if applied to your report, such as the color combinations and fonts.

    Screenshot showing the new themes gallery.

  • Dynamic ribbon content based on your view - In the old ribbon for Power BI Desktop, icons or commands that weren't available were grayed out, creating a less-than-optimal experience. With the updated ribbon, icons are dynamically displayed and arranged so that you always know which options are available to you in context.

  • A single-line ribbon, when collapsed, saves you space - Another benefit of the updated ribbon is the ability to collapse the ribbon itself into a single line, dynamically displaying ribbon items based on your context.

    Screenshot showing the new single-line ribbon.

  • Keytips to navigate and select buttons - To help navigate the ribbon, you can press Alt to activate keytips. Once activated, you can press the shown keys on your keyboard to navigate.

    Screenshot showing the new keytips on the ribbon.

  • Custom format strings - In addition to setting custom format strings in the Properties pane, you can also set them in the ribbon. Select the measure or column you want to customize and a Measure tools or Column tools contextual tab appears, depending on your selection. In that tab, you can type your custom format string directly into the dropdown box.

    Screenshot showing the new custom format strings.

  • Accessibility - The title bar, ribbon, and file menu are fully accessible. Press Ctrl + F6 to navigate to the ribbon section. There you can use Tab to move between the top and bottom bars and use arrow keys to move between elements.

In addition to those visible changes, an updated ribbon also allows for future updates to Power BI Desktop, and its ribbon, such as the following:

  • The creation of more flexible and intuitive controls in the ribbon, such as the visuals gallery
  • The addition black and dark gray Office themes to Power BI Desktop
  • An improved accessibility

There are all sorts of data you can connect to using Power BI Desktop. For more information on data sources, check out the following resources: