Create a report from an Excel file in the Power BI service

APPLIES TO: Power BI Desktop Power BI service

You've read Reports in Power BI and now you want to create your own. There are different ways to create a report. In this article, we start by creating a basic report in the Power BI service from an Excel file. Once you understand the basics of creating a report, check out the Next steps at the end for more advanced report topics.


Import the Excel file

This method of creating a report starts with a file and a blank report canvas. If you want to follow along, download the Retail Analysis sample Excel file and save it to your computer or to OneDrive for work or school.

  1. In the navigation pane, select My Workspace.

    Screenshot of selecting My Workspace.

  2. From the bottom of the nav pane, select Get data.

    Get data

  3. Select Files and navigate to the location where you saved the Retail Analysis sample.

    select Files

  4. For this exercise, select Import.

    select Import

  5. Select Open.

    Once the Excel file is imported, it's listed as a dataset in the workspace list.

  6. Select More options (...) next to the dataset, and select Create report.

    Screenshot of selecting Create report.

  7. The report editor opens.

    Screenshot of the report editor.


Select the menu icon to hide the navigation pane, to give you more room.

Screenshot of Select the menu icon to hide the navigation pane.

Add a Radial Gauge to the report

Now that our dataset is imported, let's start answering some questions. Our Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) wants to know how close we are to meeting this year's sales goals. A Gauge is a good visualization choice for displaying this type of information.

  1. In the Fields pane, select Sales > This Year Sales > Value.

    bar chart in report editor

  2. Convert the visual to a Gauge by selecting the Gauge template Gauge icon from the Visualizations pane.

    Gauge visual in report editor

  3. Drag Sales > This Year Sales > Goal to the Target value well. Looks like we're very close to our goal.

    Gauge visual with Goal as Target value

  4. Now would be a good time to save your report.

    File menu

Add an area chart and slicer to the report

Our CMO has some additional questions for us to answer. They'd like to know how sales this year compare to last year. And, they'd like to see the findings by district.

  1. First, let's make some room on our canvas. Select the Gauge and move it into the top-right corner. Then grab and drag one of the corners and make it smaller.

  2. Deselect the gauge. In the Fields pane, select Sales > This Year Sales > Value and select Sales > Last Year Sales.

    report editor with Gauge and bar chart

  3. Convert the visual to an Area chart by selecting the Area chart template chart icon from the Visualizations pane.

  4. Select Time > Period to add it to the Axis well.

    report editor with Area chart active

  5. To sort the visualization by time period, select the ellipses and choose Sort by Period.

  6. Now let's add the slicer. Select an empty area on the canvas and choose the Slicer Slicer icon template. We now have an empty slicer on our canvas.

    report canvas

  7. From the Fields pane, select District > District. Move and resize the slicer.

    Report editor, add District

  8. Use the slicer to look for patterns and insights by District.

    video of using slicer

Continue exploring your data and adding visualizations. When you find especially interesting insights, pin them to a dashboard.

Next steps