Teach Q&A to understand questions and terms in Power BI Q&A

APPLIES TO: Power BI Desktop  Power BI service

In the Teach Q&A section of Q&A setup, you train Q&A to understand natural-language questions and terms that it hasn't recognized. To begin, you submit a question that contains a word or words that Q&A didn't recognize. Q&A then prompts you to define that term. You enter either a filter or a field name that corresponds to what that word represents. Q&A then reinterprets the original question. If you're happy with the results, you save them.


The Teach Q&A functionality only supports import mode. It also doesn't yet support connecting to an on-premises or Azure Analysis Services data source. This limitation should be removed in subsequent releases of Power BI.

Start to teach Q&A

  1. In Power BI Desktop, on the Modeling ribbon, select Q&A Setup > Teach Q&A.

    Screenshot of the Teach Q and A page with a question entered in the search box.

  2. Type a sentence with a term that Q&A doesn't recognize and select Submit.

  3. Select the red double-underlined word.

    Q&A offers suggestions and prompts you to provide the correct definition of the term.

  4. After Define the terms Q&A didn't understand, provide a definition.

    Screenshot of the Teach Q and A page with a term selected and defined.

  5. Select Save to preview the updated visual.

  6. Enter the next question, or select the X to close.

Your report consumers won't see this change until you publish the report back to the service.

Define nouns and adjectives

You can teach Q&A two types of terms:

  • Nouns
  • Adjectives

Define a noun synonym

When working with data, you might have names of fields that could be referred to by alternative names. An example could be 'Sales'. Numerous words or phrases could refer to sales, such as 'revenue'. If a column is named 'Sales' and report consumers type 'revenue', Q&A might fail to pick the correct column to answer the question appropriately. In that case, you want to tell Q&A that 'Sales' and 'Revenue' refer to the same thing.

Q&A automatically detects when an unrecognized word is a noun by using knowledge from Microsoft Office. If Q&A detects a noun, it prompts you by using the phrase:

  • refers to

You fill in the box with the term from your data.

Screenshot of the section that defines the term named Revenue.

If you provide something other than a field from the data model, you might get undesirable results.

Define an adjective filter condition

Sometimes, you might want to define terms that act as a condition on the underlying data. An example could be 'Awesome Publishers'. 'Awesome' could be a condition that only selects publishers that have published X number of products. Q&A tries to detect adjectives and then provides the prompt:

  • that have

You fill in the box with the condition.

Screenshot of the section that defines the term named Awesome publishers.

Some example conditions that you can define are:

  • Country/region which is USA
  • Country/region which is not USA
  • Products > 100
  • Products greater than 100
  • Products = 100
  • Products is 100
  • Products < 100
  • Products smaller than 100

In these examples, 'Products' could be either a column name or a measure.

You can also specify an aggregation in the Q&A expression itself. For example, if ‘popular products’ are products with at least 100 units sold, you can define products with ‘sum of units sold > 100’ as popular.

Screenshot of the section that defines the term named Popular products.

You can only define a single condition in tooling. To define more complex conditions, use Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) to create a calculated column or measure and then use the tooling section to create a single condition for that column or measure.

Manage terms

After you provide definitions, you can go back to see all the fixes you made and edit or delete them.

  1. In Q&A setup, go to the Manage terms section.

  2. Delete any terms that you no longer want. Currently, you can't edit terms. To redefine a term, delete the term and define it.

    Screenshot of the Manage terms page with the term named factory defined.

There are several best practices for improving the natural language engine. For more information, see Best practices to optimize Q&A.