Clicking buttons is a common action in most apps and most end users know what a button means and how to use it. Designers can add buttons to a report in Microsoft Power BI to perform simple actions. For example, you can add buttons that provide additional insight into the data. Or you can add buttons that allow end users to navigate quickly.
In this tutorial, I’ll introduce you to buttons in Microsoft Power BI by inserting two buttons into a two-page report. The button on page 1 goes to page 2 and the button on page 2 goes to page 1. Deployment is quick and easy. There are other ways to navigate from page to page, but a button is quick and straightforward.
TO SEE: Create reports in Microsoft Power BI (TechRepublic)
I’m using Power BI Desktop on a Windows 10 64-bit system, but you can also use Power BI Service. You can download the demonstration .pbix file, AdventureWorks Sales from GitHub. Once downloaded, double-click the .pbix file to open it in Power BI and follow or use your own .pbix file. If you want a preview of the final results, look here demo file.
Insert a button in Power BI
Buttons in Power BI are a simple user interface control that allows the designer to create user-friendly reports. End consumers usually click a button to interact with the content of the report in some way. The result is a report that works more like an app.
Inserting a button is easy. First click on the Insert tab. Then select Buttons and choose a button from the drop-down list (Image A). It’s so easy.
That’s the easy part. If you are familiar with Microsoft 365 apps, you will notice that there are more “buttons” than the regular rectangular button you are used to seeing. Shapes are also available. Now let’s go ahead and create a button that has a task to perform.
Assign an action to a button in Power BI
Power BI reports often consist of multiple pages, which is a good opportunity to introduce buttons. In particular, as a designer, you can add buttons that allow users to quickly navigate between pages. You can also use page and bookmark navigators for this task, but buttons are familiar to everyone and give the user a choice of when or even whether to go to another page.
Figure B shows two pages of a simple report. We’ll add an arrow button to each page that, when clicked, gives access to the other page.
First, let’s insert a button into Page 1. Click the Insert tab. Then select Buttons and choose a right arrow from the drop-down list. Drag the arrow to the top right corner of page 1 with Figure C as a guide.
Let’s make the button a little bigger so it stands out. Expand the Format pane if necessary. Then click the General menu and expand Properties. Click Lock Aspect Ratio to enable this feature and change the Height and Width properties to 100 (Figure D).
Now that the arrow is more visible, let’s give it a navigation task. Click the Button menu and expand the Action section. If necessary, enable the Action section by clicking the Off/On button. From the Type drop-down list, choose Page Navigation. Then from the Destination drop-down list, choose Page 2 (Digits E).
For this example, disable the Screen Tips option. However, you can add “Go to page 2” if you want. If you leave this option checked, but don’t enter a message, Power BI displays a default ScreenTip. Repeat the above process for page 2, but instead use the left arrow and choose Page 1 from the Destination drop-down list (Figure F).
Once published, the two buttons act as navigation buttons.
Publish a report in Power BI
Until you publish the report, the buttons won’t work, so click Publish and click Save when prompted. Then click on the link to the published report when it is offered. If you’re not currently signed in to your Microsoft account, you’ll need to sign in when prompted.
After publishing, users can click the right arrow on page 1, displayed in Figure Gto access page 2.
Figure H shows the left arrow that users can click to return to page 1.
Why use buttons in Power BI?
You may be wondering why the designer would add navigation arrows when the user can use the links in the pages panel. Most importantly, this was a simple introduction to using buttons that perform actions in a published report. Second, the Pages panel may not be available to all users.
This demonstration is intentionally simple, but you can see how quick and easy it is to add buttons that are familiar to users. Everyone knows what a right and left arrow means. On the other hand, you can insert buttons that display the text “Go to page 1” and “Go to page 2”.
We’ve added two simple buttons to navigate between two pages, but you can also use a conditional button instead. In a future article I will show you how to use one button that knows which page you are on and go back to the other page when clicked.