Custom chart for Power BI: an aquarium!

We’ve all seen Bad Boys 2 🙂

That’s a nice fish, big fucking eyes… but a nice fucking fish.

Well…someone was so creative to actually create an aquarium-chart-type-ish for Power BI! Didn’t know that that was even possible, but it does make an impression!:

The aquarium is designed to be on a dashboard screen in a room where everyone can see it and notice changes day to day and empathise with the data to rally efforts.

Cortana Analytics Suite

I am Cortana

The Cortana Analytics Suite is soon available on Microsoft Azure!
Simply said…it combines the existing Azure ML features, Power BI (e.g. dashboarding and Q&A) with the Cortana speech recognition (as seen in Windows 10).

More info about the Cortana Analytics Suite (presentation screenshots from Microsoft):

Cortana Analytics Suite - Power BI with Cortana

Cortana Analytics Suite - Realtime Health Dashboard example

Cortana Analytics Suite

Cortana Analytics - Transform data into intelligent action

Cortana Analytics scenarios

How to design your SSRS or Power BI dashboard

Here’s how you should design your SSRS of Power BI dashboard (thanks to Julie Koesmarno).
More info on her blog:

To my delight, she mentioned about composition, in particular Fibonacci Spiral. It reminded me of one of the fundamental things that I have learned in photography (as a hobby). So this weekend, I spent a bit of time reviewing some of the data visualisations in Power View that I have created in the past. Instead of just looking at it as just data and information, I put my “amateur” photographer eyes on this. I begin thinking about design, technical and most importantly business components and how to put them together.

Here are a couple of Before-And-Afters, where I have revisited the objectives and composition aspects of these data visualisations in Power View.

Before and After


Fibonacci spiral is a pretty cool thing to use / apply in composition. Use it wisely and when it works, it works really well. Not all visualisations have to fit Fibonacci spiral though 🙂

Another example based on a photo:


More tips for photography (and dashboards):

Another interesting blog post by Jason Thomas (also HowTo’s):


Power BI Dashboard (Designer)


Microsoft released a new version of Power BI in preview mode, including many new visualizations that are immediately available to all existing subscribers also in production, such as the long waited treemap, combo charts (combining line chart and column chart), and more. These features are available only in HTML5 visualizations, so you can only use the new features online. Microsoft shown these visualizations several times this year (PASS BA Conference in San Jose, and PASS Summit in Seattle), so now this is finally available to anyone. But there is much more!

Power BI Dashboard is a new service, now in public preview (unfortunately only in United States, not sure about which other countries are supported by now, certainly not Europe), that does not require an Office 365 subscription and, more important, provide a design experience on desktop also without having Excel or Office at all. In other words, there is a separate Microsoft Power BI Designer that enables you to:

– Import data with Power Query
– Create relationships between tables
– Create data visualizations with Power View (running the latest HTML5 version locally in a desktop application)

This very first release does not include the full data modeling experience we are used to in Power Pivot, so you cannot create calculated columns or measures, but hopefully this will come in the next updates. In this way, you can use Power BI with a separate “data model” environment that is not tied to Excel. You can have an older version of Excel, or no Excel at all, and still design your data model with the Designer.

What’s important:
– It doesn’t require you to have Office 2013
– It doesn’t require you to have Office 365

Just download it and start playing! Way better then all those Excel 2010 graphs 🙂


Many video tutorials are already available at:

And download your local copy Power BI Designer here:

New Power BI features shown at the Worldwide Partner Conference 2014 (WPC)

A few days back, Microsoft held the yearly Worldwide Partner Conference and they demonstrated a few new features of Power BI.

Watch the demo via:

A real-time Salesforce dashboard was generated:

A new donut chart (bottom-left):

A Tree Map (bottom-left):

Chris Webb discusses the new features in his new blog post:

Join us at LinkedIn!
Don’t forget to join the ‘Microsoft Power BI‘ group on LinkedIn and stay updated!:

Power BI: Get data from Facebook with Excel 2013, Power Pivot and Power Query

Today I stumbled upon this blog post van Kasper de Jonge:

He demonstrates how you’re able to analyze all activity on your Facebook (company) page by using Power BI.

You’re able to connect to Facebook and retrieve data by using Power Query:

The end result is a Bing-map that displays the number of posts by location and gender:

Imagine what else is possible!

Here’s a basic YouTube tutorial:

Join us at LinkedIn!
Don’t forget to join the ‘Microsoft Power BI‘ group on LinkedIn and stay updated!:

Power Map is released (Office 2013 SP1)!

As of yesterday, Power Map was released as part of Office 2013 SP1.

Power Map for Excel - Office 2013 SP1

More info about the announcement:
Power Map for Excel Now Generally Available, Automatically Updated for Office 365

Announcing the release of Service Pack 1 for Office 2013 and SharePoint 2013

(thanks Chris Webb for the headsup!)

One important point to note here is that Power Map will only be available to Office 365 customers. If you have a standalone version of Excel, or have a regular (ie not Office 365) Professional Plus license, you will no longer be able to use Power Map. See:

Power Map for Excel New!

If you have a subscription for Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus, Office 365 Midsize Business, or for the Office 365 Enterprise E3 or E4 plans, you’ll have access to Power Map as part of the self-service business intelligence tools. To determine which subscription you have, see Office 365 ProPlus and Compare All Office 365 for Business Plans.

If you have Office 2013 Professional Plus or a standalone version of Excel 2013, you’ll be able to download and use the Power Map Preview for Excel 2013 until May 30, 2014. After that date, the preview will no longer work in any non-Office 365 subscription version of Excel.

To learn more about Power Map, see Get started with Power Map.

Join us at LinkedIn!
Don’t forget to join the ‘Microsoft Power BI‘ group on LinkedIn and stay updated!: