Data Visualization with Power BI
Power BI—Microsoft’s cutting-edge suite of business analytics tools—enables data professionals to ingest, transform and visualize data quickly and interactively. Designed with ease-of-use in mind, Power BI enables users with little or no report development experience to create beautiful reports and dashboards with just a few clicks—no programming knowledge required.
“Microsoft is the productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world.”
– Satya Nadella
I decided to use Power BI to analyze a data set around number of hours of sleep that kids get. Below is a quick guide to going from a raw data set to a data visualization in Power BI:
STEP 1 – GET THE DATA
The first step is getting the data that you wish to analyze and visualize. In this example, we will use data from Data World; focused on the number of hours kids sleep. You can download the data set from here, to follow along.
STEP 2 – REVIEW THE DATA
Assuming you are working with a ‘clean’ data set, you should still take a glance at the source file to review the column headers, become familiar with the type of data in the file and make sure everything looks ‘normal’
STEP 3 – IMPORT THE DATA
Now that you’ve completed a quality check on your data, it’s time to bring it into Power BI Desktop for analysis.
- Open Power BI Desktop
- Click on ‘Get Data’ on the Home screen
- Select the data type you are planning to upload (in this case it’s Excel)
- Click ‘Connect’ and find the file you are planning to analyze
- Select the sheet(s) that you plan to analyze (Sheet1) and click ‘Load’
STEP 4 – ANALYZE & VISUALIZE THE DATA
Just like that, the data is in Power BI and ready for analysis!
You can see in the image below, that the fields (column headers) are pulled into the ‘Fields’ pane over to the right. Then you have ‘Visualizations’ and ‘Filters’
If you want to test the abilities of Power BI – just select all three fields on the right and watch the magic work! Here is the data visualization suggested by the software – without any formatting, programming, editing, etc.
You can see that we have a title, color legend, x and y axis labels, and the data is ordered by Grade level.
We can take this a step further and customize the visualization – we can update the ‘Theme’ (I’ve chosen the ‘Executive’ theme). Additionally, I’ve formatted the font size to be larger and added data labels; while removing the y axis line. With just a few minutes of formatting, we can transform the chart into this:
STEP 5 – SHARE YOUR INSIGHTS
Now you can share your data visualization with your colleagues, friends, others. The key insight from the data visualization is that children of all ages are not getting the number of hours of sleep that they require.