Whether you’re a Power BI developer or simply build a report here and there to visualize your data, you’ve probably seen it before. Reports can get easily crowded with visuals, as space on the canvas is limited, and they end up being hard to understand and navigate. But what if you don’t want to solve it simply by adding more sheets into one workbook?
Let me show you how to create a clean, one-page report with four different views and dynamic navigation using bookmarks.
The idea to design a report this way came to life when developing Power BI reports for our customers. As the number of visuals and sheets kept growing, we quickly realized that navigation was becoming overloaded and unclear. There was also another tricky task: trying to match the Power BI reports to our Mews design as closely as possible, since they would be embedded.
Slicing data by different segments in one visual and saving those actions to bookmarks is not possible (or rather, not possible in the Power BI world… yet), so, for our scenario, each visual needed to be replicated for each segment, then placed on top of each other.
In our sample file of Video Games Sales from 2016, there is sales data for different regions: Global, EU, North America (NA), and Japan & Others. The goal is to build a one-page report on global video games sales with the ability to switch between regions while maintaining the same views, making it look like the charts on the canvas update dynamically.
Selection & Bookmarks
If you’ve never worked with bookmarks, imagine it being a “memory” of what is visible on the canvas at the moment of bookmark creation. The selection part is going to help you with that, as each visual or group on your canvas can be visible or hidden.
Group, group, group
Make sure you’re happy with the design, size, and placement of your visuals on the canvas so you don’t have to duplicate any work (don’t ask how I learned this 🤦♀️). Once you are happy with your visuals and their position, select and group all of them so they can be easily duplicated and moved around.
In our scenario, sales totals are at the top with a thin line underneath. For the charts, start with your first page—global sales, in this case. To make sure users see their selection, add a darker line just under the total (this will simulate navigation). Once happy, group all charts and the darker line, as these are the visuals that will change. The top totals stay outside of any group as we don’t want them to change.
Duplicate & Update Values
You will prepare the same number of copies as the number of bookmarks you want to end up with. Each copy will be placed directly over the other original (aside from the darker line, which will always appear under the selected region). In our case it will be three copies for three sales regions. In each copy, you need to update your segment (values).
Once you have your groups prepared, it’s time to save them into bookmarks. Choose your group in the Selection tab and create a new bookmark. When you save it, don’t forget to untick the Data option and update, as you don’t want to save any filters (user’s filters would get overwritten after bookmark use).
As a final step, when all your bookmarks are prepared, insert a blank button on top of each sales total and assign it action: the appropriate bookmark.
You’ve just learned how to prepare a one-page report with dynamic bookmarks that allows users to switch between different views smoothly. It’s up to you to customize it: you can choose a different number of segments, different visuals for each selection, use pictures… The options are endless. Just remember” prepare your visuals well, group them so you can hide/unhide them easily, update your duplicated visuals, and create bookmarks (untick Data if you don’t want to save filters). Top it all off with buttons and share the good lookin’ report with the world.😊
💡BONUS Bookmark tip if you’ve made it to the end:
When you design your reports and use shapes with anything over them—text, or, for example a logo, you might have noticed that when a user clicks on that shape (and they will, eventually), it gets annoyingly selected, and you can’t see what was on it before. The problem is that this activation can’t be turned off. (YET 😊) For example, I have this text on a rectangular background:
If a user in the Power BI Service clicks on the rectangle, the text disappears as the rectangle gets activated.
The little hack we found is as follows. You can assign the ‘None’ bookmark action to the shape and add it as a tooltip.
The result will look like this. No shape activation, only a tooltip pops up. 🎉