At SlideModel.com we create professional PowerPoint Templates to help our subscribers save time creating professional presentation decks. An important segment of our customers is interested in presenting business data and require professional visualizations for this task. Dashboard templates include several charts, cards and visual representations of data in a way that is easy present. Our Dashboard templates are created with usability in mind, and they comply with design best practices. They are data driven, this means that the visualizations are created through Excel charts, allowing the user to use live data for those visualizations. Even more, if the user connects Microsoft Excel to external data sources (as a database or other files) the user can refresh the charts with you information dynamically. Having said that, create the report once and use it always.
In the last months, SlideModel.com has been receiving requests from their dashboard users in order to integrate their templates with the new tool of Self Service Business Intelligence from Microsoft, called Power BI. This new tool and service from Microsoft provides end users the ability to create local data stores, analyze the data, create stunning visualizations, and publish them into the web for sharing. The Power BI service has a free version, and the analysis tool (Power BI desktop) is also free to download. The tool is gaining tremendous traction and several corporations are adopting it as their self service BI option.
The main benefits of using Power BI for your presentation dashboards is:
- Power BI is connected to live data. Build your reports and dashboard once, refresh and be able to show updated data.
- Power BI provides new visualizations not available in Office 365 and is powered by a growing developers community that posts new visualizations regularly.
- Power BI is a self service BI tool, harnessing the power of Power Query and DAX and making available already summarized visualizations.
By default Power BI is not integrated with Office 365 (yet), but as the cloud service provides the ability to publish visualization online and embed this visualizations in any resource with access to the web, Office 365 can take advantage of this feature and use the Add-In technology to embed the Power BI tiles into our presentation.
In this tutorial we will explain how to integrate Power BI Visualization using a new Add-In called Power BI Tiles. This PowerPoint Add-In is free to download in the Office Store.
This tutorial assumes:
- You have a Microsoft account associated with the Power BI service.
- You already have a Report or Dashboard Published in Power BI Cloud service (https://powerbi.com)
- You have PowerPoint 2013 or higher for Windows.
Step 1 – Installing the Power BI Add-In
The first step of the tutorial consists on the installation of the Office Add-In. For this example we will be using PowerPoint 2013 under Windows 10, but the same process applies for PowerPoint 2016.
Step 1.1 : Under the INSERT ribbon, click the option “My Apps”. This will display the Apps for Office modal dialog.
Step 1.2: Select the option STORE option. Several Apps will be shown. Go to the search bar in the dialog and type Power BI. The Power BI Tiles App will show up with the traditional yellow Power BI Icon. Click twice in the app.
Step 1.3: The application will request permission to be integrated. Click the Trust It button. The application will be installed in your PowerPoint instance.
Step 1.4: To check that the installation was complete. Just go again to the INSERT ribbon and click in the down arrow of the My Apps menu. You will see the Power BI Tiles Icon:
Step 2 – Creating Your Dashboard Presentation With Power BI and PowerPoint
First of all, you need to have a Power BI Dashboard (or report) created in PowerBI.com. For the sakes of this example, we will use one of the by defaults Power BI Example Dashboard; the selected example is the Retail Analysis Sample. In case you are new to Power BI and would like to explore this wonderful tool from Microsoft, just go to the Get Started section of the Power BI site, or visit its extremely active community, to post your questions and comments.
The main dashboard looks like the following image. We do not plan to replicate all the elements of the dashboard in our presentation, but we will take the charts and KPI’s circled in red.
Step 2.1: Open Your Dashboard Template and define which widgets will you replace with the Power BI tiles. In this case, we selected the KPI Dashboard Template for PowerPoint
Step 2.2: Open the templates in PowerPoint; and under the INSERT ribbon, select the My Apps > Power BI Tiles App. This will trigger a new modal widget over the template, as shown in the image.
Step 2.3: Login To Power BI with your account. Power BI accounts are Microsoft accounts, when you click the From Power BI green button, a new browser window (your default web browser) will open in order for you to log in through email and password.
Once you are logged in, a new dialog will be displayed with the different sources of your tiles. The Power BI Tiles Add-In provides two sources of visualizations:
- Visualizations from a Dashboard. You can pick any of the visualizations in your available dashboards. This visualizations will auto reload every time you interact with the modal dialog.
- Reports. You can include entire reports into your PowerPoint dashboard. Entire reports will include the page tabs, so you can select which tab to display. If you are willing to present the dashboard through PowerPoint Presenter feature, you can work interactively with the report, use filters, and navigate through tabs. This is very useful when presenting.
The following image shows the selection dialog for your tile.
Step 2.4: In this example, we will select the Opportunity Analysis Dashboard as the source of our tiles visualizations. So we click in the dashboard option. The dialog will start showing the first visualization of the dashboard. The plugin provides left and right arrows at the side of the dialog to navigate through the visualizations of the dashboard as a carousel. So we pick our first visualization, and adapt the dialog to the placeholder of our Dashboard template.
Step 2.5: We repeat step 2.2 and step 2.4 for every visualization we want to include. The Add-In will not require you to login again as credential are already in cache. The following image shows how we included every visualization into our PowerPoint Template.
As shown in the image, each tile is considered a PowerPoint object, that can be resized and moved across the slide canvas. The appear in the selection pane and can be layered as any object.
Step 2.6: Refreshing the data. As mentioned before, the most important feature of this import job is to be able to be connected to live data. Once you save the powerpoint file, every time you click in each tile, it will trigger a refresh. When you open the file again, each tile will display a message of warning requiring the user to “trust” the add-in. Once the user clicks the “trust” button, all tiles will refresh again. The following image sequence shows the steps:
We would like to describe some caveats we discovered in the creation of several PowerPoint Dashboards based on Power BI tiles.
- The Power BI Tiles provides 2 modes:
- The interactive mode, where data is constantly refreshed
- The image mode, where an image is created based in the last visualization frame.
The interactive mode is always as a front layer, this means you cannot overlap any object with the layer. If you use the image mode, you can overlay any PowerPoint shape and customize overlays and shadows.
- The Power BI Tiles background, from the dashboard is not customizable (is always white). If you want to customize the visualization background, import a report with just the visualization you want to use.
- The colors of the visualizations can be customized but from Power BI, not directly form PowerPoint.
In this tutorial we explained a step by step process to import your professional Power BI visualizations into PowerPoint through the use of Power BI Tile Add-In. Please leave your comments and questions and we will try to answers as possible.