Power BI & PowerPoint...Perfect Partners
Nick Hilton | 23 June 22 | 4 min read
Is it just me or are office software suites starting to become the Swiss Army knife of digital productivity? Every week it seems like there’s a new exciting tool being announced and if only you could utilise all of them then you could collaborate with 10,000% efficiency, finally achieve ‘synergy’, and presumably reach some sort of worklife nirvana… The reality is we’re all so busy using the tools we know that we can’t always afford to disrupt the status quo. So it’s nice when great new features are added to the tools we already know because they solve problems that are already part of our working lives in ways which we can benefit from immediately. Being able to drop a page from Power BI straight into a PowerPoint slide is one of these feature updates.
We’ve all embraced these super powerful BI reporting tools as part of this shift towards having data driven cultures but the experience of presenting those as part of a larger presentation has been clunky and at best just inconvenient. This addition makes it so much easier to bring visuals and reports live from your Power BI reports straight into your slides. If you have a direct query report streaming data in realtime then that’s what you’re going to have showing up as screen, or you can always freeze it to make sure you capture a particular set of results.
Below I’ll take you through how to get this working in PowerPoint and go over any considerations you might want to think about before sharing this.
Before we get into the detail it’s important to note that you’re going to need to make sure the PowerPoint account you’ll be logged into when presenting has access to the data in Power BI, and also that if you can’t see any of the options below it may be a case of asking the team managing your Office 365 tenancy to enable the feature. Otherwise, it should be simple.
Okay here’s how it works.
The easiest and simplest way to do this on the first go is to actually start with Power BI:
Find the report you want
Use the Share button and then choose PowerPoint or select Export > PowerPoint > Embed live data.
Both options will present you with a URL (which we will cover in the next bit) or the super easy way; the option to open in PowerPoint.
It’s that easy.
Now, that’s perfect if you’re going to start with your report and then build a presentation out of it but more likely you’re going to be adding some data to an existing presentation.
Hopefully your version of Office 365 gets the latest updates, if so then you simply need to click embed Power BI from the Insert ribbon. If that’s not there then you need to find the add-ins section on the same tab then click ‘get add-ins’ and then find ‘Microsoft Power BI’ at which point that button will become available! If you’re having more trouble than that and can’t figure it out it can be due to some hidden settings so please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll see if I can help you figure it out.
How to Use
Once the report is loaded to the presentation, it is live and interactive with all the features you need to ‘slice and dice’ the data. Any changes you make a remembered so if you want to have your data immediately present in a particular way then just make your clicks and move on, it will be the same when you come back.
If you only need one view of the data and you’re determined to not let anyone derail your presentation by asking you to start clicking around then you always have the option to freeze the view.
Developing your Data Storytelling
If you’re in a job where you’re giving PowerPoint presentations on data that is or could be in Power BI then get this feature enabled because there’s a chance this is going to enhance either your presentation in a massive way. Perhaps now you can tell a story more effectively by interacting with your data, showing how it changes as you slice it, focusing on particular areas and conveying all the context you could hope for. Most likely it now just means you can answer almost all the questions your boss asks you when they see the data and you don’t even have to change slide. On the most recent episode of the Power BI community blog hosted on YouTube they talk about how people are saying that often meetings are becoming discussions as someone steals the mouse and starts interrogating the amazing BI reports that’s popped up creating huge discussions. That’s really exciting and could drive a lot of valuable insights that were being missed before.
With features like these the journey towards having a data centred culture is getting much faster, and most importantly, I hope, making you even more effective in your role.