With the Analytics pane in Power BI Desktop, you can add dynamic reference lines to visuals, and provide focus for important trends or insights. The Analytics pane is found in the Visualizations area of Power BI Desktop, beginning with the August 2016 release (version 2.37.4464.321 or later), as shown below.

Note: The Analytics pane only appears when you select a visual on the Power BI Desktop canvas.

Enable Forecasting (Preview)

In addition, with the September 2016 release of Power BI Desktop (version 2.39.4526.362 or later), you can also perform forecasting from the Analytics pane. You must enable this preview feature, by going to File > Options and settings > Options then selecting Preview Features from the left pane. Select the checkbox next to Forecasting to enable the feature, as shown in the following image. You'll need to restart Power BI Desktop for your changes to take effect.

Using the Analytics pane

With the Analytics pane, you can create the following types of dynamic reference lines (not all lines are available for all visual types):

  • X-Axis constant line
  • Y-Axis constant line
  • Min line
  • Max line
  • Average line
  • Median line
  • Percentile line

The following sections show how you can use the Analytics pane and dynamic reference lines in your visualizations.

To view the available dynamic reference lines for a visual, follow these steps:

  1. Select or create a visual, then select the Analytics icon from the Visualizations section.

  2. Select the down arrow for the type of line you want to create to expand its options. In this case, we'll select Average Line.

  3. To create a new line, select + Add. You can then specify a name for the line by double-clicking the text box, then typing in your name.

    You have all sorts of options for your line, such as selecting its color, transparency, style and position (relative to the visual's data elements), and whether to include the label. And importantly, you can select which Measure in the visual you want your line to be based upon by selecting the Measure drop down, which is automatically populated with data elements from the visual. In this case, we'll select Weather as the measure, label it Average Weather, and customize a few of the other options as shown below.

  4. If you want to have a data label appear, move the Data label slider on. When you do so, you get a whole host of additional options for your data label, as shown in the following image.

  5. Notice the number that appears next to the Average line item in the Analytics pane. That tells you how many dyanmic lines you currently have on your visual, and of which type. If we add a Max line for Cost of Living, you can see that the Analytics pane shows that we now also have a Max line dynamic reference line applied to this visual.

If the visual you've selected can't have dynamic reference lines applied to it (in this case, a Map visual), you'll see the following when you select the Analytics pane.

There are all sorts of interesting insights you can highlight by creating dynamic reference lines with the Analytics pane.

We're planning more features and capabilities, including expanding which visuals can have dynamic reference lines applied to them, so check back often for what's new.

Apply Forecasting

You can use the Forecast feature by selecting a visual, then expanding the Forecast section of the Analytics pane. You can specify many inputs to modify the forecast, such as the Forecast length, the Confidence interval, and others. The following image shows a basic line visual with forecasting applied, but you can use your imagination (and play around with the forecasting feature) to see how it can apply to your models.

Limitations

The ability to use dynamic reference lines is based on the type of visual being used. The following list shows which dynamic lines are currently available for which visuals:

Full use of dynamic lines are available on the following visuals:

  • Area chart
  • Line chart
  • Scatter chart
  • Clustered Column chart
  • Clustered Bar chart

The following visuals can use only a constant line from the Analytics pane:

  • Stacked Area
  • Stacked Bar
  • Stacked Column
  • 100% Stacked Bar
  • 100% Stacked Column

For the following visuals, a trend line is currently the only option:

  • Non-stacked Line
  • Clustered Column chart

Lastly, non-Cartesian visuals cannot currently apply dynamic lines from the Analytics pane, such as:

  • Matrix
  • Pie chart
  • Donut
  • Table

More Information

There are all sorts of things you can do with Power BI Desktop. For more information on its capabilities, check out the following resources: