For those of you who may have missed the announcement last week, the Power BI team has made the ‘Ask A Question’ feature inside the Power BI Desktop globally available. For those of you who have yet to try this out, this new capability allows you directly place the ask a question box within your reports.
There are two key scenarios which have been enabled. First, as an analyst, you can use natural language to easily explore your data and quickly author new charts and visualizations using natural language. Secondly, if you wish to allow consumers of the report to perform ad-hoc analysis, you can place a button within a report which brings up the ‘Ask A Question’ experience. This experience offers the consumer of the report the ability to interact and ask their own highly customized questions or pick from a list of suggested questions.
Use Q&A to explore your data
In the new version of Power BI desktop, you will now see a new shiny icon which says ‘Ask A Question’
By clicking this icon, a new textbox will appear inside the canvas where you can type questions about your data to quickly build out your reports. (Alternatively, double clicking in the canvas will also bring up the ask a question experience)
Allow consumers of reports to perform ad-hoc analysis
In the buttons section underneath the main ribbon you will now see a Q&A button option.
By clicking this icon, a button will be placed upon the canvas. If you hit ctrl + click it will bring up the Q&A ‘Ask A Question’ pop up experience where consumers can now ask questions which are highly customized e.g. What are the total charges for Seattle on July 1st (you only need to hold ctrl inside the desktop as it is to ensure you do not accidently open up the popup during resize)
You can also add suggested questions to help users get started or pin specific questions which may get asked sporadically. Below is an example
We hope you enjoy the new features we have enabled with ‘Ask A Question’ inside the Power BI desktop. As always, if you wish to share feedback for the ‘Ask A Question’ feature, we are currently collecting feedback via survey to help us figure out what we should prioritize next. The survey should not take more than 5 minutes and we really want to hear your say on where we go next for this feature.