Power BI Bookmarks are the secret to making the impossible possible in Power BI. In some ways they are the ultimate workaround when a slicer or page filter won’t quite do what you want. Bookmarks take a snapshot of report pages and let users switch between them. We’ll explain how to set them up and some different use cases that you can work into your reports.
Power BI has revolutionized business intelligence, offering robust tools for data analysis and reporting. Among its many features, bookmarks stand out as a game-changer for users new to Power BI. Let’s explore how bookmarks can streamline your workflow.
Let’s jump in!
Table of Contents
Understanding Bookmarks in Power BI
Power BI bookmarks give developers a way to present reports and dashboards by saving the state of a report in Power BI. A bookmark captures the current configuration of reports, including filters, slicers, and the specific setup of visuals. A developer assigns a name to the report view, the bookmark which can later be referenced with the click of a button.
Unlike static reports, bookmarks enable report viewers to switch between highly curated views that would otherwise be impossible to re-create with a combination of page filters and slicers that are available in Power BI. Because of the extreme level of customization, they give developers, they are superior to other techniques for creating highly customized reports which making them easy to switch back and forth from for the end report user.
How to Create Bookmarks in Power BI
To create bookmarks in Power BI, navigate to the View section of the Power BI Ribbon while working in the Report View. On the far right side of the ribbon, click on Bookmarks. This enables the Bookmarks panel. Set your report to the desired state, and click Add. This creates a snapshot of a report view that users can toggle to.
Here are steps in more detail.
- Set a default view of a report. This will be the first bookmark or snapshot
- Turn on the Bookmarks Panel under View, Bookmarks
- Click Add to create a new view. Double click the name of the Bookmark to re-name it.
- Adjust the report to show the next desired view.
- Click Add, and re-name the view.
Below is a screenshot of the Bookmarks panel with a view created to make a bar chart visible or invisible. In many use cases these charts would be placed in the same location to make it look like you are flipping between them. We placed them side by side for illustrative purposes.
After creating and giving your bookmarks descriptive names to make development and navigation easier, we have to add a button to switch between the possible report view snapshots.
Using Buttons to Switch Between Power BI Bookmarks
When you’re creating bookmarks, you need to give users a way to navigate to them. Power BI lets developers add a Bookmark Navigator visual that works similar to a slicer, or you can create your own custom buttons for a unique look that blends into the theme of your overall report.
Inserting a Bookmark Navigator
To use the bookmark navigator buttons in Power BI, go to Insert, Buttons, Navigator, Bookmark Navigator which is the last option all the way at the bottom.
After inserting the Bookmark Navigator, buttons will be auto-generated for each of the bookmarks named in your report using the names in the bookmarks panel. Updating a name in the bookmarks panel will update the name on the bookmark navigator making it an easy way to provide navigation between snapshots.
Note: To test that your buttons work, hold down CTRL and click a button.
All of the normal formatting options are available to change the look of buttons, shadows, shapes, fonts, background colors etc. Just select the bookmark navigator and go to the format options on the visualizations panel.
For a more custom look, you can create your own bookmark buttons.
Navigating Bookmarks with Custom Buttons
For added control over the user experience in your dashboard, you can create custom buttons and assign them the ability to navigate to different bookmarks. To create a custom button, go to Insert, Buttons, and select a shape or custom image. Select the shape and navigate to Format Options, on the visualizations panel. Under Action, select Type Bookmark and select the bookmark to navigate to when clicked.
To learn even more about customizing buttons check out our guide to using Power BI Buttons.
Note: Figma is a popular graphic design tool that many Power BI developers use to create their own buttons and to wireframe reports prior to spending time fully developing them in Power BI Desktop.
When you use custom graphics in Power BI it makes your design choices almost limitless, but don’t forget to balance the amount of time spent on design with the amount of total time you have to publish a report that’s functional and useable.
Also don’t forget to put a back button in a view so people can go back to the standard view if desired.
Navigating to Hidden Tabs in Power BI
To take things even farther than creating bookmarks, another technique is to create an entirely different tab. Either duplicate an existing tab as a starting point and modify it or create an entirely new tab. You can then hide the tab and create a button that navigates to the hidden tab.
This method works similar to Power BI bookmarks but gives you even more control and can let report views have custom drill down capabilities that go even further than what is possible in a bookmark.
To hide a tab in Power BI right click on a tab name and selecting Hide Page. This keeps the tab active, developers can work with it in Power BI Desktop, but viewers will not see the tab as one they can navigate to without pushing a button.
The button setup is almost identical to the custom button, but instead of navigating to a bookmark, you navigate to a Power BI report page.
Ways to Use Bookmarks in Power BI
Your imagination is the limit when it comes to ways to incorporate bookmarks into your reports, but here are some common use cases that you can think through.
- Switching between visible and invisible graphs to switch chart types on command.
- Preset multiple slicers and filters for different curated views
- Give users a “reset” button to clear all slicers and return to a default state on a page.
- Curated experiences, and streamlined reporting. Build bookmarks for typical data discussed in meetings.
Hopefully this gives you some new ideas of ways to utilize this great feature in Power BI.
Bookmarks are a powerful feature that can significantly enhance the interactivity of Power BI. When using them don’t forget to give users a way to reset a view or go back. The most common use case is using bookmarks to switch visuals but you can also set preset groups of filters and slicers that will be saved when you click the add bookmark button.
For even more advanced customization try creating buttons that navigate to entirely different pages. If they mostly look the same as the starting page and are hidden, people will have no idea that they are navigating to different parts of a workbook and the results will look like magic.