The ability to hide visuals in Power BI is an important feature to help you curate the user experience. Visuals, Slicers, and other design components can be hidden from user view. When combined with custom buttons in Power BI hidden visuals can seem like magic and you can create a better user experience than simply configuring any one visual.
We’ll explore how to hide visuals and slicers in this article, along with when you might consider using this advanced Power BI technique.
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Why and When to Hide Power BI Visuals or Slicers
Deciding whether to hide a visual often comes down to user experience. The technique is often combined with custom buttons that let users toggle between two different visuals that are in the same location on a dashboard. For example, a button could toggle between a bar chart and a line chart. Both visualizations are in the same location but toggled between visible and invisible.
Hiding visualization and slicers also becomes an easy way to manage a dashboard that’s under development. If you want to publish a report while it is still a work in progress, as many reports are, then you can publish it with specific page elements hidden from view until you have time to come back and complete the project.
How to Hide Visuals or Slicers in Power BI
To modify the visibility settings of a visual, slicer, or other page element, navigate to the View section of the Power BI Ribbon. Click on Selection to enable the Selection panel. The selection panel is normally hidden by default, but once turn on it gives users the ability to control visualizations at the layer level. Meaning that they can change visibility settings and also control which one shows up on top of the other in case of an overlap.
The Selection panel can be enabled under View, Selection from the Power BI Report Ribbon
Once enabled, the selection panel is visible. There are two main components. The Eye Icon on the right side of each visual or page element can be clicked to show or hide that specific element. Clicking Show or Hide will show or hide all of the elements on page.
This screen also lets users adjust the layer order on the page. Layer orders can be especially useful to hide scrollbars or other visual elements you don’t want to see when Power BI doesn’t give you an option to turn them off.
Using Buttons to Toggle Visibility Settings in Power BI
After changing whether or not a visual can be seen on a page, the next step is typically adding a button to your report to let users toggle which visual they want to see. It’s especially common in scenarios where you want to have multiple different visuals take up the same spot on a page.
Place 2 or more layered visuals onto a page and make it so only one visual is visible at one time by using bookmarks.
What are Power BI Bookmarks?
Bookmarks in Power BI are a way to record a specific view at a point in time. Adjust a dashboard to the exact way that you want the end user to view it, then create a bookmark by going to the Bookmarks tabbing and adding a new one. The Bookmark will “Take a Snapshot” of the report view which can be toggled to later on.
How to add a Power BI Bookmark
Bookmarks in Power BI are available on the View section of the Power BI Ribbon, next to the Selection panel option. After its enabled a new Bookmarks panel will appear.
Adjust the report layout or visibility settings and click Add. This creates the bookmark or snapshot of that specific view. Give the bookmark a descriptive name and you can automatically create buttons with those names for users to navigate to different bookmarked views of the report.
How to Add Buttons in Power BI
To add a button in Power BI, navigate to the Insert section and choose Buttons on the report ribbon. There are a number of presents to choose from. Microsoft provides pre-made icons for the most common use case such as back and forward arrows, there are blank buttons, and you can even use your own custom images.
In our example we are going to add a bookmark navigator. It looks similar to a tile slicer but will automatically detect the bookmarks available on a page and create buttons for you.
Once the Bookmark Navigator is added to your report, it will add buttons inside of a visual that will toggle between bookmarks. In the example below, we created bookmark navigation to make the bar chart on the right side of the report invisible. By selecting Bar Chart Invisible we change the saved view to one where the bar chart is invisible on the page.
The most common use case for hiding a visual is to place one on top of the other to let users toggle between them when really the Power BI developer is toggling between the visibility settings with bookmarks and buttons.
Tip: Another popular technique is to hide entire tabs or pages of a Power BI. Bookmarks can be added to the different hidden tabs to let report viewers toggle between dramatically different views that would not be possible with layering visuals and adjusting the visibility of them on a single page.
How to Hide Power BI Visuals with Bookmarks and Buttons
Hiding visuals or slicers on a page can be an incredibly powerful technique in Power BI. It gives developers almost unlimited options for creating different views that users can switch between with the click of a button. The hard part for many people new to the Power BI platform is how to put all of the pieces together.
Power BI Buttons are great, visualizations settings are neat, bookmarks are useful but each feature really comes together when using all three of them in unison.
The following video from the Guys in a Cube give a great overview of how to use these three techniques together and highlight some practical use cases that every Power BI developer should be aware of.
As you can see changing the visibility settings of page elements is really just the beginning of what can be done with making visuals invisible!
Visibility settings for all of the visuals, slicers and other page elements can be modified by navigating to the View section of the Power BI ribbon and turning on the Selection Panel. The eyeball icon to the right of each element toggles whether it is visible or invisible once the report is published.
Toggling the visibility settings can be useful for parts of a report that are not currently working or a work in progress but you want to publish the remaining part of the report. The common use case is to combine visual visibility toggles with bookmarks and buttons to make the report more dynamic. It allows a developer to place multiple visuals in the same location and make only one of them visible at a time.