Setting up Left Click Drill Through in Power BI

Report viewers who are new to the Power BI platform are often unaware of how to drill through a report into other report tabs that provide more detail. Compounding the problem is that Microsoft did not provide a way for people to drill through a report unless they right click on a visual and select drill through, until now,

Modern visual tooltips in Power BI allow for left click drill through along with modernizing the entire tooltip experience.

The ability to drill through a report visual into a more detailed page of supporting data is a powerful feature in Power BI that previously required people to know that they could right click into a visual and select drill through. By utilizing Modern Visual Tooltips, you can enable a left click experience to bring this feature to the forefront of your report.

Let’s look at how to set it up!

Right Click to Drill Through in Power BI

The standard method to drill through from a visual in Power BI to another drill through page is by right clicking on the visual, navigate to the “Drill Through” section of the contextual menu and selecting which page you want to navigate to. Power BI is typically setup to maintain the page filters and navigate to the page based on the selection from the initial visual.

The challenge is that most people who are new to Power BI do not know that they can right click and choose the Drill through option to take them to a new page.

Example of standard right click drill through experience in Power BI

To add to the confusion, there is a Drill Through button available in the Power BI Ribbon that seems to enable a single click Drill Through.

What about the Drill Through button in Power BI Desktop?

Being able to drill through on left click in Power BI seems to be possible with the Drill Through option, but this is really only designed to allow you to more easily explore data within Power BI Desktop. As soon as you publish the report to PowerBI.com it loses the capability and requires you to right click, and select the Drill Through menu option.

The screenshot below highlights the Drill Through button in use on a visual within Power BI Desktop.

Screenshot of the Drill through button in the Data / Drill section of Power BI Desktop

Thankfully Microsoft updates Power BI at an incredible pace, and has added a solution that’s currently in preview but will likely be pushed to a production release soon.

Power BI Modern Visual Tooltips

Power BI released the preview of Modern Visual Tooltips at the beginning of 2023, and they’ve announced a series of improvements to the way that people build and interact with Power BI reports with a wide range of updated visuals.

For those unfamiliar with Tooltips, they’re the information cards that appear when you hover of different elements of a report visual.

The old style of tooltips look like the following:

Screenshot of modern tooltips disabled

Modern visual tooltips look like this:

screenshot of modern tooltips enabled with left click to drill through

Both popup messages appear when you hover your mouse over a value. The difference with drill through is that the old style gives you a note to Right-click to drill through. The new version takes about a second delay and then shows the actual Drill through option.

Modern tooltips do a lot more than making the drill through button more obvious for users. The following video from Patrick from Guy in a Cube does a great job of highlighting some of the additional options and features that modern visual tooltips provide.

At some point in the near future this interface will likely become the norm, although preview options are not guaranteed to make it into production and may change between now and then.

How to Enable Modern Visual Tooltips in Power BI

Power BI preview features can be enabled by opening Power BI Desktop and navigating to File, Options and Settings. Go to the Preview Features section of Global Options and enable Modern Visual Tooltips. You will be prompted to close out of Power BI Desktop and re-open it for the changes to take effect.

Enabling the preview option of modern visual tooltips in Power BI

If you’ve already started working on a report, you will also need to enable modern visual tooltips for the report. Go back to File, Options and Settings and adjust the report settings under Current File to enable it for the specific file you are working on.

Enabling modern visual tooltips for a specific report in Power BI Desktop

How to Enable or Disable Power BI Tool Tips

To enable or disable tooltips for a visual in Power BI, select the visual, then navigate to the Format Your Visual options on the visualizations panel. The button is notated by a paint brush icon with a graph behind it. Go to General, and towards the bottom of the panel, enable Tooltips along with additional formatting options.

Screenshot of how to turn on tooltips for avisual and how to modify the formatting options

If modern tooltips are enabled, you will see the newer version of them after tooltips are enabled.

Setting up Drill Through Pages in Power BI

For detailed instructions on how to setup drill through pages in Power BI we provided a detail article on the topic. They’re a great way to allow report viewers to see curated views of data that’s automatically filtered based on a prior selection. How to Use Power BI Drill Through for Better Dashboards.

Conclusion

The modern visual tooltip experience in Power BI introduces a welcome refresh of the already familiar tooltip that provides additional detail when you hover your mouse over a visual. It also adds a more obvious way to drill through on left click that has been a point of confusion for many Power BI report viewers over the years.

While it seems relatively simple, we always recommend sending out a brief explanation of how to utilize many of the Power BI report viewer features such as how to drill through when setting up new users with logins or Power BI Pro licenses. Luckily though, this may be one thing that can be left off the list in the near future.

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