Add a Power BI search box to slicers or a search filter visual to a dashboard to make it easier for users to find items in long lists. Microsoft also publishes an add-on that enables users to search an entire dashboard at one time. We’ll look at how to setup both options along with some tips to make searching for multiple criteria easier.
Adding the search function to a slicer will make it easier for end users to find the values they want in long lists.
While using the Text Filter visual on a report may make the need for slicers irrelevant.
Let’s take a look at why and how to use these exciting features!
Table of Contents
What are Power BI Slicers?
Power BI has a special type of visual called a slicer. It’s the same as a filter, but instead of making dashboard users navigate to the filter pane of Power BI, they can see the filter drop down, or selection on the dashboard screen itself.
Slicers can be added to dashboards by clicking on the Slicer visual. It is mixed in the middle of the different charts and graphs available.
Slicers give developers more control over how visualizations interact with the user selected filter on a slicer, and provide an overall better experience by putting the navigation items that users need in front of them where they are already looking.
Why You Should Enable Search in Power BI Slicers
Power BI Search boxes improve the end user experience enabling them to find the data they need faster than would otherwise be possible. When users are faced with scrolling through a very long list, a search box is a recommended solution.
We would not enable a search box for all slicers though. They may not be appropriate to filter lists with a small number of options, such as months, quarters or years.
Ultimately it will be a design choice left up to the Power BI developer.
By default, slicers do not have a search option turned on.
How to Enable Search on Slicers in Power BI
To enable a search box on a slicer, first add the slicer to your dashboard and assign a field to it. In the top right corner of the visual click on the … button and choose Search.
The following example shows a Vertical List Slicer before and After the search function is enabled.
Note: The search box will automatically filter the results in the search results. This allows users to partially type in a value and instantly begin seeing results.
A search box can be enabled for multiple types of slicers. The search box is presented differently depending on which slicer setting is enabled. The example above was for a Vertical List.
For a cleaner dashboard look, try enabling Search for Dropdown Slicers.
The search box only becomes visible after clicking on the slicer. The search term is typed into Power BI in place of the dropdown box which becomes a search box that users can type into.
It’s enabled the same way of clicking … and choosing search.
Using the Power BI Search Box Visual in a Dashboard
Power BI Developers can extend the usefulness of Power BI with add-ons and custom visuals available through Microsoft App Source. To download custom visuals, click on the … button at the bottom right of the Visualization Pane and select Get More Visuals.
Navigate or search for the Text Filter Visual that is published by Microsoft.
The Text Filter visual is different from the dropdown and vertical list slicer. Instead of showing options, it places a search box visual into your dashboard. You assign a field to the text filter and it will automatically filter all visuals on the page based on the word that’s typed in.
The Text Filter visual is an extremely clean, simple and elegant way to allow users to filter data with a search box.
Search Multiple Criteria in Power BI with a Search Index Column
To search for multiple criteria at one time, try concatenating column values together. In the example below, we combined two columns into a single one so that users could search for a state abbreviation, the name of a cookie, or a city.
Power BI will automatically find the values available in the Search Index Column and apply the filter accordingly.
This works especially well in combination with the Text Filter visual where users can’t see the list of selection options.
To create a search index column, Create a New Column. Then use a formula to concatenate column names with an & sign in-between column names that are defined with square brackets around them or use the DAX formula CONCATENATE in Power Query.
Additional Information on Slicers
Slicers are extremely powerful and a cornerstone of Power BI development. We highly recommend exploring various use cases for Power BI slicers and use Slicer Panels to make it easier for end users to navigate your report.
The best design solutions are ones that enable consumers of reporting dashboards intuitively without having to search for additional fields or columns like they would when using the Power BI Filter Panel.
The guys from Guy in a Cube have some great tips on building slicer panels in the video below
Click the … at the top right of a slicer visual and select search to enable a search box. The search box will appear differently depending on whether the slicer is a dropdown menu, vertical list, or tiles. Search enabled slicers make it easier to navigate long lists and avoid scrolling.
For an even cleaner experience, Power BI developers can add the Microsoft Text Filter visual to their report after downloading it from Power BI App Source. The Text Filter creates a search box that acts like a slicer, but has a very intuitive interface.
Try concatenating values together and assign it to a Text Filter visual for a more robust search experience.