Power BI Slicers give report viewers a quick way to filter a report page using a visual element. Many report viewers expect slicers to sync across pages which doesn’t always work as expected. Learn how to change Slicer Sync settings and troubleshoot common issues that cause reports to not react as expected.
A Power BI developer’s job gets more complicated as reports become more complex. Different user audiences demand different views of data and slicers are a primary way to provide report flexibility. We’ll explain how to setup slicers to sync or not sync between pages to ensure that reports work as expected along with some tips for troubleshooting slicer sync issues.
Let’s jump in!
Table of Contents
Understanding Slicers in Power BI
Slicers in Power BI enable users to filter datasets in reports and dashboards interactively. They provide a quick way to refine and explore data on demand, making it easier for report viewers to find the information they need. Slicers can be used to filter data on a single page or across multiple pages. Different styles of slicers can be setup for various data types, including text, date, and numeric filters.
To create a slicer, add the slicer visual to the Power BI canvas, and configure it by dragging and dropping a field or multiple fields into it. Then apply formatting options to get the slicer into the desired format for your report.
Why Sync Slicers Across Pages?
Syncing slicers across pages provides report users for creating cohesive and user-friendly Power BI reports. When slicers are synchronized, selecting a filter on one page automatically updates the data displayed on other pages within the same report.
This feature ensures that the context remains consistent as users navigate through different sections of the report, providing a seamless analytical experience.
The application of sync’d slicers also work in the opposite direction, there are times where you don’t want a page to follow the context of previously applied slicers. Many times this occurs when there are relationships built between tables that aren’t indicative of the data being presented. Power BI provides users the option to disable sync across pages on a slicer by slicer basis.
How to Sync Power BI Slicers Across Pages
To manage Power BI slicer sync settings, navigate to the View section of the Power BI Ribbon and select Sync Slicers button. Then select a slicer and expand the Slicer Sync panel on the right side of the screen. The menu allows you to toggle sync, visibility, and advanced settings.
Here’s how in more detail:
Step 1 – Create Your Slicers
Before syncing, you need to create slicers on your Power BI report. You will only be able to manager slicer sync settings if the slicers already exist. Add slicers to multiple report pages as needed.
Step 2 – Turn on Sync Slicers Settings Panel
In your Power BI report, go to the View tab and click on the “Sync Slicers” button. This opens a pane on the right side of the Power BI Desktop interface.
If you don’t immediately see the Sync Slicers Panel, make sure it’s expanded. You’ll see a list of pages in your report and the slicers you’ve added. If it’s blank, select a slicer on the page to populate it with sync options.
Step 3 – Configure Slicer Synchronization
For each slicer you wish to sync, check the boxes under the “Sync” column for the pages you want the slicer to be synchronized across.
If you want the slicer to be visible on certain pages but not others, you can manage this visibility under the “Visible” column by checking or unchecking boxes accordingly. This setting can be useful for creating bookmarks where slicers toggle between being visible and invisible on a page.
Copy and Paste to Sync Power BI Slicers
A shortcut to manage sync settings across slicers in Power BI is to simply copy and paste slicers from one page to another then adjust the formatting as needed. When you copy a slicer, you will be prompted to either Sync or Don’t Sync. Otherwise, you can manage the Sync Settings manually.
As a general rule, we try to copy and paste as much as possible to avoid having to re-adjust various settings such as slicer size, position and custom colors that are not part of a Power BI theme.
Advanced Sync Slicer Settings
When you synchronize slicers in Power BI, you control how slicers interact across your report. This is particularly useful in complex reports that span multiple pages, allowing users to maintain their context and selections without needing to manually adjust slicers on every page.
There are a couple of additional Advanced Slicer settings that are useful, but not as common as the visibility and individual page settings
Sync Field Changes to Other Slicers
This advanced option enables the synchronization of changes made to the field(s) used in a slicer across all synchronized slicers. For instance, if you have multiple slicers across pages that are synced, and you decide to change the field in one slicer from “Category” to “Sub-Category,” this change will reflect in all other synchronized slicers.
This ensures that the analysis remains consistent across the report, even if the underlying data dimension that you are slicing by changes.
Sync Filter Changes to Other Slicers
This option ensures that any filter changes made in one slicer are applied to all other synchronized slicers. This goes beyond just the selection of items in the slicer; it includes changes to the slicer’s filtering conditions, such as adjusting a date range or selecting multiple items. This ensures that when a user adjusts the criteria of one slicer, all other related slicers in the report update to reflect these changes.
Slicer Group Names
To manage slicer synchronization efficiently, Power BI allows users to assign slicers to groups. Each group is given a unique name. This method is especially beneficial so you don’t have to remember which slicers are on which pages. It’s a big time saver when working on complex reports.
Select a slicer, and from the Sync Slicers panel, type in a group name in the box under Advanced Options. When the group name matches, it will automatically enable slicer page sync between pages with where slicers belong to the same group.
Grouping is a time saver when there are many slicers across multiple pages that would otherwise be difficult to keep track of.
How to Disable Power BI Slicer Sync Across Pages
To disable slicer sync across pages in Power BI, navigate to the View section of the Power BI Ribbon, Enable the Sync Slicers Panel, expand it with a slicer selected and uncheck the refresh options next to the pages it is sync’d with. You will need to disable sync for all slicers individually.
Best Practices for Syncing Slicers in Power BI
Here are some tips to keep in mind when you’re working with slicers. The top one being keep the end report viewer in mind. The more intuitive a report is, the more likely they will use it over finding data through other methods or ignoring the Power BI report entirely.
- Consistency is Key – Ensure that the slicers you are syncing are consistent in terms of the data they are filtering. Mixing different dimensions or measures can lead to confusion.
- Use Bookmarking for Advanced Scenarios – For more complex scenarios, consider using bookmarks to save and apply slicer states across pages.
- Test Your Report – Thoroughly test your report to ensure that the slicers behave as expected across all pages.
- Use Slicers Sparingly – Syncing a large number of slicers across many pages can degrade performance when a user interacts with a slicer.
There are also times when creating reports that slicers may not be the ideal option. The default Filtering Panel in Power BI can perform page level and report level filtering. Training end users on how to expand the filter panel and utilize it for dynamic reporting may be a better solution in some use cases.
Syncing slicers across pages in Power BI can make reports more intuitive and easier to navigate. By selecting a slicer and enabling the Sync Slicers Panel you can have granular control over slicer sync settings. You can enable or disable the interactions on an individual slicer basis or assign them to groups to keep track of slicers across complex reports wtih many pages.
For highly complex reports it is worth considering how to limit the number of slicers across pages and to utilize the Filter Panel in Power BI to avoid slow report performance while giving end users the options they need to explore and drill into reports.