Creating Power BI buttons that switch between visuals can be done using two different techniques. Power BI developers can modify the visibility settings of a visual, toggling between views or they can add buttons that take report viewers to completely different tabs of a Power BI report.
When combining custom navigation buttons with visible and invisible settings it can be a game changer for story telling with your report allowing users more control over what is presented than what would be possible with a standard slicer.
By setting up custom navigation to hidden tabs views can be completely customized and additional buttons can be used to go back or drill down into more data.
Let’s take a look!
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Why and When to use Buttons to Switch Between Visuals
There are a number of great reasons to use Power BI buttons in your dashboards and report. They give Power BI developers much more flexibility in how a report user interacts with a report and they unlock functionality that would otherwise be impossible by only using slicers. Some of the things you can do with butotns include the following:
- Design buttons using custom images
- Link to different tabs of a report
- Switch Between Visuals
- Force refresh a Power BI Dataset
- Clear all selected slicers
When you combine these advanced features with the ability to link buttons to Power Automate actions, you can even interact with systems outside of Power BI to complete tasks and kick off workflows!
How to Switch Visuals in Power BI Using Buttons
When setting up Power BI buttons to switch between visuals, the visual itself does not actually switch. Power BI developers use a combination of visibility settings or links to separate tabs in the same report to create the effect of visual switching.
For example, you could place a scatter plot and a bar chart in the same location of a page. Then adjust the visibility setting of each visual. When you press a button it toggles one visual on and the other off. Because they’re in the same location and the rest of the report layout stays the same it appears that a visual is changing to the end user.
The other technique is to make a button that navigates to a hidden tab that has a different visual, or set of visuals. In this way you can have a completely customized view when a button is pushed and go beyond visibility settings that are on a single page.
There are three steps to switching visuals.
- Create a Button
- Create a Bookmarked View of Visible and Invisible Report Elements
- Assign an action to the new button
Let’s walk through each one of these in more detail.
Adding Buttons in Power BI
To add a button, navigate to Insert, Buttons, on the Power BI Ribbon at the top of the page. A menu will appear with a number of button pre-sets. In most cases you will use a blank button, but there are many different design options and ways to setup buttons. Keep in mind if you add a button that goes to a hidden tab, you may also need to add a back button. Power BI has a number of pre-made button icons to choose from.
Choose the type of button you want to insert into your Power BI dashboard and it will create a new design element on the page.
Also available in the Buttons section is a Bookmark Navigator. It works similar to a tile slicer and dynamically adds new bookmarks as they’re added to the report making it easier than creating individual buttons for each instance of a bookmark.
We’ll explain bookmarks in a
How to Hide or Show Visuals in Power BI
To modify the visibility settings of a visual, 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. This is where you will change visibility settings or change which page element is layered on top of another one.
The Selection panel can be enabled under View, Selection from the Power BI Report Ribbon
Once enabled, the selection panel is visible. The Eye Icon toggles page elements between visible and not visible. The show and hide buttons will toggle between visibility of the different design elements.
Changing visibility in Power BI is not limited to standard charts and graphs. You can also hide slicers, text or other embedded images. For example, you could include notes or screenshots of another part of a process that only become available when a button is pressed.
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 enabling it, 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.
After creating a bookmark, give it a descriptive name. You will use the bookmark name in the next section to assign an action to a button.
Assigning Actions to Power BI Buttons
After creating a button and a custom bookmarked view of a visual, the next step is to link the two elements together. Because there are so many options of what a button could do, you have to tell the button which bookmark to navigate to when pressed.
To assign an action, click on a newly inserted button or image, and navigate to the Format Panel on the right side of the screen, and navigate to: Format Options, Shape, Action.
Make sure that Action is enabled and you will see a dropdown box of the different actions that you can assign to a button.
From the dropdown Type menu, select the Bookmark option. Another dropdown box below it will allow you to designate which bookmark becomes active when clicked.
Once you put all of the pieces together, the end result may look like the following setup. We have both visuals shown side by side but you would normally stack them on top of each other as separate layers with bookmarks on different visibility settings.
For even more control over the view that people see when pressing a button, you can setup a button action to take people to an entirely different tab or page of your Power BI report.
How to Navigate Between Tabs with Power BI Buttons
Using the same steps to create buttons for switching between visuals, Power BI can also switch between report tabs. To do so, first create a button, then click on the button, go to format options, and assign the Page Navigation Action Type and define the Destination Tab Name.
The following screenshot shows a button setup for page navigation to move to a tab named SMA Chart.
Page Navigation buttons become even more magical to end users when you set them up to navigate to hidden tabs. Tabs can be hidden in Power BI by right clicking the tab name and select Hide Page. This leaves the tab available for you to work on as a developer, but a report viewer will be unable to navigate to it on their own.
Create a button to go to a hidden tab and you can change many aspects of the report view that go beyond visibility settings. You can also leave a majority of the design intact by duplicating a page and make it look like you are switching visuals just don’t forget the back button!
Buttons are an incredibly useful tool in Power BI for toggling between visuals and views. The following video explains how to even setup toggle buttons that’s worth a look!
Switching visuals in Power BI can be a bit tricky at first. When end users click a button and see a visual change they often don’t know that it’s actual a bookmark with a different report view saved or the button is taking them to a completely different page within a Power BI report.
By creating buttons, adding bookmarks or tabs with different views then assigning the appropriate action type to a button, developers can re-create the look of a visual being switched on demand.