Use the ribbon in Power BI Desktop

Power BI Desktop has revised its ribbon to better align its appearance and experience with other Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Office.

New ribbon in Power BI Desktop

Features of the ribbon

The benefits of the ribbon are intended to make the experience across Power BI Desktop, as well as other Microsoft products, easy and familiar.

These benefits can be grouped into the following categories:

  • Search bar - The ribbon includes a Search experience, similar to the search available in other Microsoft products. When you click the search bar, Power BI suggests actions based on the current state of your report. As you type, search results are updated and buttons provided to get help, or take next steps.

    New search bar

  • Improved look, feel, and organization - icons and functionality in the updated Power BI Desktop ribbon are aligned to the look, feel, and organization of ribbon items found in Office applications.

    Improved look and feel

  • An intuitive Themes gallery - the Themes gallery, found in the View ribbon, has the familiar look and feel of the PowerPoint themes gallery. As such, the images in the ribbon show you what the theme changes will look like if applied to your report, such as the color combinations and fonts.

    Better themes

  • Dynamic ribbon content based on your view - in the existing ribbon for Power BI Desktop, icons or commands that weren't available were simply grayed out, creating a less-than-optimal experience. With the updated ribbon, icons are dynamically displayed and arranged, so that you always know which options are available to you, in context.

  • A single-line ribbon, when collapsed, saves you space - another benefit of the updated ribbon is the ability to collapse the ribbon itself into a single line, dynamically displaying ribbon items based on your context.

    Collapsed ribbon

  • Keytips to navigate and select buttons - to help navigate the ribbon, you can press Alt + Windows Key to activate keytips. Once activated, you can press the shown keys on your keyboard to navigate.


  • Custom format strings - in addition to setting custom format strings in the Properties pane, you can also set them in the ribbon. Select the measure or column you want to customize and a Measure tools or Column tools contextual tab appears, depending on your selection. In that tab, you can type your custom format string directly into the dropdown box.

    Custom format strings

  • Accessibility - the title bar, ribbon, and file menu are fully accessible. Press Ctrl + F6 to navigate to the ribbon section. Once there, you can use Tab to move between the top and bottom bars, and use arrow keys to move between elements.

In addition to those visible changes, an updated ribbon also lets us make future updates to Power BI Desktop, and its ribbon, such as the following:

  • Create more flexible and intuitive controls in the ribbon, such as the visuals gallery
  • Add the black and dark gray Office themes to Power BI Desktop
  • Improve accessibility

Next steps

There are all sorts of data you can connect to using Power BI Desktop. For more information on data sources, check out the following resources: