Use grouping and binning in Power BI Desktop

When Power BI Desktop creates visuals, it aggregates your data into chunks (or groups) based on values found in the underlying data. Often that's fine, but there may be times when you want to refine how those chunks are presented. For example, you might want to place three categories of products in one larger category (one group). Or, you might want to see sales figures put into bin-sizes of 1,000,000 dollars, instead of chunks of 923,983-dollar sizes.

In Power BI Desktop, you can group data points to help you more clearly view, analyze, and explore data and trends in your visuals. You can also define the bin size to put values into equally sized groups that better enable you to visualized data in ways that are meaningful. This action is often called binning.

Using grouping

To use grouping, select two or more elements on a visual by using Ctrl+click to select multiple elements. Then right-click one of the multiple selection elements and choose Group from the context menu.

Group command, graph, Grouping, Power BI Desktop

Once it's created, the group is added to the Legend bucket for the visual. The group also appears in the Fields list.

Legend and Fields lists, grouping, Power BI Desktop

Once you have a group, you can easily edit the members of that group. Right-click the field from the Legend bucket or from the Fields list, and then choose Edit Groups.

Edit Groups command, Legend and Fields lists, Power BI Desktop

In the Groups dialog box, you can create new groups or modify existing groups. You can also rename any group. Just double-click the group title in the Groups and members box, and then enter a new name.

You can do all sorts of things with groups. You can add items from the Ungrouped values list into a new group or into one of the existing groups. To create a new group, select two or more items (using Ctrl+click) from the Ungrouped values box, and then select the Group button below that box.

You can add an ungrouped value into an existing group: just select the one of the Ungrouped values, then select the existing group to add the value to, and select the Group button. To remove an item from a group, select it from the Groups and members box, and then select Ungroup. You can also move ungrouped categories into the Other group or leave them ungrouped.

Groups dialog box, Power BI Desktop

Note

You can create groups for any field in the Fields well, without having to select multiple items from an existing visual. Just right-click the field, and select New Group from the menu that appears.

Using binning

You can set the bin size for numerical and time fields in Power BI Desktop. You can use binning to right-size the data that Power BI Desktop displays.

To apply a bin size, right-click a Field and choose New Group.

New Group command, Fields list, Power BI Desktop

From the Groups dialog box, set the Bin size to the size you want.

Bin size, Groups dialog box, Power BI Desktop

When you select OK, you'll notice that a new field appears in the Fields pane with (bins) appended. You can then drag that field onto the canvas to use the bin size in a visual.

Drag bins field onto canvas, Power BI Desktop

To see binning in action, take a look at this video.

And that's all there is to using grouping and binning to ensure the visuals in your reports show your data just the way you want them to.