Create a visual with Power BI Q&A

Sometimes the fastest way to get an answer from your data is to ask a question using natural language. In this article, we look at two different ways of creating the same visualization: first, asking a question with Q&A, and second, building it in a report. We use the Power BI service to build the visual in the report, but the process is almost identical using Power BI Desktop.

Power BI filled chart

To follow along, you must use a report that you can edit, so we'll use one of the samples available with Power BI.

Create a visual with Q&A

How would we go about creating this line chart using Q&A?

  1. From your Power BI workspace, select Get Data > Samples > Retail Analysis Sample > Connect.

  2. Open the Retail Analysis Sample dashboard and place your cursor in the Q&A box, Ask a question about your data.

    Place the cursor in the Q&A box

  3. In the Q&A box, type something like this question:

    this year sales and last year sales by month as area chart

    As you type your question, Q&A picks the best visualization to display your answer; and the visualization changes dynamically as you modify the question. Also, Q&A helps you format your question with suggestions, autocomplete, and spelling corrections. Q&A recommends a small wording change: "this year sales and last year sales by time month as area chart".

    Q&A corrected wording

  4. Select the sentence to accept the suggestion.

    When you finish typing your question, the result is the same chart that you see in the dashboard.

    Q&A filled area chart

  5. To pin the chart to your dashboard, select the pin icon Pin icon in the upper-right corner.

Create a visual in the report editor

  1. Navigate back to the Retail Analysis Sample dashboard.

  2. The dashboard contains the same area chart tile for "Last Year Sales and This Year Sales." Select this tile. Don't select the tile you created with Q&A. Selecting it opens Q&A. The original area chart tile was created in a report, so the report opens to the page that contains this visualization.

    Retail Analysis sample dashboard

  3. Open the report in Editing View by selecting Edit Report. If you aren't the owner of a report, you don't have the option to open the report in Editing view.

    Edit report button

  4. Select the area chart and review the settings in the Fields pane. The report creator built this chart by selecting these three values (Last Year Sales and This Year Sales > Value from the Sales table, and FiscalMonth from the Time table) and organizing them in the Axis and Values wells.

    Visualizations pane

    You see they ended up with the same visual. Creating it this way wasn't too complicated. But creating it with Q&A was easier!

Next steps

More questions? Try the Power BI Community