Change how visuals interact in a Power BI report

If you have edit permissions for a report, you can use Visual interactions to change how visualizations on a report page impact each other.

Introduction to visual interactions

By default, visualizations on a report page can be used to cross-filter and cross-highlight the other visualizations on the page. For example, selecting a state on a map visualization highlights the column chart and filters the line chart to display only data that applies to that one state. See About filtering and highlighting. And if you have a visualization that supports drilling, by default, drilling one visualization has no impact on the other visualizations on the report page. But both of these default behaviors can be overridden, and interactions set, on a per-visualization basis.

This article shows you how to use visual interactions in Power BI Desktop. The process is the same in the Power BI service Editing view. If you only have Reading view access, or the report has been shared with you, you will not be able to change the visual interactions settings.

The terms cross-filter and cross-highlight are used to distinguish the behavior described here from what happens when you use the Filters pane to filter and highlight visualizations.

Note

This video uses older versions of Power BI Desktop and the Power BI service.

Enable the visual interaction controls

If you have edit permissions to a report, you can turn on the visual interaction controls and then customize how the visualizations on your report page filter and highlight each other.

  1. Select a visualization to make it active.

  2. Display the Visual Interactions options.

    • In Desktop, select Format > Interactions.

      select Format then Interactions

    • In the Power BI service, open the report in Editing view and select the dropdown from the report menu bar.

      Visual interactions dropdown

  3. To display the visualization interaction controls, select Edit interactions. Power BI adds filter and highlight icons to all of the other visualizations on the report page. We can see that the tree map is cross-filtering the line chart and the map, and is cross-highlighting the column chart. You can now change how the selected visualization interacts with the other visualizations on the report page.

    report with Visual interactions turned on

Change the interaction behavior

Get familiar with how your visualizations interact by selecting each visualization on your report page, one at a time. Select a data point or a bar or a shape and watch the impact on the other visualizations. If the behavior you see is not what you'd prefer, you can change the interactions. These changes are saved with the report, so you and your report consumers will have the same visual interaction experience.

Start by selecting a visualization to make it active. Notice that all the other visualizations on the page now display interaction icons. The bolded icon is the one that is being applied. Next, determine what impact you'd like the selected visualization to have on the others. And, optionally, repeat for all other visualizations on the report page.

If the selected visualization should:

  • cross-filter one of the other visualizations on the page, select the filter icon in the upper right corner of that visualization filter icon.
  • cross-highlight one of the other visualizations on the page, select the highlight icon highlight icon.
  • have no impact on one of the other visualizations on the page, select the no impact icon no impact icon.

Change the interactions of drillable visualizations

Certain Power BI visualizations can be drilled. By default, when you drill a visualization, it has no impact on the other visualizations on the report page. But, that behavior can be changed.

Tip

Try it yourself using the Human Resources sample PBIX file. There's a column chart with drill down on the New hires tab.

  1. Select the drillable visual to make it active.

  2. Turn on drill down by selecting the drill down icon.

    turn on drilling

  3. From the menu bar, select Format > Drilling filters other visuals. Now when you drill down (and up) in a visualization, the other visualizations on the report page change to reflect your current drilling selection.

    turn on drilling filters other visuals

  4. If the behavior you see is not what you'd prefer, you can change the interactions as described above.

Considerations and troubleshooting

If you build a matrix with fields from different tables, then try to cross-highlight by selecting multiple items at different levels of the hierarchy, you get errors on the other visuals.

Video of bug when try to filter at different levels of hierarchy

Next steps

Filtering and highlighting in Power BI reports