Create smart narrative summaries (preview)

APPLIES TO: Does not apply to.Power BI service for consumers Applies to.Power BI service for designers & developers Applies to.Power BI Desktop Does not apply to.Requires Pro or Premium license

Note

These visuals can be created and viewed in both Power BI Desktop and the Power BI service. The steps and illustrations in this article are from Power BI Desktop.

The smart narrative visualization helps you quickly summarize visuals and reports. It provides relevant innovative insights that you can customize.

Screenshot showing a smart narrative summary on the right side of a report.

Use smart narrative summaries in your reports to address key takeaways, to point out trends, and to edit the language and format for a specific audience. In PowerPoint, instead of pasting a screenshot of your report's key takeaways, you can add narratives that are updated with every refresh. Your audience can use the summaries to understand the data, get to key points faster, and explain the data to others.

Note

Because the smart narrative feature is in preview, you must turn it on if you want to use it. In Power BI, go to File > Options and Settings > Options > Preview features. Then select Smart narrative visual.

Screenshot showing Power BI Options. The Smart narrative visual option is selected.

Get started

Watch Justyna show you how to use smart narratives, then try it out yourself using the tutorial, below the video. To follow along with this tutorial, download the sample file of an online-sales scenario.

In the Visualizations pane, select the Smart narrative icon to automatically generate a summary.

Screenshot showing the Visualizations pane. The Smart narrative icon is selected.

You see a narrative that's based on all of the visuals on the page. For example, in the sample file, smart narratives can automatically generate a summary of the report's visuals that address revenue, website visits, and sales. Power BI automatically analyzes trends to show that revenue and visits have both grown. It even calculates growth, which in this case is 72 percent.

Screenshot showing how to create a smart narrative summary.

To generate a smart narrative of a visualization, right-click it and then select Summarize. For example, in the sample file, try summarizing a scatter chart that shows various transactions. Power BI analyzes the data and shows which city or region has the highest revenue per transaction and the highest number of transactions. The smart narrative also shows the expected range of values for these metrics. You see that most cities produce less than $45 per transaction and have fewer than 10 transactions.

Screenshot showing a smart narrative that summarizes a scatter chart.

Edit the summary

The smart narrative summary is highly customizable. You can edit or add to the existing text by using the text box commands. For example, you can make the text bold or change its color.

Screenshot showing text-formatting commands on a toolbar.

To customize the summary or add your own insights, use dynamic values. You can map text to existing fields and measures or use natural language to define a new measure to map to text. For example, to add information about the number of returned items in the sample file, add a value.

As you type a value name, you can choose from a list of suggestions as you do in a Q&A visual. So, in addition to asking questions of your data in a Q&A visual, you can now create your own calculations without even using Data Analysis Expressions (DAX).

Screenshot showing how to create a dynamic value for a smart narrative visualization.

You can also format dynamic values. For example, in the sample file, you can show values as currency, specify decimal places, and choose a separator for thousands.

Screenshot showing how to format a dynamic value.

To format a dynamic value, select the value in the summary to see your editing options on the Review tab. Or in the text box, next to the value that you want to edit, select the edit button.

Screenshot showing the text box, with the Value tab selected. Next to the value name, the edit button is highlighted.

You can also use the Review tab to review, delete, or reuse previously defined values. Select the plus sign (+) to insert the value into the summary. You can also show automatically generated values by turning on the option at the bottom of the Review tab.

Sometimes a hidden-summary symbol appears in the smart narrative. It indicates that current data and filters produce no result for the value. A summary is empty when no insights are available. For example, in the sample file's line chart, a summary of high and low values might be empty when the chart's line is flat. But the summary might appear under other conditions. Hidden-summary symbols are visible only when you try to edit a summary.

Screenshot showing two hidden-summary symbols inside a smart narrative summary.

Visual interactions

A summary is dynamic. It automatically updates the generated text and dynamic values when you cross-filter. For example, if you select electronics products in the sample file's donut chart, the rest of the report is cross-filtered, and the summary is also cross-filtered to focus on the electronics products.

In this case, the visits and revenues have different trends, so the summary text is updated to reflect the trends. The count-of-returns value that we added is updated to $4196. Empty summaries can be updated when you cross-filter.

Screenshot showing how a selection on a chart can cross-filter a summary.

You can also do more advanced filtering. For example, in the sample file, look at the visual of trends for multiple products. If you're interested only in a trend for a certain quarter, then select the relevant data points to update the summary for that trend.

Screenshot showing how to select a trend line to filter the summary to show only that trend.

Limitations

The smart narrative feature doesn't support the following functionality:

  • Pinning to a dashboard
  • Using dynamic values and conditional formatting (for example, data bound title)
  • Azure Analysis Services, on-premises AS
  • KPIs, cards, multiple-row cards, maps, tables, matrices, R visuals or Python visuals, custom visuals
  • Summaries of visuals whose columns are grouped by other columns and for visuals that are built on a data group field¬†
  • Cross-filtering out of a visual
  • Renaming dynamic values or editing automatically generated dynamic values
  • Summaries of visuals that contain on-the-fly calculations like QnA arithmetic and percentage of grand total
  • Calculation groups