Top Power BI Interview questions – Door to Crack your Power BI Interview [2019]

Having the perfect study material while preparing for an interview is a must. And, your search for the best guide on Power BI interview questions ends here. We have gathered the top Power BI interview questions for freshers and experienced professionals.

These Power BI interview questions and answers by DataFlair are explained in a very easy and reader-friendly language. Without any more delay, let’s dive into the latest Power BI Interview questions and answers.

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Top Power BI Interview Questions and Answers for experienced

Microsoft Power BI Interview Questions and Answers

Here are the best Power BI interview questions and answers to boost your interview preparation:

Q.1. How would you define Power BI as a self-service solution?

Ans. Self-service business intelligence allows both technical as well as non-technical users to work with data, create reports and analyze it to discover important information. Power BI is also a self-service business intelligence solution. Business users can use Power BI to gather, prepare, transform and analyze data in their own ways. Self-service solutions like Power BI comes with tools for data designing, modeling, preparation, filtering, visualization, etc. A business user does not need technical knowledge to work on such self-service software. Moreover, Power BI is a very user-friendly tool with attractive UI to make intuitive reports and shareable dashboards.

Become a Power BI expert by completing 50+ tutorials of Microsoft Power BI

Q.2. Tell us about Microsoft self-service business intelligence solution. What are its parts?

Ans. Microsoft’s self-service business intelligence allows business users to create reports and dashboard, cleanse/transform data (ETL), create data models, integrate data from different sources, do statistical analysis, predictive analysis, geospatial data analysis, Big Data analysis, etc. The self-service BI solution is for a range of users such as report consumers, report designers, data analysts, and statisticians.

The Microsoft SSBI consists of two components:

  • Power BI
  • Excel BI Toolkit

Q.3. Explain the major concept of Power BI.

Ans. Power BI is a cloud-based, self-service business intelligence solution. It is popularly used for data sharing and creating reports and dashboards. Power BI is a user-friendly software that offers an attractive graphical user-interface with intuitive visualizations. Business users can collect data from multiple data sources at a time and work with it to create reports for analysis. Power BI has on-premise, web-based, cloud-based as well as mobile platforms to share the reports created for other users. The users you share these Power BI reports and dashboards with can interact with it by filtering and using slicers according to their needs. Thus, in a nutshell, Power BI is a business intelligence platform based on the Microsoft cloud to create and share reports for data analysis.

Q.4. What is Power BI Desktop?

Ans. Power BI Desktop is a Microsoft Windows desktop application for Power BI. It is free of cost software which can be installed on any on-premise device like a laptop or PC. The Power BI Desktop is loaded with tools and capabilities to import, cleanse, design and model data. Also, it has many attractive as well as interactive visualizations to represent data graphically in reports. The Power BI Desktop works in association with the Power BI Service. You can save the reports/files that you create in Power BI or publish them on the Power BI Workspace/site or with other business users.

Take a deep insight into Power BI Desktop

Q.5. What is Get Data in Power BI? Tell us about the data connections.

Ans. Get Data feature offers data connectivity to a number of different data sources. The Get Data option is on the Menu bar of Power BI Desktop main page. We can click on this option to connect our Power BI Desktop app with a preferred data source.

You can connect to data files on your local system, Excel files, Azure SQL Database, Facebook, Google Analytics, Power BI datasets, etc. You can connect to cloud-based sources, on-premises data sources using gateways, online services, direct connects, etc.

Some commonly used data sources are listed below:

File: Excel, Text/CSV, XML, PDF, JSON, Folder, SharePoint.

Database: SQL Server database, Access database, Oracle database, SAP HANA database, IBM, MySQL, Teradata, Impala, Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery, etc.

Power BI: Power BI datasets, Power BI dataflows.

Azure: Azure SQL, Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Azure Analysis Services, Azure Data Lake, Azure Cosmos DB, etc.

Online Services: Salesforce, Azure DevOps, Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Dynamics 365, Facebook, GitHub, etc.

Others: Python script, R script, Web, Spark, Hadoop File (HDFS), ODBC, OLE DB, Active Directory, etc.

Q.6. What are the building blocks of Power BI?

Ans. Power BI consists of some key components that can also be called its building blocks. Five key components of Power BI are the Visualizations, Datasets, Reports, Dashboards, and Tiles.

Visualizations: Visualization is the graphical way of representing the data. Power BI offers a wide range of attractive visualizations. We can create reports and dashboards using both simple or, complex visualizations as per our requirement. In this way, we represent our data set graphically with charts, tables, and maps. There is also a library available in Power BI for custom visualizations.

Datasets: A dataset is a collection or a set of data gathered from different data sources. In Power BI, we can connect to different data sources via the Get Data feature and fetch data. There are many data sources from which we can get data and create a dataset such as Excel, SQL Server, MySQL database, Azure, Text/CSV, Oracle, PDF, Access, XML, JSON and many more.

Reports: Reports in Power BI are a combination or collection of different kinds of visualizations relevant to a particular business topic. A report is a graphical and structured presentation of datasets having multiple pages. It used in the analysis. Reports are informative and reveal important insights from the data. We can easily share and publish reports created in Power BI with other users.

Dashboards: Dashboard is a collection of important visualizations taken from a report. Dashboards are a single layer representation offering quick information or insights into data. Typical dashboards in Power BI are composed of multiple visualizations as tiles. They are single pages from reports (thus, single layer). Power BI dashboards are shareable as well as printable.

Tiles: A tile is a single block containing a visualization in a Power BI dashboard/report. Tiles segregate each informative visualization distinctively to provide a clear view. These tiles can be adjusted as well as its size can be changed. Also, they can be placed anywhere on the dashboard as per the user’s convenience.

Note – The above Power BI interview question is mostly asked by interviewers. Prepare it well.

Q.7. What are the filters in Power BI?

Ans. Filters in Power BI sort data based on criterions set by us. We can select particular fields or values in a visualization/page/report and view filtered information instantly. For example – if we have a dataset regarding the sales of a clothing store. We can filter out the unnecessary information and view only the data for the selected criterions. Like if we want information on sales in India in the year 2019, we just need to put the filtering criterion as 2019 and India from their respective fields. Power BI will immediately make changes accordingly and only show the graphs and visuals specific to sales statistics in India and in the year 2019.

Filters in Power BI can be applied on three levels; visualization, page and report level.

  • Visualization-level filter: These filters are applied directly on individual visualizations. We can apply them on both data and calculation conditions used within a visualization.
  • Page-level filter: Page-level filters are applied on a particular page within a report. As we know, reports consist of more than one pages. We can apply certain filter conditions on a selected page within a report. Each page in a report can have a different set of filter conditions applied to it.
  • Report-level filter: Such filters are applied to the entire report. They are applied to every visualization and every page of a report.

Time to master the concept of Power BI Filters

Q.8. Discuss about the Content Packs in Power BI.

Ans. The Power BI content packs are packages or pre-build solutions that contain several Power BI objects. The content packs might contain Power BI objects such as reports, dashboards, datasets, Excel workbooks, etc. A user can deploy their data/objects to the content packs and share them with others in an organization. Content packs are shared and accessed via the Power BI site (Workspace). You can share them with individual users or a whole group of users. Thus, content packs make a standardized way of reporting for an organization. Business users can update the data in content packs by republishing them on-site and view live dashboards and interactive reports.

Generally, there are two types of content packs; the service provider content packs and user-created content packs. The service providers such as Google Analytics, Marketo or Salesforce, etc. provide pre-built content packs. Whereas, the others are those that the users create and share within an organization.

Q.9. What are the visualizations in Power BI?

Ans. Visualizations are the visual representation of data. Power BI offers a wide range of attractive visualizations. We can create reports and dashboards using both simple as well as complex visualizations to represent the data set. There is also a library available for custom visualizations. We can format and customize the visualizations as per your liking and edit every detail from the appearance to the data labels finely.

In Power BI, we can create visualizations such as, Bar charts, Column charts, Line chart, Area chart, Stacked area chart, Ribbon chart, Waterfall chart, Scatter chart, Pie chart, Donut chart, Treemap chart, Map, Funnel chart, Gauge chart, Cards, KPI, Slicer, Table, Matrix, R script visual, Python visual, etc.

Q.10. What are reports in Power BI?

Ans. Reports in Power BI are a combination and collection of different kinds of visualizations relevant to a particular business topic. A report is a graphical and structured presentation of datasets used in the analysis. Reports are informative and reveal important insights from the data. Users can easily share and publish reports created in Power BI with other users via Power BI Desktop and Power BI website, cloud-based platforms and mobile platforms.

Learn to apply Filters in Power BI Reports

Q.11. What do you understand by dashboards in Power BI?

Ans. A Power BI dashboard is a canvas on which we can bring together different elements or visualizations to represent datasets. A dashboard gives us a graphical overview of the story that lies in the detailed BI report. It contains all the important elements from a report. A dashboard is always a single page whereas a report can be many pages long. The designers create a dashboard and publish it on Power BI sharing platforms and consumers use the dashboards from there. A consumer cannot make changes in a dashboard. Rather, they use the dashboard for analytical purposes like getting a quick insight into their business, making an important decision based on the information given on a dashboard, etc.

Q.12. What do you understand by Power BI Service?

Ans. Power BI is a cloud-based business analytics solution and provides services regarding the same. The cloud-based BI services include sharing and viewing Power BI reports and dashboards on cloud-based platforms such as a Power BI website (Workspace). One can access a Power BI report of their interest, for analysis on the Power BI site using a work email.

Power BI Service is a web-based platform from where you can share reports made on Power BI Desktop, collaborate with other users, and create dashboards. Power BI Service is available in three versions; a free version, Pro version, and a Premium version. Power BI Service is also referred by names such as, “Power BI.com”, “Power BI Workspace”, “Power BI Site” and “Power BI Web Portal”.

Q.13. Tell us about the Excel BI Toolkit.

Ans. As we know, Excel BI toolkit is the other half of the Microsoft self-service BI (one half being Power BI). This toolkit is composed of Excel and a few more add-ins such as Power Query, Power Pivot, Power View, Power Map. All the tools in the Excel BI toolkit serve a special purpose like importing, modeling, preparing and visualizing data. Generally, the tools are used to create reports by consolidating data from multiple data sources and to model the datasets. Excel and other add-ins can be used independently or along with each other to optimize BI capabilities of the toolkit.

Q.14. How many versions of Power BI are available as of now? How are they different?

Ans. There are presently (2019) three versions or editions of Power BI i.e. Power BI Desktop, Power BI Pro and Power BI Premium.

Power BI Desktop: Power BI Desktop is a free of cost development, authoring and publishing tool of Microsoft Power BI. It is a user interaction platform from where users can connect to multiple data sources, transform and clean data, visualize and create reports.

Power BI Pro: Power BI Pro is a modern self-service BI having advanced features for collaboration, publishing, report sharing, and ad hoc analysis. It costs $9.99 per month per user.

Power BI Premium: Power BI Premium is an enterprise BI solution with features and tools for advanced analytics, big data support, on-premises and cloud reporting, etc. It also provides dedicated cloud computing and storage facilities. It costs $4,995 per month (per instance of dedicated cloud compute and storage resource).

Note – The above question is the favorite Power BI interview question of most of the interviewers. Learn it thoroughly. 

Q.15. What are some of the key features and capabilities of Power BI?

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Ans. The key features of Power BI are as follows:

  • Customizable dashboards
  • Datasets
  • Reports
  • Tiles
  • Get Data
  • Navigation pane
  • Q&A Question Box
  • Help & feedback buttons
  • Ad Hoc reporting
  • Ad Hoc analysis
  • Row-level security
  • Mobile device compatibility
  • Online Analytical Processing (OLAP)
  • Trend indicators
  • Interactive reports authoring
  • Complete reporting & data visualization tools

Dive deep into the Features of Power BI

Q.16. What are the key components of Power BI?

Ans. Power BI is a business suite that includes several technologies that work together to deliver outstanding business intelligence solutions. Microsoft Power BI technology consists of a group of components such as:

  • Power Query (for data mash-up and transformation)
  • Power BI Desktop (a companion development tool)
  • Power BI Mobile (for Android, iOS, Windows phones)
  • Power Pivot (for in-memory tabular data modeling)
  • Power View (for viewing data visualizations)
  • Power Map (for visualizing 3D geo-spatial data)
  • Power Q&A (for natural language Q&A)

Q.17. What do you know about the views in Power BI Desktop?

Ans. In Power BI Desktop, you can view your dataset in three types of views. You will find the three view options on the left vertical pane of the Power BI Desktop:

  • Report view: In the report view, we have an empty canvas where we can create a report using data from our datasets. We can make a report of multiple pages and add visualizations in them. So, report view is all about designing your report for data analysis.
  • Data view: In the data view, we can view and format the data tables in our data set.
  • Model view: In the model view, we can make data models by establishing relationships between data tables. These associations make the reports more interactive and responsive.

Q.18. Where is the Power BI data stored?

Ans. All the data that we import in Power BI from different data sources get stored in either of the two tables in a data warehouse; Fact tables and Dimension tables. The fact tables are the central/main table of a start schema which contains all the measure (quantitative data) values. It has primary keys and all the dimension tables are linked to the fact table. The fact table is not usually normalized.

While a dimension table is a table in a database which contains all the attribute values (information about data) for the data stored in fact table. Every dimension table in a star schema is linked to a fact table.

Q.19. What is row-level security? How is it used in Power BI?

Ans. The row-level security is applied to the individual rows of a data table and restricts users from viewing and accessing the entire dataset. With row-level security applied, users can view only a selected section of data. We can apply row-level security by setting roles and rules in Power BI Desktop or by using the username() function. The username() function will only show the data to a particular user.

However, we need a Power BI Pro subscription to use the row-level security capabilities.

Q.20. Tell us about the Excel add-ins for Power BI.

Ans. The Excel BI Toolkit for Microsoft self-service BI has got a number of add-ins:

  • Power Query for data mash-up and transformation.
  • Power View for viewing data visualizations.
  • Power Pivot for in-memory tabular data modeling.
  • Power Map for visualizing 3D geo-spatial data.

Q.21. What is the difference between Power BI Premium and Power BI Pro?

Ans. Both Power BI Pro and Power BI Premium are paid services providing advanced data analysis capabilities. However, there are some basic differences between the two:

FeaturesPower BI ProPower BI Premium 
On-premise reporting using Power BI Report Server NoYes
Compute processing environmentShared Dedicated
Incremental data refreshNoYes
Share published reports YesNo
Use paginated reports in Power BINoYes
Data set size (max)1GB10GB
Maximum allowed storage10 GB per user 100TB
Cloud serviceYesYes
Data security and encryption YesYes
Create visualizations, reports, dashboardsYesYes
Big Data preparation and ETL YesYes
Power BI library access and custom visuals SDKYesYes
Data connectors for cloud and on-premise sources Yes Yes
Analyze data in Microsoft Excel Yes Yes
Content embedding in SaaS apps like SharePoint, Teams, etc. YesYes
Mobile compatibility Yes Yes 
Pricing $9.99 per month per user$4,995 per month per instance

Note – You can’t afford to miss the above question. It’s a very popular Power BI interview question.

Q.22. In what ways and for what basic purposes can you use Power BI?

Ans. There are a number of ways and purposes by which you can utilize Power BI:

Connecting to data: The first thing to do when we start off with working on Power BI Desktop is to connect to a data source and fetch data. With the Get Data option in Power BI Desktop, we can select and connect to a data source from a long list of available data sources.

Transform and clean data: As soon as we connect to a data source, we can transform and clean the data. We can transform and clean our data with an in-built Power Query Editor. In the Power Query Editor, we can rename the table, change the data type, removing or adding columns, applying filters, and combining data from multiple sources.

Creating visualizations: Once our data is transformed and loaded into the Power BI Desktop, we can create visualizations using the data model. We will get a set of visualizations in the visualizations pane given on the top right.

Creating reports: Power BI Desktop offers the perfect set of tools to create informative and attractive reports. A report is a collection of visualizations that together give an informative account and insight on the imported data. A Power BI report can consist of one or more than one pages.

Sharing reports: After creating a report in Power BI Desktop, we can use the Publish option to share it with others. To Publish a report to Power BI Service having Power BI license is necessary. We can share the report at any location of Power BI Service such as your personal workspace, team workspace, or elsewhere.

Q.23. Can you briefly explain the working of Power BI?

Ans. To have a better understanding of Power BI, its working is divided into three parts or phases.

1. Data Integration

In Power BI, data can be imported from different kinds of data sources in different formats. In the data integration step, data is brought together (extracted) from different data sources and converted into a standard format. After data is integrated, it is kept in a common storage area known as the staging area.

2. Data Processing

Once the data is integrated and stored at a place, it requires some processing. The raw data is transformed by performing several processing or cleansing operations on it such as removing redundant values etc. Relevant business rules are applied to the processed data transforming it according to the business needs. This transformed data is loaded into the Data Warehouses. This completes a full process of ETL.

3. Data Presentation

In this final phase, the processed data is taken from the warehouse into the Power BI platforms like Power BI Desktop to create reports, dashboards, and scorecards. Power BI offers a wide range of visualizations. You can also import custom visualization from the Marketplace. From the report development platforms, the reports are published on the web or mobile apps to share it with other business users.

Q.24. What are Custom visuals in Power BI?

Ans. Custom visuals are customized visualizations like charts, KPIs, etc. that are created by developers from scratch using custom visuals SDK. Power BI offers a rich library of custom visuals which you can select, import and use in your Power BI report. Developers use JavaScript libraries such as jQuery, D3, R-language scripts, etc. to create custom visuals. Once a custom visual is ready, it is tested and debugged. Then they are packaged in a .pbiviz file and shared within an organization or uploaded on AppSource as an open-source data visualization. From the AppSource, any Power BI user (author) can import the custom visual to use it in their report.

Generally, Power BI custom visuals are divided into three categories based on the way they are deployed:

  • Custom visual files
  • Organizational visuals
  • Marketplace visuals

Get a thorough understanding of Custom Visuals in Power BI

Q.25. What are the KPIs in Power BI?

Ans. KPIs are the Key Performance Indicators. The KPIs evaluates an organization’s performance in different areas by evaluating values and measurable goals. A KPI always has a base value or measure which is evaluated against a target value. That is, comparing the actual performance with the target. You can evaluate the performances in an analysis just by seeing the KPI as they graphically represent the evaluation. Thus, KPIs will show whether the goals you have set are met or not.

Don’t forget to check the Power BI KPI

Q.26. What are Slicers in Power BI?

Ans. Slicers in Power BI are visual filters that are present in the report page. The slicers let us sort and filter information on a packed report. Unlike filters, slicers are present as a visual on the report and we can select values on it while we are analyzing the data in the report. For instance, if we have a sales analysis report, you can make a slicer for years. From that slicer, we can select the year for which we want to see the sales metrics such as 2017, 2018, 2019, etc. The report visuals will automatically and instantly change to show the information for the selected year.

Take a deep dive into Power BI Slicers

Q.27. How is the pricing scheme of Power BI laid out?

Ans. Microsoft has put out three pricing plans for Power BI.

For the basic version, Power BI Desktop is free of cost and includes tools for data visualization, data preparation, data modeling, data cleansing and publishing reports to Power BI Service.

Power BI Pro is available at a subscription price of $9.99 per user per month. You can try 60 days free trial before purchasing the subscription. This plan for Power BI Pro includes tools for data collaboration, a 360 real-time view for dashboards, data governance, and freedom to publish reports anywhere.

The Power BI Premium is available at a price of $4,995 per month for one dedicated storage resource and cloud computing facility.

Q.28. What is Power BI Q&A?

Ans. Using Power Q&A option, you can search for your data or discover insights by entering queries in natural language. It instantly understands your query and returns relevant results.

Q.29. How can we categorize the users in Power BI?

Ans. There are mainly four types of users as per their purpose of usage of Power BI. These four types of users are Analysts, Business users, IT professionals and Developers. Let’s learn some more about them.

Analysts: Analysts use Power BI to develop reports, dashboards, data models and study them to discover valuable insights in the data. Power BI offers a wide range of data sources from which an analyst can extract data, make a common dataset, cleanse and prepare that data to make reports and conduct analysis.

Business users: The business users are the common users who study the reports and dashboards shared with them on Power BI website or mobile app. Business users remain updated with the latest information which helps in taking an important decision in time.

IT professionals: The IT professionals are mainly concerned with the technical and managerial aspects like scalability, availability, and security of data. They also centrally manage all the Power BI services and users.

Developers: Developers are involved in technical work. Their key roles are to create custom visuals to be used in Power BI, embedding Power BI into other applications, creating reports, etc.

Note – The interviewers can frame the above-mentioned Power BI interview question in a tricky manner. So, answer it smartly.

Q.30. How are a Power BI dashboard and a report different from each other?

Ans. Let us run through some quick points to make the difference between a dashboard and a report clear.

CapabilityDashboardReport
PagesConsists of one page only. Can be of one or more pages.
Data sourcesCan have data tiles from one or more datasets or reports.It has a single dataset per report.
FilteringCannot perform filtering or slicing. Can perform filtering, slicing and highlighting. 
Set alertsEnables you to set alerts for emails. No option for setting alerts. 
Featured reports Enables you to set only one dashboard as a featured dashboard.No option to create a featured dashboard.
Accessing dataset tables and fieldsDoes not allow viewing or accessing underlying datasets tables and fields. Provides the option for viewing dataset tables, fields and values. 

Summary

This was all in the Power BI interview questions and answers for beginners and experienced professionals. We tried to cover all the core aspects of Power BI which are essential for Power BI interview preparation. All the Power BI interview questions in this guide were of basic and intermediate level. In the next article of Power BI interview questions and answers, we will try to cover more advanced questions on Power BI tool.

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