Last Updated: February 28, 2019

written by Nic Sim

Drill-down capability is a reporting function that many users not only want but have come to expect from their reporting and/or dashboarding software. Drill-down allows users to dig deeper, going from a general view of their data into a more specific view all with a click of a button. Power BI reports offer this capability, however, Power BI takes it even one step further, enabling users to view the metadata (aka the transactional data) that makes up the visual. In Power BI, this next-level drill-down capability is called “See Records.”

Setup

Setting up drill-down in Power BI reports is easy and straightforward. In the visualization pane, add the desired columns to the visuals. It really is that simple!

In the pie chart above there are four levels in the hierarchy; Department is the Top level, Category the subsequent level, and so on.

In the pie chart above there are four levels in the hierarchy; Department is the Top level, Category the subsequent level, and so on.

The next question is, how do we get to each level? Power BI allows users different ways to do this and the options can be found in various places throughout the interface. Users can view the drill-down options by right clicking on a visual, going to the “Data/Drill” tab after selecting a visual, or by using the icons that appear when hovering over a visual. The four different options to drill-down in a visual are:

Drill Down

This is the standard drill-down function where users drill into a group in one level to view the next level with only data pertaining to the selected group.

Show Next Level

This option skips the current level and shows the next level in the hierarchy. It is skipping the Department level and showing data only on Categories.

Expand to next level

This option shows the next level for all the initial level groups. In the example below, all Categories for all Departments are displayed in the visual.

See Records

This option is unique to Power BI and shows a table of the metadata associated with the specific group selected. For Example, using the “See Records” function on the “Sales & Marketing” Department will result in the following table being displayed. It shows all transactional information associated with the selected Department.

While this deeper level drill-down is quite advanced, it does come with some limitations:

  1. Not available for visuals that utilize calculated measures
  2. Default order of fields shown in the ‘See Records’ view cannot be set

For more details about this function, see the Microsoft documentation site.

For more information about Power BI, contact us at info@t3infosystems.com or visit Power BI’s website.