How to design and review reports for mobile devices in Power BI

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Mobile devices are great for quickly checking in documents or projects when employees are away from their PCs. When it comes to Microsoft Power BI, end users often need access to dashboards from outside the office—be it in a meeting, over lunch with a colleague, visiting a customer site, or catching up on work at home.

Luckily, Power BI designers can design and optimize dashboards for mobile devices, saving end users a lot of frustration by giving them up-to-date access to information anywhere.

SEE: Attitude Kit: Microsoft Power BI Developer (TechRepublic Premium)

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to design a Power BI dashboard for mobile devices using the Mobile Layout feature. The theme works with all mobile sizes and shapes based on iOS, Windows and Android mobile operating systems.

For this demonstration I’m using Microsoft Power BI Desktop on a Windows 10 64-bit system, but you can also use the Power BI service. If you want to follow along with this tutorial, you can download the Adventure Works Sales demonstration .pbix file from GitHub. Once downloaded, double-click the .pbix file to open it in Power BI; Alternatively, you can also use your own .pbix file.

Jump to:

How to prepare the dashboard in Power BI

Thanks to Power BI’s built-in capabilities, configuring a dashboard for mobile devices is pretty easy. Before we get to that, though, we need visuals. Let’s create a quick report.

Figure A shows a simple set of reports that you can quickly create. To create the column chart, do the following:

  1. In the Visualizations pane, click Clustered Column Chart.
  2. In the Fields area, expand the Products table and check the Category field.
  3. Expand the Sales table and examine the Sales Amount and Total Product Cost fields.

Figure A

Generate these reports using a PC and then configure them for mobile devices.

To create the winning card, proceed as follows:

  1. In the Visualizations panel, click the Map visual.
  2. In the Fields area, enable the Profit Amount measure in the Sales table. If you are not working with the downloadable demonstration file, you can leave the map blank.

Create a second card and turn on the Profit Amount % measure in the Sales table or leave it blank. The content is not that important. Our focus is on configuring everything to fit on a mobile device.

For a quick comparison, we publish the report as usual with these steps:

  1. Click the File menu.
  2. Select Publish in the left pane, and then select Publish to Power BI in the right pane.
  3. Save changes when prompted.
  4. Choose a destination, e.g. B. My Workspace and click OK. Make sure it’s a public site within your organization or a site that end users can access.
  5. Click the resulting link to view the published report shown in Figure B.

Figure B

Click the link to view this report.

As a Power BI designer, there are styles you might want to apply to make all three visuals look better, but it’s not necessary for our purposes. After you’ve seen the published report, we’ll reconfigure it to display on a mobile device.

How to use mobile layout view to publish to a mobile device

The good news is that when designing reports and dashboards for mobile devices, Power BI does all the work for you. Let’s go back to Power BI to illustrate. Web view is the default, so follow these steps to add a mobile layout:

  1. Click on the View menu.
  2. Click Mobile Layout, then click Continue when the Phone Version prompt appears.
  3. Double-click the visuals on the right to add them to the mobile frame.
  4. Resize and rearrange them until you are satisfied (Figure C).

Figure C

Arrange visuals in the mobile frame.
  1. Click the Selection tab.
  2. In the right pane, click Tab Order in the Selection Pane; They may not be in the order you expect.
  3. Rearrange the tab order by clicking the up and down arrows (Figure D).

Figure D

You may need to change the tab order.

At this point we have a reasonable dashboard for mobile. If you’re worried about the original web configuration, don’t worry – you won’t lose it. The web dashboard offers two views: web and phone. You can access the phone layout by using the web layout from the Edit menu.

SEE: How to Create Reports in Microsoft Power BI (TechRepublic)

We haven’t changed much about our phone view to keep things simple, but you can arrange the graphics in any order you like, resize them, and so on. If you don’t want all the visuals in the mobile view, don’t add them. You have a lot of flexibility in designing and formatting this optimized view.

We only optimized the first page of the report. Make sure you follow the same process with any pages you want to make mobile viewable.

Now we can show the dashboard view on a mobile device.

How to view a Power BI dashboard on a mobile device

To see the new mobile view, republish the report by following the instructions above. It doesn’t matter which view you’re in. If prompted to replace the existing dashboard, click Replace.

On your mobile device, use your favorite online app store to download and install the Microsoft Power BI app if you don’t already have it. It only takes about a minute and your store should know to download the correct version. If prompted, be sure to indicate whether you’re using an Android, iOS, or Windows phone, although it shouldn’t be required.

On your mobile device, do the following:

  1. Open Power BI (Figure E).

Figure E

Click the Power BI icon to open the app.
  1. Find the report (Figure F) and press it to open it.

Figure F

Find the report and press to open it.

Figure G shows the resulting dashboard on an Android phone. At this point, you can use the dashboard to interact with the web layout as usual.

SEE: Mobile Device Security Policy (TechRepublic Premium)

It’s not perfect yet, but you still have the option to return to Power BI Desktop or the service to make changes. If you want to go back and make more changes, make sure to repost the changes to apply them to the mobile version dashboards.

Figure G

View the dashboard on our mobile device.

The link to the published dashboard is irrelevant in this case. If you send this to someone, they will open Power BI in designer view, which is not what you want. Instead, make sure you share the report with a public workspace or a workspace that end users have permission to access. If the report is not visible to end viewers, you may need to grant permission to the workspace or to the report itself.

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