PowerBI Glossary

Account: Use your work or school account to sign in to Power BI. Administrators manage work or school accounts in Azure Active Directory. Your level of access is determined by the Power BI license associated with that account and the capacity type where content is stored. See license and Premium.

Admin portal: The location where Power BI admins manage users, features, and settings for Power BI in their organization.

Aggregates: When the values of multiple rows are grouped together as input on criteria to form a single value of more significant meaning or measurement. Only implicit measures can be aggregated.

Alert (alerts): A feature that notifies users of changes in the data based on limits they set. Alerts can be set on tiles pinned from report visuals. Users receive alerts on the service and on their mobile app.

Annotate: To write lines, text, or stamps on a snapshot copy of a tile, report, or visual on the Power BI mobile app for iOS and Android devices.

App (apps): A bundle of dashboards, reports, and datasets. It also refers to the mobile apps for consuming content such as the Power BI app for iOS.

AppSource: Centralized online repository where you can browse and discover dashboards, reports, datasets, and apps to download.

ArcGIS for Power BI: ArcGIS is a mapping and analytics platform created by the company Esri. The name of the visual included in the Power BI visuals library is called ArcGIS for Power BI.

Auto Insights: Now called Quick Insights.

BI: Business intelligence.

Bookmark: A view of data captured in the Bookmarks pane of a report in Power BI Desktop or service. In Desktop, the bookmarks are saved in the pbix report file for sharing on the PowerBI service.

Breadcrumbs: The navigation at the top left to quickly navigate between reports and dashboards.

Calculation: A mathematical determination of the size or number of something.

Capacity (Power BI Premium): Data models running on hardware fully managed by Microsoft in Microsoft cloud data centers to help ensure consistent performance at scale. BI solutions are delivered to the entire organization regardless of Power BI license.

Card (visual type): A Power BI visualization type.

Card (Power BI Home): Power BI Home displays rectangular and square pictures that represent dashboards, reports, apps, and more. These pictures are referred to as cards.

Certified custom visual: A Power BI custom visual that met requirements and passed strict security testing.

Connect live: A method of connecting to SQL Server Analysis Services data models. Also called a live connection.

Connector: Power BI Desktop includes an ever-growing collection of data connectors that are built to connect to a specific data source. Examples include GitHub, MailChimp, Power BI dataflows, Google Analytics, Python, SQL Server, Zendesk, and more than 100 additional data sources.

Container: The areas on the navigation pane are containers. In the nav pane, you'll find containers for: Browse, Data hub, Apps, Metrics, Deployment pipelines, Learn, Workspaces, and Home.

Content: Content for the Power BI service is generally dashboards, reports, and apps. It can also include workbooks and datasets.

Content list: The content index for an app.

Content view: The view that lists Power BI content you created or content that was shared by other designers.

Continuous variable: A continuous variable can be any value between its minimum and maximum limits; otherwise, it is a discrete variable. Examples are temperature, weight, age, and time. Continuous variables can include fractions or portions of the value. The total number of blue skateboards sold is a discrete variable since we can't sell half a skateboard.

Correlation: A correlation tells us how the behavior of things are related. If their patterns of increase and decrease are similar, then they're positively correlated. And if their patterns are opposite, then they're negatively correlated. For example, if sales of our red skateboard increase each time we run a TV marketing campaign, then sales of the red skateboard and the TV campaign are positively correlated.

Cross-filter: Applies to visual interactions. Cross-filtering removes data that doesn't apply. For example, selecting Moderation in the doughnut chart cross-filters the line chart. The line chart now displays only data points that apply to the Moderation segment.

Cross-highlight: Applies to visual interactions. Cross-highlighting retains all the original data points but dims the portion that doesn't apply to your selection. For example, selecting Moderation in the doughnut chart cross-highlights the column chart. The column chart dims all the data that doesn't apply to the Moderation segment and highlights all the data that does apply to the Moderation segment.

Custom visual: Visuals that are created by the community and Microsoft. They can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store for use in Power BI reports.

Dashboard: In the Power BI service, a dashboard is a single page, often called a canvas, that uses visualizations to tell a story. Because it is limited to one page, a well-designed dashboard contains only the most important elements of that story. Dashboards can be created and viewed only in the Power BI service, not in Power BI Desktop.

Data connector: See connector.

Data model (Excel data model): In Power BI content, a data model refers to a map of data structures in a table format. The data model shows the relationships that are being used to build databases. Report designers, administrators, and developers create and work with data models to create Power BI content.

Dataflow: Dataflows ingest, transform, integrate, and enrich big data by defining data source connections, Extract Transform Load (ETL) logic, refresh schedules, and more. Formerly called 'data pool'.

Dataset: A dataset is a collection of data used to create visualizations and reports.

Desktop (or Power BI Desktop): Free Power BI tool used primarily by report designers, admins, and developers.

Diamond (Power BI Premium): The shape of the icon that signifies a workspace is a Premium capacity workspace.

Dimension: Dimensions are categorical (text) data. A dimension describes a person, object, item, product, place, and time. In a dataset, dimensions are a way to group measures into useful categories. For our skateboard company, some dimensions might include looking at sales (a measure) by model, color, country/region, or marketing campaign.

Drill up, drill down, drillthrough: In Power BI, 'drill down' and 'drill up' refer to the ability to explore the next level of detail in a report or visual. 'Drill through' refers to the ability to select a part of a visual and be taken to another page in the report filtered to the data that relates to the part of the visual you selected on the original page. Drill to details commonly means to show the underlying records.

Editing view: The mode in which report designers can explore, design, build, and share a report.

Ellipsis: (...) menu. Selecting an ellipsis displays additional menu options. Also referred to as the More actions or More options menu depending on the menu options.

Embed code: A common standard across the internet. In Power BI, the customer can generate an embed code and copy it to place content such as a report visual on a website or blog.

Embedded: See Power BI Embedded.

Embedding: In the Power BI developer offering, the process of integrating analytics into apps using the Power BI REST APIs and the Power BI SDK.

Environment: [Power BI Desktop, Power BI Mobile, the Power BI service, and others] Another way to refer to one of the Power BI tools. It's OK to use Power BI environment (tenant) in documentation where it might help business analysts who are familiar with the term 'tenant' to know it's the same thing.

Explicit measures: Power BI uses explicit measures and implicit measures (see definition). Explicit measures are created by report designers and saved with the dataset. They are displayed in Power BI as fields and can therefore be used over and over. For example, a report designer creates an explicit measure TotalInvoice that sums all invoice amounts. Colleagues who use that dataset and who have edit access to the report can select that field and use it to create a visual. When an explicit measure is added or dragged onto a report canvas, Power BI does not apply an aggregation. Creating explicit measures requires edit access to the dataset.

Filter versus highlight: A filter removes data that does not apply. A highlight grays out the data that does not apply.

Focus mode: Use focus mode to pop out a visual or tile to see more detail. You can still interact with the visual or tile while in focus mode.

Full-screen mode: Use full-screen mode to view Power BI content without the distraction of menus and navigation panes.

Gateway or on-premises data gateway: A bridge to underlying data sources. It provides quick and secure data transfer between the Power BI service and on-premises data sources that support refresh. Usually managed by IT.

High-density visuals: Visuals with more data points than Power BI can render. Power BI samples the data to show the shape and outliers.

Home: The default landing page for Power BI service users. Doesn't modify anything. Can be called Power BI Home or simply Home.

Implicit measures: Power BI uses implicit measures and explicit measures. Implicit measures are created dynamically when you drag a field onto the report canvas to create a visual, and Power BI automatically aggregates the value using one of the built-in standard aggregations (SUM, COUNT, MIN, AVG, and others). Creating implicit measures requires edit access to the report.

Insights: See quick insights.

KPIs: Key performance indicators. A type of visual.

Left navigation (left nav): This was replaced with nav pane but might still appear in some documentation. The controls along the left edge of Power BI service. First instance: navigation pane. Subsequent mentions or tight spaces: nav pane.

License: Your level of access is determined by the Power BI license associated with your account and the capacity type where content is stored.

List page or content list: One of the section pages for the elements in the nav pane. For example, Create Data hub or My workspace.

Measure: A measure is a quantitative (numeric) field that can be used to do calculations. Common calculations are sum, average, and minimum.

Microsoft R (R): R is a programming language and software environment for statistical computing and graphics.

Mobile app: Apps that allow you to run Power BI on iOS, Android, and Windows mobile devices.

Modeling (Power BI Desktop): Getting the data you've connected to ready for use in Power BI. This includes creating relationships between tables in multiple data sources, creating measures, and assigning metrics.

My workspace: The workspace for each Power BI customer to use to create content.

Native: Included with the product. For example, Power BI comes with a set of native visualization types. But you can also import other types such as Power BI visuals.

Navigation pane or nav pane: The controls along the left edge of the Power BI service.

Notification: Messages sent by and to the Power BI Notification center.

Notification center: The location in the service where messages are delivered to users such as notice of sunsetting certain features.

OneDrive for work or school vs OneDrive: OneDrive is a personal account and OneDrive for work or school is for work accounts.

On-premises: The term used to distinguish local computing (in which computing resources are located on a customer's own facilities) from cloud computing.

On-premises data gateways: See gateways or on-premises data gateways.

PaaS: Platform as a service, for example, Power BI Embedded.

Page: Reports have one or more pages. Each tab on the report canvas represents a page.

Paginated reports: Paginated reports are designed to be printed or shared. They display all the data in a table even if the table spans multiple pages.

pbiviz: The file extension for a Power BI custom visual.

pbix: The file extension for a Power BI Desktop file.

Permissions: What a user can and can't do in Power BI is based on permissions.

Phone report: The name for a Power BI report that's been formatted for viewing on a phone.

Phone view: The user interface in the Power BI service for laying out a phone report.

Pin unpin: The action a report designer takes when placing a visual, usually from a report, onto a dashboard.

Power BI, Power BI service, Power BI Desktop, Power BI mobile: Some of the Power BI offerings. Power BI is the general term.

Power BI Desktop: Also referred to as Desktop. The free Windows application of Power BI you can install on your local computer.

Power BI Embedded: A product used by developers to embed Power BI dashboards and reports into their own apps, sites, and tools.

Power BI Premium: An add-on to the Power BI Pro license that enables organizations to predictably scale BI solutions.

Power BI Pro: A monthly per-user license that provides the ability to build reports and dashboards, collaborate on shared data, and more.

Power BI Report Builder: A free standalone Windows Desktop application used for authoring paginated reports.

Power BI Report Server: An on-premises report server with a web portal in which you display and manage reports and KPIs.

Power BI service: An online SaaS (software as a service).

Premium workspace: A workspace running in a capacity signified to customers by a diamond icon.

Pro license or Pro account: See account and license.

Publish: Power BI service report designers bundle the contents of a Power BI workspace to make it available to others as a Power BI app.

Q&A: The Power BI feature that allows natural language questions about a dataset and get responses in the form of visualizations.

Q&A virtual analyst: [Power BI Mobile] For iOS, the conversational UI for Q&A.

QR codes: [Power BI Mobile] A matrix barcode that can be generated for dashboards or tiles in the Power BI service to identify products.

query string parameter: Add one to a URL to pre-filter the results seen in a Power BI report.

Quick Insights: Automatically generated insights that reveal trends and patterns in data.

Reading view: Read-only view for reports (as opposed to Editing View).

real-time streaming: The ability to stream data and update dashboards in real time from sources such as sensors, social media, usage metrics, and more.

recent: The container on the home page that holds all the individual items that were accessed last.

related content: Shows the individual pieces of content that contribute to the current content. For example, for a dashboard, you can see the reports and datasets providing the data and visualizations on the dashboard.

relative links: Links from dashboard tiles to other dashboards and reports that have been shared directly or distributed through a Power BI app. This enables richer dashboards that support drillthrough.

report: A multi-perspective view into a single dataset with visualizations that represent different findings and insights from that dataset. Can have a single visualization or many, a single page or many pages.

report editor: The report editor is the tool in which new reports are created and changes are made to existing reports by report designers.

report measures: Also called custom calculations. Excel calls these calculated fields. See also measures.

responsive visuals: Visuals that change dynamically to display the maximum amount of data and insights no matter the screen size.

row-level security (RLS): Power BI feature that enables database administrators to control access to rows in a database table based on the characteristics of the user executing a query (for example, group membership).

SaaS: Software as a service is a way of delivering applications over the internet as a web-based service. Also referred to as web-based software, on-demand software, or hosted software.

screenshot: Simple screenshots of a report can be emailed using the 'send a screenshot' feature.

service: See Power BI service. A standalone resource available to customers by subscription or license. A service is a product offering delivered exclusively via the cloud.

settings: The location for Power BI users to manage their own general settings such as whether to preview new features, set the default language, close their account, and more.

share (sharing): In Power BI, sharing typically means directly sharing an individual item (a dashboard or report) with one or more people by using their email address.

Shared with me: The container in the nav pane that holds all the individual items that were directly shared by another Power BI user.

snapshot: In Power BI, a snapshot is a static image compared with a live image of a tile, dashboard, or report.

SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS): An online analytical data engine used in decision support and business analytics, providing the analytical data for business reports and client applications such as Power BI, Excel, Reporting Services reports, and other data visualization tools.

SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS): A set of on-premises tools and services to create, deploy, and manage report servers and paginated reports.

streaming data: See real-time streaming. The ability to stream data and update dashboards in real time.

subscriptions (subscribe): You can subscribe to report pages, apps, and dashboards and receive emails containing a snapshot. Requires a Power BI Pro license.

summarization: [Power BI Desktop] The operation being applied to the values in one column.

tiles: Power BI dashboards contain report tiles.

time series: A time series is a way of displaying time as successive data points. Those data points could be increments such as seconds, hours, months, or years.

value (values): Numerical data to be visualized.

visual (visualization): A chart. Some visuals are bar chart, treemap, doughnut chart, map.

visual interaction: One of the great features of Power BI is the way all visuals on a report page are interconnected. If you select a data point on one of the visuals, all the other visuals on the page that contain that data change based on that selection.

Visualizations pane: Name for the visualization templates that ship in the shared report canvas for Power BI Desktop and the Power BI service.

workbook: An Excel workbook to be used as a data source. Workbooks can contain a data model with one or more tables of data loaded into it by using linked tables, Power Query, or Power Pivot.

workspace: Containers for dashboards, reports, and datasets in Power BI. Users can collaborate on the content in any workspace except My workspace.

x-axis: The axis along the bottom, the horizontal axis of a line graph.

y-axis: The axis along the side, the vertical axis of a line graph.

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