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Using Power BI bookmarks to highlight report content

Author: Simon Hurst

Published: 19 Jan 2023

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Since the Excel Community dismantled its paywall, membership has increased more than tenfold. As part of ensuring that thousands of new members are aware of the key projects the community is responsible for, we are running a series of articles looking at each of the four spreadsheet publications launched over the past 10 years. Each of these projects is supported by series of explanatory articles that form part of the community archive. These articles are tagged accordingly in the archive. In order to facilitate access to the list of relevant articles for each project, we have added bookmarks to our Power BI archive portal, so that the list can be displayed with a single click.

Power BI bookmarks

Most Power BI reports feature a set of tables and other graphics that can be filtered, sorted and highlighted interactively using dropdowns and slicers. Different elements of a report can also be linked to each other so that, for example, clicking on a bar in one chart will filter or highlight other charts so that they show the same subset of information. We will use our archive portal for our examples. Here, we have clicked on one of the bars in the competency level chart (outlined in blue), and we can see our other charts (outlined in green) now highlight information related to articles that have been tagged with the same level. In addition, our list of articles and other graphics are filtered to just the ‘General’ level content:
image of picture being inserted on excel
Clicking on an element of a chart is just one way to apply filters to a report page. Slicers can also be added as visuals and there is a filter pane that can be expanded at the right-hand edge of the page to allow filters to be applied to the whole page or to the selected graphic.

Our bookmark saves the state of all of these filters so that they can all be applied just by selecting the associated bookmark. As well as filters, bookmarks will also save the state of sorts, drill locations, object visibility as set in the Selection pane, and the focus and spotlight mode of objects.

For the archive portal, we want to display articles in the 20 Principles series and we want to sort them in chronological order:
image of powerpoint on excel
Having made the selections we need in order to display the required content, we can then go to the View Ribbon tab and click on the Bookmark command to open up the Bookmark pane at the right hand edge of the window:
image of powerpoint on excel
At the top of this pane, an Add button creates a new bookmark holding our settings. We can right-click on the bookmark to give it a descriptive name. The right-click menu also allows existing bookmarks to be deleted or updated and you can also choose which elements are to be included in the bookmark:
image of powerpoint on excel
The portal already includes a separate report page designed to allow articles to be selected by date and this has been set to show recent articles from the last 2 months. We could also set this up as another bookmark on our main page by selecting the appropriate date filter from the filter pane.

Bookmark Navigator

Once we have our bookmarks set up, we can make them easier to access by allocating a bookmark to a button on our page. Clicking on the button will apply the bookmark settings. This would be fine if we only needed a fixed bookmark or two, but if we are planning on changing or adding bookmarks over time, this would require bookmark buttons to be added or changed manually each time. A more automatic method is to set up a Bookmark Navigator.

To do this, we can go to the Insert Ribbon tab, Elements group and click on the Buttons dropdown. As well as the individual Bookmark option, at the bottom of the dropdown the Navigator option lets us choose a Page navigator or a Bookmark navigator. Both are similar in that they create a block of buttons for each page or bookmark. This block is updated automatically as we add, delete and rename pages or bookmarks. The Navigator block is added to our report page just like any other Power BI visual and, when selected, can be edited using the options in the Format pane.

For example, here we have inserted a Bookmark navigator and used the Grid Layout section of the Format, Visual pane to choose to display the buttons vertically and with reduced padding. This helps us to create a relatively compact block of buttons to select each of our bookmarks. We have also created a ‘Default’ bookmark by adding a bookmark when our report page has no filters set and with the list of articles sorted in reverse chronological order. In the Bookmark section of the Format, Visual pane we can turn on ‘Allow deselection’ and set this Default bookmark as the bookmark to be ‘launched’ when all the other bookmarks are deselected. This gives us an easy way to go back to our normal display of the report page:
image of powerpoint on excel
We will be adding further bookmarks related to the four ICAEW spreadsheet publications over the next few weeks, but for now you can try the existing Recent posts and 20 Principles bookmarks out below. Click on either of the bookmarks in the navigator towards the top left of the main page of the main page. Click again to de-select and return to the display of all the archive posts:
The 'Open in full-screen mode' icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the embedded report should show the contents at a more readable size with the Escape key returning you to the post.

We haven’t included a list of links in this article, but you should find a Power_BI ‘word’ in the keyword word cloud that you can click on to display articles relevant to the use of Power BI.