Power BI is the best BI and reporting tool out there, and so is Power BI Mobile. Microsoft has made mobile access a first-class experience in the Power BI platform. All the heavy lifting like authentication, data security and network connectivity is all automatically delivered out of the box.
Just download the app and sign in once, then sit back and enjoy access to all your reports and dashboards. You’ll also get integration with your mobile device’s virtual assistant, so you can ask Siri for the sales report and she’ll pull it up for you to view.
Awesome stuff, right? But as a developer, you may not know how to deliver an optimized view of your analysis for mobile consumption. Here, I’ll walk you through creating a mobile version of your report. I’ll point out the major features, as well as some valuable tips and tricks.
- In the Power BI Desktop view, you can look at the design for the mobile view by clicking on View and then Mobile Layout. This gives me a blank canvas and on the right side is a visualizations pallet, which at this point only lists the visualizations from my desktop.
- I can pull over one of my desktop visuals and add my report title and company logo, but honestly, it’s not that great. I want to change the way it looks or even create a totally different visual just for my mobile layout, but unfortunately, I’m stuck with the visuals that I have on my desktop.
- To do this, here’s my first big tip for a work around; you’ll need to create visuals, put them on your desktop version, and then hide them. Let’s walk through this:
- The title bar ‘Sales Analysis’ on my mobile view is huge so I want to make it smaller. I go back to my desktop and make a copy of my title bar and make one with a smaller font size.
- Next, I go over to my mobile layout, get rid of the large one and add the smaller one.
- Here’s the problem, when I go back to the desktop, I want to get rid of that smaller font title text box and when I delete it, it will disappear from the mobile view as well.
- If I try to hide it in the desktop view, it will also hide it in my mobile view.
- So, my trick is to hide that text box with the smaller font behind a larger text box in my desktop view. All I need to do is lineup that mobile only text box on top of the other one, go to Format and click Send to the Back. You can also do this in the Selection panel on the right side and drag the text box to the bottom of the list, and it will put it behind everything else higher on the list.
- Next, I want to create a visual that is more meaningful in my mobile view. In my demo, I create a copy of my bar chart visual and I filter it to show only the most recent 3 months of my data.
- I’ll shrink that down a bit and hide it behind the larger bar chart on my desktop. That new 3-month bar chart will appear in my mobile visualizations pallet and I can pull that over onto the canvas.
- When I save this and publish it, I’ve created one version that users who view it from the desktop will get the desktop view. Users that view it from their phone will see the desktop view if they are in horizontal mode but will get the mobile view if they are in vertical mode.
When I’m on my phone and open the Power BI app, I see two different icons. The mobile version I created and published has a different icon with a phone on it. This way end users can quickly identify the version that is intended for the mobile use. I can rotate my phone horizontally and see the desktop version, but the goal of creating a mobile view of reports is to just have distinct data (in my case, the most recent 3 months) available for a quick update.
I can also add a quick Siri shortcut by simply telling Siri that when I say, ‘open mobile sales report’, my phone will go right to that mobile report. These tips should be super helpful when creating Power BI mobile reports.
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