Storytelling with Power BI 6/7: Progressive disclosure

The sixth blog in the storytelling series, this time all about a progressive disclosure! But first I need to say sorry! This blog is almost a week late! I was planning to post it last Thursday, but due to traveling and some important meetings, I didn’t have the time to write this blog earlier. So, this time a blog written on my way back home from an awesome SQL Saturday in Oslo, Norway.
(The last blog in the storytelling series, Let them ask questions, will be delayed as well)

Remove all bullshit

During my work as a Data & Analytics consultant, I’ve seen a lot of reports and dashboards trying to display to much information. As a human, we are only able to focus on what is important and don’t want to be distracted by everything else what is on the page. I’ve seen loads images, additional texts or even worse, trying to fit to many charts on a single page.

To let your users interact with your report, keep the first charts and insights on a higher level in hierarchy. Keep it simple and remove all bullshit! More detailed and additional information and context can be found only when some insights took attention of the users. If that is the case, you might want to show additional details.

Power BI offers multiple features which will help you to make your report more intuitive and give the end-user the ability to interact with the report. Think about drill up/down, drillthrough and Report page tooltips. In previous blogs on storytelling I showed how to work with drillthrough. This blog will go in detail on report page tooltips.

Progressive disclosure

It is all about giving that little bit more insights which can be done in many ways. For example, you want to show the sales by product category, which you’ve put in a bar chart. Looking at these bars, you might be interested in the number of manufactures involved in these sales amounts for product category. You can create a stacked barchart representing the different manufacturers in a legend. Or you can use another chart in your report to represent the top 5 products, which will interact with the sales over time chart. But both options will use additional space on your report canvas and look a bit messy, which can distract the users of where it is all about.


Using tooltips will give you the option to hover over a part of the chart and show additional information. By default, a normal tooltip will be in a black box where you can show one (or more) value(s), filtered on the dimension you’ve used on the axis and/or legend of this chart.

Report page tooltips

Report page tooltips takes the tooltip functionality to the next level. You will be able to design your tooltip yourself. An end-to-end customized and designed report page can be shown at hover over and keeps the context of the current dimensional value in the axis and/or legend. With report page tooltips, you can easily show more than only one additional chart to show a bit more information. Below, you see an example of a report page tooltip showing the number of manufacturers involved for this specific category.


Creating a report page tooltip, is fairly easy by following the below steps

Create your report page tooltip

  • Create a new report page
  • Go to page format pane on the right side
  • Change the Page size to Tooltip, or customize the screen size
  • Give the page an explanatory name
  • Make sure that the checkbox for Tooltip under Page Information is checked
  • In the bottom, right-click the page and hide the page, since you don’t want to show this page as part of your navigation.
  • Create the visual(s) you want to show on the report page tooltip


Assign the report page tooltip to the right visual(s)

  • Go to the visual where you want to show to display the hover over
  • For this specific visual, go to the format pane
  • Under tooltip settings set Type to Report page
  • Also set the Page to Auto. If Power BI doesn’t pick-up the right report page tooltip page automatically, you can also select the one you want to show.



2 thoughts on “Storytelling with Power BI 6/7: Progressive disclosure

  1. Pingback: Progressive Disclosure – Curated SQL

  2. Pingback: Webinar recap & blog series: Storytelling & interactive reporting with Power BI – Data – Marc

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