35+ Power BI Interview Questions & Answers [90% FREQUENTLY ASK]
Power BI Interview Questions and Answers

35+ Power BI Interview Questions & Answers [90% FREQUENTLY ASK]

Last updated on 03rd Jun 2020, Blog, Interview Questions

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Sanjay (Power BI Analyst, CTS )

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The soaring demand for data visualization and data reporting has led to an exponential surge in the openings of Power BI jobs. Companies are in pursuit of specialists who can seamlessly deal with Power BI. 

We have put together the top Power BI interview questions for beginner, intermediate and experienced candidates. These most important questions are categorized for quick browsing before the interview or to act as a detailed guide on different topics in Power BI interviewers look for.

1. What is Power BI?


  • Power BI is a Business Analytics solution by Microsoft.
  • It is used to visualize business data from hundreds of data sources and share insights across your organization.
  • It is a cloud-based Self-Service BI tool which is a collection of applications, connectors and software services used to organize raw data into informative content.

2. What are the Different Components in Power BI?


These are various Power BI Components

  1. Power BI Service:
    • Power BI Desktop
    • Power BI Services
    • Power BI Mobile
    • Power BI Gateway
    • Power BI Premium
    • Power BI Report Server
    • Power BI Embedded
  2. Power Pivot
  3. Power Query
  4. Power Map
  5. Power View
  6. Data Management Gateway
  7. Data Catalog
  8. Power BI Q&A

3.  What are the Parts of Microsoft’s Self-Service Business Intelligence Solutions?


Microsoft Self-Service BI has two parts:

Excel BI Toolkit: Allows users to create reports interactively through data importing from distinct data sources as well as model data according to the requirement.

Power BI: It is the online solution that empowers users for sharing interactive reports and queries that you have created with Excel BI Toolkit.

4. What is the Differentiate between Power BI and Power BI Pro?


Power BI offers distinct kinds of features to help you get started in searching for data in a completely new way.  Power BI Pro, on the other hand, caters with some additional features like scheduling data, live data sources, storage capacity, along with complete interactivity and much more.

5. Define Excel BI Toolkit?


Excel BI Toolkit allows users for creating an interactive report with importing data from a distinct range of sources and model data according to requirement.

6. What is the Cost of Power BI?


Both Power BI Desktop and Power BI are free of cost. For Power BI Pro, users have to pay $9.99 per month after a 60-day free trial.

7. What does the term Power BI Desktop mean?


Power BI Desktop is a free app that can be installed on your computer to work in cohesion with the Power BI service through offering shaping, modeling, data exploration,  and report creation using high interactive visualizations. Furthermore, it allows you to save all your work to a file to publish reports and data to the Power BI site for sharing with others.

8. What are the basics needed for using Power BI?


  • To use Power BI, you need to have a  web browser and a work email address. 
  • work email addresses finishing in .mil and .gov are not supported currently.

9. What is the need of signing up with a work email?


Power BI does not email addresses provided by telecommunications providers and consumer email services, thus there is a need of signing up with work email.

10. Name the work email addresses that are currently supported?


Work email addresses that are finishing with .org and .edu are currently supported.

11. What formats is Power BI available in?


  • Power BI Desktop—for desktop computers
  • Power BI service—an online SaaS (Software as a Service)
  • Mobile Power BI apps—for iOS and Android devices

12. Is there any support by Power BI available for mobile devices?


Yes, Power BI supports mobile devices. It consists of apps for iOS devices, Windows 10 devices, and Android smartphones. You can install Power BI apps from the below app stores:

  • Google Play
  • Apple Store
  • Windows Store 

13. What are the Building blocks in Power BI?


The building blocks of Power BI are,

  • Visualizations
  • Data Sets
  • Reports
  • Dashboard
  • Tiles

14. What is Visualization?


Visualization is a process to represent data in pictorial form like tables, graphs or charts based on the specific requirement.

15. What is a Report?


The report is a Power BI feature which is a result of visualized data from a single data set. A report can have multiple pages of visualization.

16. What is Power Pivot and what are the filter writes in Power BI?


Power Pivot is an in-memory component that enables storing compressed data. It is used to build data models, relationships, creating formulas, and calculating columns from different resources.

Filters are applicable in:

  • Visualization level
  • Report Level
  • Page-Level

17. What data sources can Power BI connect to?


The following data sources that support DirectQuery in Power BI are as follows:

  • Amazon Redshift
  • Azure Data Explorer
  • AtScale (Beta)
  • Azure SQL Database
  • Azure HDInsight Spark
  • Google BigQuery
  • Azure SQL Data Warehouse
  • HDInsight Interactive Query

18. Why do we need BI?


You can take data and create reports at the click of a button.

  • You can take data and create reports at a button click. It helps in attracting new customers to service and monitor existing customers.
  • You can keep track of information and set your goals accordingly. In general, building an ETL solution (Extraction, Transformation, and Loading) ultimately helps to make better decisions.
  • The ROI is very high
  • Helps to make unwanted data into progressive information

19. Does Power BI store data?


Datasets are the data sources that are uploaded or connected to databases. These sources include Excel workbooks and Power BI Desktop files. The following are also included in your data capacity. Reporting Services on-premises visualizations are pinned to a Power BI dashboard.

20. What is a Power BI Desktop?


Power BI Desktop is a free desktop application that can be installed on your computer. It cohesively works with the Power BI service by providing advanced data modeling, shaping, exploration, and creating reports with highly interactive visualizations. It enables users to save the work to a file or publish your reports and data right to your Power BI site to share with others.

Below are the distinct Excel BI add-ons.

  • Power Query to find, edit and load external data 
  • Power View for designing interactive and visual reports 
  • PowerPivot to analyze data modeling
  • Power Map for displaying insights in 3D Map

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    21. What must be installed to use Power BI?


    To use the Power BI service for free, you need a work email and a web browser. With this, you can explore data as well as create reports in Power BI Desktop. The mobile app can be downloaded from the following stores:

    Google Play, App Store and Windows Store.

    22. How can one get started with Power BI?


    There are some resources to get assistance and get started with Power BI. They are as follows:

    • Webinars
    • Power BI Blog
    • You can get started with an article on Power BI
    • You can get started with a video on YouTube
    • Last but not least, joining a related community and get answered 

    23. What is SSBI?


    SSBI stands for Self-Service Business Intelligence. It can also be termed as accessing data analytics to empower business users to divide, clean, and interpret data. SSBI has made it easy for end-users to access their data and create various kinds of visuals to acquire useful business insights. Anyone who has basic data knowledge can build reports for creating spontaneous and shareable dashboards.

    24. What is a Dashboard?


    The dashboard is used to visualize the strategic data of one or multiple reports in a glance.

    25. What is the difference Between SUM() and SUMX()?


    Sum function (Sum()) takes the data columns and aggregates it totally but SumX function (SumX()) lets you filter the data which you are adding.

    26. What is the CORR function and when it is used?


    CORR is a correlation function that provides a correlation between two distinct variables ranging from -1 to 1.

    27. What are the advantages of Power BI?


    Here are the top Advantages of Power BI

    • Power BI integrates well with the existing application
    • It contains rich and personalized Dashboards.
    • publishing reports in a secure way
    • Quick accessibility to data which means there is no speed and memory issue.

    28. What are the data destinations for Power Queries?


    • There are two destinations for output we get from power query:
    • Load to a table in a worksheet
    • Load to the Excel Data Model

    29. What are the different connectivity modes in Power BI?


    • Import
    • Direct Query

    30. What is the Power BI Service?


    Power BI Service is a cloud-based analytics solution that helps you to create dashboards and publish, design reports, collaborate and share the reports with internal and external stakeholders. 

    31. What is the data source filter?


    A data source filter is a parameter of data filtering before loading into machines.

    32. What are the Different Products in the PowerBI family?


    Below are different Power BI services/products:

    • Power BI Desktop
    • Power BI Services
    • Power BI Mobile
    • Power BI Gateway
    • Power BI Premium
    • Power BI Report Server
    • Power BI Embedded

    33. What is Power View?


    Power View is a data visualization technology, which lets you create interactive graphs, charts, maps and other visuals to bring life to your data. It is available in Excel, SQL Server, SharePoint, and Power BI.

    34. What data sources can Power BI connect to?


    The Power BI data sources are extensive, which are divided as follows:

    Files: Data can be imported from Power BI Desktop files (.pbix), Excel (.xlsx, xlxm), and Comma Separated Value (.csv).

    Content Packs: It refers to the collection of related files or documents that are stored as a group. There are two types of content packs in Power BI, firstly those from service providers including Google Analytics, Salesforce or Marketo, and those created and shared by other users in the organization.

    Connectors: To connect databases and other datasets including Database, Azure SQL, and SQL Server Analysis Services tabular data, etc.

    35. Which language is used in Power Query?


    A new programming language is used in a power query called M-Code. It is easy to use and similar to other languages. M-code is case sensitive language.

    36. What is the Power BI Designer?


    Power BI is a stand-alone application to make Power BI reports and then upload them to Powerbi.com, it does not require excel. It is the combination of Power Pivot, Power View, and Power Query.

    37. How to import the data in Power BI desktop?


    Go to getting data Sources and click on your required sources (Excel, SQL, CSV) then Load it. Click on the Data view to view that data.

    To choose the table click on the fields and you can pick a visualization to generate a report.

    38. Which datasets are used to create a dashboard with streaming data tiles?


    Streaming datasets (we need to have data which is cached in memory before we use streaming data sets)

    Hybrid Datasets

    39. Describe DAX.


    DAX stands for Data Analysis Expressions. It is a collection of operators, functions, and constants used to calculate in formulas and return values. In other words, it helps you create new info from data you already have.

    40. How is data security implemented in Power BI?


    Power BI applies models with Row Level Security. 

    • Dynamix security involves using USERNAME functions in definitions.
    • A DAX expression can be applied on tables filtering their rows at query time. 
    • A table is typically created in the model that relates to specific dimensions and roles.

    41. How Dynamic filtering in Power BI is performed?


    Dynamic Filtering in Power BI is done by the following steps:

    • Once all the data are set up publish detail report to Power BI
    • Publish it to Group Work Space
    • Create Filter Link 
    • Create a DAX calculated Column
    • Public Overview Report
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    42. What is the procedure to buy Power BI Pro?


    Power BI license can be purchased at powerbi.com. However, you can also get assistance from Microsoft partners to aid using Power BI implementation.

    43. Is the Power BI service accessible on-premises?


    The user cannot avail the service as an internal or private cloud service. However, with Power BI and Power BI Desktop, the user can connect to their on-premise data sources securely.

    44. Which is the language used to calculate column/calculated field in Power Pivot?


    Data Analysis Expression (DAX) is used to calculate column fields in Power Pivot.

    45. What is DAX?


    DAX is a formula for computing calculated field and column. For doing a basic calculation and data analysis, it is used on data in power pivot.

    46. What are the column values that DAX supports?


    It is not capable of inserting or modifying data.It cannot be used to calculate rows, though you can calculate measures and calculated columns.

    47. Explain the Power Pivot Data Model.


    It is a model that is made up of data types, tables, columns, and table relations. The data tables are generally constructed to hold data for a business entity.

    48. Define Power Query.


    Power Query is an ETL tool to clean, shape, and transform data without any code using intuitive interfaces. With this:

    You can import data from various sources like to databases from files

    Append and join data from a wide range of sources

    You can shape data as needed by adding and removing it

    49. Name the language that is used in the power query.


    M-code which is a new programming language is used in Power Query. This language is easy to use and is quite similar to other languages. Also, it is case sensitive.

    50. Name the data destinations for Power Query.


    Two destinations are there for output we receive from the power query. They are:

    Load to Excel Data Model

    Load to a table in a worksheet

    51. Explain the Power BI Designer.


    Power BI Designer, a standalone app that is used to create reports in Power BI and to upload it to Powerbi.com. It is a combination of Power View, Power Pivot, and Power Query.

    52. Is there any process for refreshing Power BI reports one uploaded to the cloud?


    Of course, Power Bi reports can be refreshed with Data Management Gateway and Power BI Personal Gateway.

    53. What is the major difference between Power BI personal Gateway and Data Management Gateway?


    Power BI Personal Gateway is used for reports that are deployed in Powerbi.com. Data management, on the other hand, is an app installed the gateway on source data machines to deploy reports on Sharepoint and schedule to refresh automatically.

    54. What is the use of split function?


    The split function is used for splitting the string database on the given delimiter.

    55. Name all the platforms for which the Power BI app is available.


    Power BI app is available for:

    • Android
    • iPhone and iPad
    • Windows tablets and Windows Desktops
    • Coming for Windows phone soon

    56. Differentiate between older and newer Power BI.


    There is a new design tool that is used in the new Power BI called Power BI Desktop. It is a standalone designer, including Power Pivot, Power View and Power Query in the back end. Whereas, Older Power BI consists of excel add-ins. In the newer Power BI version,  there are several graphs available including treemap, line area chart, waterfall, combo chart, etc.

    57. Is it possible in the power pivot data model to have more than one active relationship between two tables?


    No, it is not possible. There cannot be more than one active relationship in the power pivot data model between two tables. It is possible to have only one active and many inactive relationships.

    58. What is the purpose of the ‘Get Data’ icon in Power BI?


    When users in Power BI click on the icon “Get Data”, a drop-down menu appears displaying all data sources from which data can be ingested. Data can directly get ingested from any source such as files in Excel, XML, PDF, JSON, CSV, and SharePoint folder databases and formats such as SQL, SQL Server Analysis Services, IBM, Access, Oracle, MySQL, and much more.

    59. What is Row-level Security?


    Row-level security restricts the data that users view and access, based on filters. To configure row-level security, users can define rules and roles within Power BI Desktop and publish them to Power BI Service. Also, the username() function can be used to restrict data in the table to the current user.

    However, to enable row-level security, a Power BI Pro subscription account is essential, and Excel sheets can be used when converted to the .pbix file format.

    60. What are the general data shaping techniques?


    The common data shaping techniques are:

    • Removing Columns and Rows
    • Adding Indexes
    • Applying for a Sort Order

    61. Which data sets can be used to create dashboards with streaming data tiles?


    • Streaming datasets
    • Hybrid Datasets

    62. What are the KPIs in Power BI?


    KPIs are Key Performance Indicators, which evaluates the organization’s performance in distinct areas by evaluating measurable goals and values. A KPI has a measure or base value that is evaluated against target values. It includes a comparison of the performance with the target. The KPI also helps you evaluate the analysis performances with their graphical representation. Thus, KPIs will show whether your goals have met or not.

    63. What could be the difference between Distinct() and Values() in DAX?


    The Distinct() and Values() are the same. The only difference between them is that the function values don’t calculate null values whereas distinct () calculates even the null values.

    64. State the advantages of the Direct query method.


    The advantages of Direct query method are listed as follows:

    Users can build huge data sets using the Direct Query Method, but Power BI desktop supports data visualizations on smaller sets alone. There is no limit to the dataset for direct query method and a 1GB dataset limit is not applicable in this method.

    65. What is What if the parameter in power bi?


    If you want to put a scenario and based on that if you want to see the visuals, the best is What if parameter. It helps you to forecast data and perform advanced analytics. For example, if you have set up the product discount from the what-if parameter from 1 to 10. And users can change the values and see the changes in profit, sales, revenue, margin etc. that helps in detailed analysis.

    66. What is the incremental refresh?


    Incremental refresh is used to refresh the newly added data to avoid truncating and loading data.

    67. What are the three main tabs in the Reports development Window?


    The major tabs in Reports development Window are as follows:

    • Relationship tab
    • Data Modeling Tab
    • Report Tab

    68. How many types of default Graphs (Visualizations) available in Power BI?


    Around 26 Views

    69. What are Slicers in Power BI?


    Slicers are the visual filters, which are present in the report page of Power BI. It helps us to sort and filter information on a packed report.

    Slicers unlike filters present as a report visual and you can select values on it while analyzing the report data.

    70. What is the major difference between a Filter and Slicer?


    Using Normal filters users were not allowed to interact with dashboards or reports, but using slicers we can interact with dashboards and reports.

    71. What is a parameter in Power BI?


    A Parameter in Power BI is a dynamic filter that is used in the calculation fields. It is based on the parameter value result that can vary.

    72. Difference Between New Measure and New column?


    A new column is an area in Power Bi where the physical data is stored when logic is applied, whereas, the measure is where the calculations are performed on the fly based on dimensions. Measures unlike Column won’t store any physical data.

    73. What are the different joins in Power BI?


    • Horizontal Joins to append data from multiple tables.
    • Vertical Joins to merge the data from multiple tables.

    74. What is meant by Gateway and what are its different types?


    The Gateway acts as an extension between azure cloud administration and on-premise data source. There are two major types of Gateways listed as follows:

    •  Individual Gateway
    • On-Premise Gateway
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    75. What is the Embed Code?


    There is an option in Power BI service, which publishes to the web to generate a link address for the Power BI report and can be shared across clients.

    76. How do you Hide and Unhide a Specific Report in Power BI?


    In the menu bar, choose the Selection pane and hide/unhide the report and the action to pass to bookmark.

    77. How do you compare Target and Actual Values from a Power BI report?


    Gauge chart is used to compare two different measures where the Target and Actuals are inferred.

    78. What is the Time Intelligence function?


    It is a function that allows manipulating data using time periods.

    79. What are Power Queries major Data Destinations?


    There are two destinations for output we get from power query:

    • Load to a table in a worksheet
    • Load to the Excel Data Model

    80. What is z-order in Power BI?


    Z-order is a design strategy used to arrange visuals over shapes. It can also be defined as a method applied to implement when reports consist of multiple elements. Moreover, this can also be used to refresh the display when the order of items in a report is changed.

    81. Can we Refresh Data Reports that are uploaded to the Cloud?


    Yes, you can refresh the data reports which are uploaded to the cloud. Power BI personal gateway and Data management gateway helps you acquire the same.

    82. How are a Power BI Dashboard and Report different from each other?


    To understand the difference between Power BI Dashboard and Report, let’s run through some quick points.

    Capability Report Dashboard
    Pages Can be of one or more pages. Consists of one page only
    Data sources It has a single dataset per report. Can have data tiles from one or more datasets or reports.
    Filtering Can perform slicing, filtering, and highlighting. Cannot filter or slice reports.
    Set alerts No option for setting alerts. Enable setting email alerts.
    Featured reports No option for creating a featured dashboard. Enables to set only one dashboard as a featured dashboard.
    Accessing tables and fields in datasets Provides options to view dataset tables, values, and fields. Cannot view or access underlying datasets tables and fields.

    83. How to Toggle Between Two Options and Make it Interact with the rest of the Visualizations in a Report?


    Toggling is an action that is achieved in Power BI reports when there exist two or more dimensions. With “Enlighten Slicer”, you can show this in Power BI and can be imported from Marketplace.

    84. How can You Change the Value Measure to Show Multiple Measures Dynamically?


    You can dynamically change and switch functions to show multiple measures using harvesting measures.

    85. What does rank() do? 


    Rank() calculates regular competition rank thus returning identical values. You can ask for ascending or descending values in the second argument accordingly.

    86. What is Power BI DAX style?


    It is both Row and Filter Context

    87. Is Business Intelligence a Good Career?


    One of the great reasons for choosing a career in BI is the on-demand outlook. According to a report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for expert BI managers and analysts expected to soar to 14% by 2026, with the overall need for data professionals to climb to 28% by 2020.

    88. What is a Content Pack?


    A content pack is used to share the data, data sets or dashboard within the organization. It takes place over the BI website and can be shared with multiple users also.

    89. How Important is Power BI?


    Dashboards, datasets, and reports are the heart of Power BI, and they enable users to create personalized dashboards combining cloud-born and on-premises data in a single view. It allows monitoring the most important data enterprise-wide and from all their business apps.

    90. Is Power BI better than Tableau?


    Both Tableau and Power BI allow the user to connect to distinct data sources. However, Tableau provides better support to connect to a different data warehouse, and Power BI is heavily integrated with Microsoft’s portfolio like the Azure cloud platform.

    91. Is Power BI free to Use?


    Users can use Power BI for free. However, the Power BI Pro subscription avails more from Microsoft Store. The subscription offers an enhanced version of various features available with the free Power BI account. Most business users use the subscribed account as it offers more data refreshers per day and other features as compared to the free version.

    92.  Is Power BI hard to Learn?


    Any data analyst can quickly connect with any data source, summarizing the findings into simple reports without any programming experience. With Power Pivot built into the Power BI, analytics measures were developed using DAX query language from Microsoft.

    93. Is Power BI hard to use?


    Power BI doesn’t require users to write SQL code like BI tools but requires the MS Excel knowledge.

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    94. Is a Data Analyst a Good Career?


    Data is useless without proper analytics. Any professional with analytical skills can easily master the ocean of Big Data and become a crucial asset to the organization boosting the business as well as career. There are several on-demand job opportunities in Big Data management and Analytics and are constantly growing.

    95. What are the essential applications of the Power BI?


    Power BI is mainly used by:

    • PMO – Project Management Office
    • Developer & Database Administrator
    • Business & Data Analyst
    • IT Team, IT Professional
    • Data Scientist
    • Consumer for End User Report

    96. Is Power BI better than Excel?


    Power BI is a more powerful tool compared to Microsoft Excel. Power BI is easy to use and is much more flexible while Microsoft Excel is not so handy to use. Power BI is mostly used for data visualization and dashboard sharing to a large number of users while Microsoft Excel is mostly used for in-depth driver analysis. 

    97. How do I export from power BI to excel?


    In Power BI, a user can export any dashboard or visual. To export your data, choose the ellipses (3 dots) in the top-right side of any visualization and choose the icon :Export data. Your data is exported as a.CSV file. You can even save and open the file in Excel.

    98. How do you manage a role in Power BI?


    Follow these steps to manage a role in Power BI

    Step 1: Import data into the Power BI Desktop report

    Step 2: connection

    Step 3: Select the Modeling tab.

    Step 4: Select Manage Roles.

    Step 5: Select Create.

    Step 5: Provide a name for the role.

    Step 6: Select the table that you want to apply a DAX rule to.

    Step 7: Enter the DAX expressions.

    Step 8: After creating the DAX expression, select the checkbox placed above the expression and validate the expression.

    Step 9: Select Save.

    99. How do you answer behavioral interview questions?


    These can be answered in four simple steps as follows:

    Step 1: Situation. Describe the situation or set the scene

    Step 2: Task. Describe the issue or problem you were confronted with

    Step 3: Action

    Step 4: Results

    100. Give the difference between Power BI vs Tableau.


    Here are key differences between Power BI vs Tableau 

    Feature Power BI Tableau
    Data visualization Focuses only on modeling and reporting Best tool
    Cost Less expensive Very expensive since it uses data warehousing
    Machine Learning It is associated with Microsoft Azure. It has python Machine learning.
    User Interface Simple and easy to use Use a customized dashboard
    Data handling It drags down slow when handling huge data Handles bulk data

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