Copilot in Power BI: A Complete Step-by-Step Tutorial
Data analysis has been a challenging task for many businesses, particularly when it involves dealing with surplus data collected from various sources. With the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), this process has become significantly more manageable and efficient. One such AI-powered tool that’s making waves in the data analysis landscape is Copilot in Power BI.
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In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve deep into the world of Copilot in Power BI. We’ll discuss what it is, how it works, its key features, benefits, limitations, and how you can leverage it to enhance your data analysis. Let’s dive in.
What is Copilot?
At its core, Copilot is an AI-powered tool developed by OpenAI that provides code completion suggestions, helping developers write better code faster and easier. It’s powered by Codex, an AI system that can generate code from natural language prompts. You can think of Copilot as your intelligent assistant, always ready to help you navigate through your data.
Copilot is integrated with multiple platforms, including GitHub Codespaces and Visual Studio Code, where it acts as an autocomplete tool for writing tests, fixing bugs, and implementing new features. It can even generate code from plain English comments or queries, making it a boon for developers.
Copilot in Power BI
Power BI is a powerful data visualization and business analytics tool from Microsoft. It enables you to connect to various data sources, transform and model your data, create interactive reports and dashboards, and share valuable insights with fellow team members.
The integration of Copilot with Power BI takes data analysis to a whole new level. It brings the capabilities of the Codex AI to Power BI, enabling users to generate insights from their data using natural language queries. This integration is set to revolutionize how finance professionals handle their data by making data analysis faster, easier, and more accessible.
Figure out how to download and use Microsoft Copilot in a few easy steps by reading our detailed blog.
How to add Copilot to Power BI?
Here is a detailed step-by-step guide on how to add Copilot to Power BI. Please find the extended instructions below:
1. Copilot activation
Ensure that your organization’s Power BI tenant has activated the Copilot feature. You can check this in the Power BI admin portal. If “Enable Copilot” is an available option, your tenant has Copilot enabled.
2. Power BI desktop installation
Copilot functionality is primarily used within the Power BI Desktop application. Make sure you have Power BI Desktop installed on your system.
3. Enable Copilot preview
Before you can use Copilot in Power BI Desktop, you need to enable the Copilot preview feature. Follow these steps:
- Open Power BI Desktop.
- Navigate to “File > Options and settings > Options.”
- In the “Options” window, find the “Preview features” section.
- Check the box labeled “Enable quick measure suggestions.”
- Click “OK” to save your settings.
How to use Copilot in Power BI: A step-by-step guide
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use Copilot in Power BI. Take a look:
Step 1: Open Power BI
Begin by launching the Power BI application on your computer. Ensure you have a dataset loaded or accessible in Power BI that you want to analyze or create reports for using Copilot.
Step 2: Access Copilot
Navigate to the Copilot tab or panel within Power BI. This tab is where you’ll interact with Copilot, posing questions and requesting assistance with data analysis and report creation.
Step 3: Ask a data-related question
In the Copilot tab, type in a specific question or request related to your data. Be as precise as possible in your inquiry. For instance, you can ask, “Help me build a cash flow statement report for the last quarter, summarizing our key metrics and trends.”
Step 4: Copilot analysis
Copilot will immediately start analyzing your data based on the question you’ve posed. It will identify the relevant data points, metrics, and trends required to address your query.
Step 5: Receive instant insights
Within moments, Copilot will generate a stunning, data-rich report that summarizes the insights and answers to your query. You’ll receive a visual representation of the data, making it easier to comprehend and share with stakeholders.
Step 6: Further analysis and summaries
Copilot isn’t limited to one-time interactions. You can continue to engage with Copilot by asking follow-up questions, exploring additional data points, and creating summaries or visualizations to gain deeper insights into your data. This iterative process allows you to refine your analysis and ensure that you extract the most valuable information from your dataset.
With Copilot’s intuitive interface and powerful capabilities, using it within Power BI becomes a seamless and efficient way to harness the full potential of your data for informed decision-making and insightful reporting.
Find out if Github Copilot is truly worth it in our detailed blog.
Is there a Copilot for Power BI?
Yes, there is a Copilot for Power BI. It is currently in private preview, but it is expected to be released to the public in the coming months. Copilot for Power BI uses AI to help users create and manage Power BI reports. It can help users with tasks such as:
- Writing DAX formulas
- Changing the data model
- Adding visuals to the report page
- Creating a complete report from natural language queries
Copilot for Power BI is still under development, but it has the potential to make it much easier for users to create and manage Power BI reports.
Here are some of the things that Copilot for Power BI can do:
- Generate DAX formulas based on natural language queries. For example, you could say, “Show me the total sales for last year,” and Copilot would generate the DAX formula for that calculation.
- Suggest changes to the data model. For example, if you have a measure that is not returning the correct results, Copilot could suggest changes to the measure or the data model.
- Add visuals to a report. You could say, “Add a bar chart of sales by region,” and Copilot would add the bar chart to the report.
- Create a complete report from scratch. You could say, “Create a report that shows the sales by region and product category,” and Copilot would create the report for you.
Copilot for Power BI is a powerful tool that can help users save time and create better reports. If you are a Power BI user, I recommend signing up for the private preview to try it out.
The history and evolution of Copilot in Power BI
Copilot is a significant development in Microsoft’s Power BI, enhancing the capabilities of this popular business intelligence tool. Copilot’s journey in Power BI has evolved over several releases, reflecting Microsoft’s commitment to making data analysis more accessible and efficient. Let’s delve into the history of Copilot in Power BI.
2019: The birth of Power BI natural language queries
The concept of using natural language to query data in Power BI was introduced in 2019. Initially, this feature allowed users to ask questions in plain English and receive visualizations as answers. It marked the first step towards simplifying data exploration.
2020: Copilot emerges as a preview feature
In 2020, Copilot emerged as a preview feature in Power BI, making its debut in the Power Query Editor. Copilot aimed to assist users in writing formulas and performing data transformations. It provided formula suggestions, context-aware help, and syntax assistance, reducing the learning curve for Power Query.
2021: Copilot expands to the data preparation phases
Microsoft continued to invest in Copilot in 2021. Copilot’s capabilities were extended to the modeling and data preparation phases of Power BI. It became an integral part of the Power Query Editor, offering step-by-step suggestions for data shaping and transformations.
2022: Copilot becomes a powerful AI assistant
In 2022, Copilot underwent a transformation, becoming a comprehensive AI assistant within Power BI. It was integrated into the entire Power BI experience, including report creation and visualization. The introduction of natural language queries and instant insights made data exploration more intuitive.
2023: Copilot as a data analysis game-changer
Today, Copilot is a mature feature in Power BI, revolutionizing data analysis. It assists users with natural language queries, suggests visualizations, and provides instant insights. Copilot’s data preparation assistance and visualization recommendations have made it an invaluable tool for both novice and experienced users.
Key features of Copilot in Power BI
Copilot in Power BI is packed with several powerful features that make data analysis a breeze. Here are some of its key features:
1. Automated report generation
Copilot’s automated report generation feature is a game-changer in the world of data analysis. It streamlines the process of creating reports, dashboards, and interactive elements.
By automating these tasks, it significantly reduces the time and effort required for manual report generation. This not only boosts productivity but also ensures that reports are consistently well-structured and error-free.
Copilot can analyze your data, identify key insights, and present them in a visually appealing format, making it easier for decision-makers to understand complex data.
2. Conversational language interface
One of Copilot’s standout features is its conversational language interface. It allows users to interact with their data using plain, conversational language. Instead of writing complex queries or formulas, you can simply ask Copilot questions or give it instructions in a natural, conversational way.
This user-friendly interface democratizes data analysis, enabling individuals across the organization to access insights without needing to be data experts. It bridges the gap between data and decision-makers, making data-driven insights more accessible to all.
3. Real-time analytics
Copilot empowers Power BI users with real-time analytics capabilities. In today’s fast-paced business environment, the ability to visualize and respond to data changes and trends in real-time is invaluable.
Copilot ensures that you can stay ahead of the curve by providing up-to-the-minute insights. Whether it’s monitoring sales performance, tracking customer behavior, or analyzing market dynamics, Copilot’s real-time analytics feature enables you to make informed decisions promptly, giving your organization a competitive edge.
4. Advanced calculations and financial modeling
Copilot’s advanced calculations and financial modeling capabilities are a boon for professionals dealing with complex financial data. It can generate and fine-tune intricate Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) formulas, freeing up your time to focus on strategic analysis and decision-making.
Whether you’re building financial models, conducting scenario analysis, or calculating key performance indicators, Copilot’s proficiency in handling complex calculations ensures accuracy and efficiency in your financial analyses. It becomes your trusted partner in navigating the intricacies of financial data, helping you make data-driven decisions with confidence.
5. Interactive data visualization
Copilot revolutionizes data analysis by simplifying the process of data visualization. Instead of struggling with visualization tools and coding, you can describe the visuals and insights you need in plain language.
Copilot then takes your instructions and creates the necessary visualizations, making data analysis more intuitive and accessible. This feature not only accelerates the data analysis process but also encourages a wider range of users within your organization to explore data.
This fosters a data-driven culture where insights are readily available to support decision-making. Copilot’s interactive data visualization capability is a powerful tool for unlocking the potential of your data.
6. Fast and customized reporting
Copilot revolutionizes the way reports are generated, offering unmatched speed and customization.
In just a matter of seconds, Copilot can generate comprehensive financial reports tailored to your specifications. This feature is particularly invaluable for professionals working with financial data, as it significantly expedites the reporting process.
Whether you need daily, weekly, or monthly reports, Copilot adapts to your schedule, ensuring that you always have the latest insights at your fingertips. Moreover, Copilot doesn’t stop at mere generation; it assists you in refining these reports further.
7. Powerful data summaries
Copilot’s ability to create powerful data summaries elevates the accessibility and comprehensibility of data insights. Users can effortlessly craft narrative summaries using everyday language, transforming complex data into easily digestible narratives.
These summaries serve as a bridge between raw data and actionable insights, enabling a wider audience, including non-technical stakeholders, to grasp the significance of the data. Copilot’s data summaries are more than just descriptions; they are compelling narratives that make data stories engaging and informative.
Benefits of using Copilot in Power BI
The impactful integration of Copilot with Power BI offers numerous benefits, especially for finance professionals. Here are some of the key benefits:
- Faster insights: With Copilot, you can quickly uncover valuable insights from your data, saving significant time and resources.
- Ease of use: The conversational language interface makes it achievable for users with varying levels of technical expertise to interact effectively with the data.
- Reduced time to market: Using Copilot in your workflows can reduce the time to develop workflows and increase your organization’s efficiency.
- Better decision-making: With instant access to data insights, you can make well-informed decisions to drive business growth.
- Improved collaboration: With Copilot, data engineers, data warehousing professionals, data analysts, and business users can collaborate seamlessly, fostering a well-functioning data culture across the organization.
Limitations of Copilot in Power BI
Despite its numerous benefits, Copilot in Power BI does come with some limitations. These include:
- Quality of suggestions: The suggestions that Copilot provides may depend on the volume of the available training dataset for that language.
- Security and privacy concerns: Since the model is trained on publicly available code, it could inadvertently suggest code snippets that contain security vulnerabilities or were meant to be private.
- Doesn’t fully understand context: While the AI has been trained to understand context, it may not be as capable as a human developer in fully understanding the high-level objectives of a complex project.
- Dependent on comments and naming: The AI can provide more accurate suggestions when given detailed comments and descriptive variable names.
- Lack of creative problem solving: Unlike a human developer, the tool cannot come up with innovative solutions or creatively solve problems.
- Legal and licensing issues: Since Copilot uses code snippets from open-source projects, there are questions about the legal implications of using these snippets in commercial projects.
- Inefficient for large codebases: The tool is not optimized for navigating and understanding large codebases. It’s most effective at suggesting code for small tasks.
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How finance professionals use Copilot in Power BI
Finance professionals can leverage Copilot in Power BI to enhance their data analysis and reporting capabilities in several ways, as highlighted in the article you referenced. Here are five key ways they can make use of Copilot:
1. Financial accounting
Copilot can assist finance professionals in automating the generation of financial reports. They can input natural language queries like “Create a quarterly financial report” or “Summarize our revenue trends,” and Copilot will generate the necessary visuals and data summaries, saving time and effort.
2. Complex calculation assistance
Copilot can simplify the creation of complex financial calculations and formulas. Finance experts can ask questions like “Calculate our year-over-year growth rate” or “Create a DCF valuation model,” and Copilot will generate or refine the required formulas, improving accuracy and efficiency.
3. Interactive data exploration
Finance professionals can interact with their financial data using conversational language. They can ask questions about specific financial metrics or drill down into specific data points to gain deeper insights, making data exploration more intuitive and actionable.
4. Budgeting and forecasting
Copilot can assist in budgeting and forecasting tasks. Finance experts can request forecasts based on historical data or create budgeting models using plain language queries, helping organizations make more informed financial decisions.
5. Narrative reporting
Copilot enables the creation of narrative summaries for financial reports. Furthermore, Finance professionals can use natural language to describe key findings, financial performance, and trends, making it easier for stakeholders to understand and act upon the insights.
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Can two people work on the same Power BI dashboard?
No, two people cannot work on the same Power BI dashboard at the same time. Power BI does not support real-time collaboration on dashboards. If two people try to open the same dashboard at the same time, one person will be prompted to wait for the other person to finish editing.
There are a few ways to work around this limitation. One way is to publish the dashboard to the Power BI service. This will allow multiple people to view and interact with the dashboard at the same time, but they will not be able to edit it.
Another way to work around this limitation is to use a version control system, such as Git, to track changes to the dashboard. This will allow multiple people to work on the dashboard independently and then merge their changes together later.
Finally, you can also use a tool like Power BI Copilot to help you collaborate on dashboards. Power BI Copilot is a new AI-powered tool that can help you write DAX formulas, change the data model, and add visuals to your dashboards.
Copilot as a part of Microsoft fabric
Copilot for Power BI is a part of Microsoft Fabric, a new platform that brings together several data analysis tools under one umbrella. Furthermore, Microsoft Fabric is a unified data foundation that enhances your Power BI experience by providing a single, unified platform for data integration, data engineering, data science, and business intelligence.
With Fabric, Microsoft is bringing the capabilities of machine learning models to its most popular data science tools. As a result, data teams can work together on the same copy of the data in a single workspace with tools for centralized administration, governance, and compliance.
Therefore, Copilot in Power BI gives you access to a full, rich, enterprise-wide data lake that is offered as a SaaS service, making data analysis more manageable and effective. Copilot is an intelligent assistant that helps you navigate your data.
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Future of Copilot in Power BI
The future of Copilot in Power BI is incredibly promising, as it represents the evolution of data analysis and reporting. One key aspect of its future is the continual improvement in natural language understanding.
Copilot is likely to become even more adept at comprehending complex, context-rich queries, enabling users to communicate with their data in an even more intuitive manner. This advancement will bridge the gap between data experts and those less versed in analytics, making it a powerful tool for a broader audience.
Moreover, Copilot’s integration into Power BI is expected to deepen. It will likely become seamlessly ingrained in the entire analytics process, from data connection to report generation. This will streamline the workflow for users, making data analysis more efficient and accessible. Additionally, the future could see Copilot taking on a more active role in data exploration, automatically suggesting insights and visualizations as users work on their datasets.
Additionally, the future of Copilot may see a significant expansion of its capabilities, including predictive analytics. With advancements in AI, Copilot might gain the ability to forecast trends and offer valuable predictive insights. Additionally, this would be a game-changer for businesses, allowing them to make data-driven decisions with a forward-looking perspective.
Overall, the future of Copilot in Power BI holds exciting possibilities for data analysts, making data exploration, analysis, and visualization more accessible and insightful than ever before.
In conclusion, Copilot in Power BI is a game-changing tool that revolutionizes the way we approach data analysis. Moreover, with its AI-powered capabilities, it allows you to navigate through your data with ease, create beautiful reports in seconds, and uncover valuable insights that can drive business growth.
Despite its limitations, the benefits it offers far outweigh the drawbacks, making it a must-have tool for every data analyst and business user. So, are you ready to unleash the power of AI in data analysis with Copilot in Power BI? Do it right with our blog!