Join Gini von Courter for an in-depth discussion in this video Adding a timeline to a PivotTable, part of Power BI Features in Depth.
This is a Timeline workbook, and it is in Chapter 4 of the Exercise Files. It's our familiar PowerPivot that we built that we are now basing PivotTables on. And this one has slicers. Now, slicers can be used to display information out of any column. There's a tool that's very specific to information that is date based, and that tool is called a Timeline. When we insert a Timeline, we'll only have the choice of tables and columns that are dates, they have to be formated as dates.
And I have a choice of two different tables. One is my source table that has request dates in it, and the other is the table that is all dates that go out to 2018. If I chose the date table, let me do that so you can see this. Then, the timeline that I get is very, very long. It has every date in it that is in the table, and that makes perfect sense. I don't need those dates yet. All of my dates are in 2013 and 2014 as we can see here in our slicer.
So I would prefer to insert a timeline based on the ranges of dates that we actually have, and I'll find those here in the Request Dates. And so you'll notice because our dates are in 2013 and 2014, that's what I get. I'm going to remove the fiscal year slicer, and I'm going to add the Request Dates right here. I have some options that I can set, but let's see first how this tool actually works. If I wanted to see, for example, January of 2014. I can just click January of 2014. But as I hover over the timeline, it has handles so that I can stretch it out and say, well, show me those three months. Or show me November and December. I can't hold Ctrl and multiselect here as I could with, for example, a filter. So if I want to do that kind of multiselect, I'm still going to do that over here in the table. But I can select a range of dates, and that's often what I want to do. I also have the ability to say, let me look just at years, 2013, 2014, for example. And notice that this is behaving interactively with sales regions, so if I choose Midwest, New England, and Northwest, then I'm only seeing, 2013 and 2014 for those sales regions. Let's clear all the sales regions. I can choose quarters. I can even choose days if I want something that granular. I'm going to leave this set for months, and now let's go take a look at the options. With my timeline selected, I can format my timeline, and here are lots of nice choices. We're not using this color yet, so I can choose that. The caption for the timeline, right now, it's using the name of the column. But, I can say, Filter by Request Date, for example. I have lots of space for that. If I don't want to a header at all here, I can remove it. Most users will figure out how to use this type of a control, if they are using them frequently. If I don't display a scroll bar, then it effectively turns the entire tool into a scroll bar, unless all of the data I'm choosing will fit. If I choose for example, quarters, they almost all fit. If I choose years they fit, but eventually they might not. So if I want to have a scroll bar that I think looks good, it makes the tool a little bit easier to use. The selection label indicates what's being chosen, so if I turn that off, it's not explicit here that I'm showing just 2013 until I look at the control itself. And if I don't want my users to be able to switch between years, quarters, months, and so on, then I'll simply remove the time level. And then, they can only use what I have allowed them to use by the settings that I have here, unless they know to go in and to modify it. So this is what I can do with a timeline. Much like a slicer, these two controls together make the report very user friendly. If you find yourself tempted to include a slicer for time, look at a timeline first and see if that might better meet your users' needs.
AuthorGini von Courter
- Understanding data analysis and business intelligence
- Installing Office BI add-ins
- Searching for online data with Power Query
- Shaping data in the Query Editor
- Connecting to data sources
- Modeling data with Power Pivot
- Enhancing PivotTables and PivotCharts with PowerPoint
- Visualizing geospatial data with Power Map
- Creating and formatting Power View reports
- Sharing your data using Power BI for Office 365
Skill Level Intermediate
1. Getting Started: Self-Service, Power BI, and BI Tools
2. Using Power Query to Get Data
3. Modeling Your Data with Power Pivot
4. Enhancing PivotTables and PivotCharts with Power Pivot
5. Expanding the Data Model in Power Pivot
6. Visualizing Geospatial Data with Power Map
7. Creating and Formatting Power View Reports
8. Creating Other Power View Visualizations
9. Sharing Your Data Using Power BI for Office 365
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