Power BI Interview Questions

What is Power BI?

Power BI is a business analytics tool developed by Microsoft that allows users to create interactive reports and dashboards. It offers robust data visualization capabilities, enabling users to connect to various data sources, transform data, and generate insightful visualizations. Power BI includes components like Power BI Desktop, Service, and Mobile apps.

Explain the components of Power BI.

Power BI is a powerful business analytics service provided by Microsoft that allows users to visualize and share insights from their data. It consists of several components that work together to provide a comprehensive analytics solution. 

  • Power BI Desktop: Data transformation, modeling, visualization, and report creation.
  • Power BI Service: Cloud-based service for publishing, sharing, creating dashboards, and collaboration.
  • Power BI Mobile: Access and interact with reports and dashboards on mobile devices.
  • Power BI Report Server: On-premises hosting and management of Power BI and paginated reports.
  • Power BI Embedded: Embedding analytics into applications.
  • Power Query: Data connectivity and transformation tool.
  • Power Pivot: In-memory data modeling and DAX calculations.
  • Power BI Gateway: Secure data transfer between on-premises data sources and Power BI Service.
  • Power BI Visuals: Built-in and custom visualizations.
  • Power BI REST API: Programmatic interaction with Power BI Service for automation and embedding content.

What are the building blocks of Power BI?

The building blocks of Power BI are visualizations, datasets, reports, dashboards, and tiles. Visualizations are graphical representations of data, datasets are collections of data used for creating visualizations, reports are collections of visualizations on multiple pages, dashboards are single-page collections of visuals, and tiles are individual visual elements on a dashboard.

How does Power BI differ from traditional BI tools?

Power BI offers self-service analytics capabilities, allowing users to create reports and dashboards without deep technical expertise. Unlike traditional BI tools, which often require IT involvement, Power BI enables quick data connections, real-time updates, and easy sharing and collaboration. It integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Office and cloud services.

What are Power BI visuals?

Power BI visuals are graphical representations of data that help users to understand and interpret information effectively. These visuals are integral to creating interactive reports and dashboards.

  • Built-in Visuals: Power BI offers a range of default visuals, including bar, line, and pie charts, maps, and tables, which are readily available for use in reports and dashboards.
  • Custom Visuals: Users can import additional visuals from the Power BI Visuals Marketplace, which provides custom-developed options by Microsoft and third-party developers to enhance report capabilities.
  • Custom Visual Development: Advanced users can create bespoke visuals using Power BI developer tools, allowing for tailored visualizations that meet specific business requirements and provide unique insights.
  • Interactivity: Power BI visuals are interactive, enabling users to drill down into data, apply filters, and cross-highlight between different visuals, enhancing data exploration and analysis.
  • Formatting Options: Each visual comes with extensive formatting options, allowing users to customize colors, labels, titles, and other elements to align with branding or presentation needs.
  • Data Binding: Visuals are bound to the data model, ensuring they automatically update when underlying data changes, providing real-time insights and up-to-date information.
  • Customizable Visual Elements: Users can adjust elements like axes, legends, and data labels within visuals to better convey the data's story and highlight key insights effectively.
  • Accessibility Features: Power BI includes accessibility features such as support for screen readers, high contrast views, and keyboard navigation, ensuring reports are usable by people with disabilities.
  • Usage Scenarios: Power BI visuals are versatile and can be applied in various scenarios, including financial reporting, sales analysis, and operational dashboards, making them essential tools for data-driven decision-making.

What is Power Query in Power BI?

Power Query is a data transformation and data preparation tool in Power BI. It allows users to clean, shape, and transform raw data into a usable format. With a user-friendly interface, Power Query enables data filtering, merging, grouping, and aggregation through its query editor.

What is DAX in Power BI?

DAX (Data Analysis Expressions) is a formula language used in Power BI for data modeling and analysis. It allows users to create custom calculations, aggregations, and measures in Power BI. DAX expressions include functions like SUM, AVERAGE, and FILTER, enabling advanced data manipulation and insights.

How can you connect to data sources in Power BI?

Connecting to data sources in Power BI is a crucial step in the data analysis process. Power BI offers a wide array of connectors and methods to import data from various sources. Here’s a brief overview of how you can connect to different data sources:

Power BI Desktop:

  • Get Data Button: In Power BI Desktop, use the "Get Data" button on the Home ribbon to access a variety of data sources. You can configure connections by providing necessary details like server names, file paths, and authentication.

Power BI Service:

  • Get Data Option: From the Power BI Service, click on "Get Data" to connect to files, databases, online services, or existing Power BI datasets. Enter the required connection and authentication details to import data.

Direct Query and Live Connection:

  • Direct Query: This method allows Power BI to query large databases directly without importing the data, fetching data on-demand for real-time analysis. It's useful for handling big data scenarios.
  • Live Connection: Connect live to SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) or other supported services for real-time data interaction, providing an always-updated view of your data.


  • Creating Dataflows: Use Power BI Dataflows within the Power BI Service to connect to and transform data. Dataflows create reusable data transformation processes, which can be utilized across various reports and datasets, enhancing consistency and efficiency.

Power BI Gateways:

  • Secure Data Transfer: Power BI Gateways enable secure data transfer between on-premises data sources and the Power BI Service. This allows you to refresh and query on-premises data without moving it to the cloud, maintaining data security and compliance.

How do you create a dashboard in Power BI?

To create a dashboard in Power BI, publish your reports from Power BI Desktop to the Power BI Service. Then, in the service, use the ‘Pin’ feature to add visualizations from different reports to a single dashboard. Arrange and customize the layout, and share the dashboard with stakeholders for interactive data exploration.

What are calculated columns and measures in Power BI?

Calculated columns and measures are used to create new data and perform calculations in Power BI. Calculated columns are added to tables and use DAX formulas to compute values row-by-row. Measures are calculations performed on data aggregations, allowing dynamic calculations based on user interactions and filters.

What is the difference between Power BI Free and Pro?

Power BI Free and Power BI Pro are two different licensing options offered by Microsoft, each designed to cater to different user needs and organizational requirements. Here’s a comparison of their main differences:

Feature Power BI Free Power BI Pro
Individual Use Suitable for individual users Suitable for individuals and business users
Data Storage Up to 1 GB Up to 10 GB/user
Data Refresh Up to 8 times/day Hourly
Sharing Limited sharing capabilities Full sharing and collaboration features
Scheduled Refresh No Yes
Access to Premium Features No Yes
Price Free Subscription-based pricing

How do you handle security in Power BI?

Security in Power BI is managed through roles and permissions. Row-level security (RLS) restricts data access for specific users by defining roles and DAX filters. Power BI also integrates with Azure Active Directory for user authentication and supports encryption for data protection. Sharing and workspace permissions control access to reports and dashboards.

What is Power BI Service?

Power BI Service is the cloud-based platform where users share, collaborate, and manage Power BI reports and dashboards. It allows for real-time data monitoring, scheduled data refreshes, and sharing of insights within and outside the organization. The service supports collaboration through app workspaces and offers governance features.

What is a Power BI Gateway?

A Power BI Gateway acts as a bridge between on-premises data sources and Power BI Service. It allows secure data transfer and refreshes by connecting to on-premises databases, files, and other data sources. There are two types of gateways: Personal Gateway for individual use and On-premises Data Gateway for organizational use.

How do you perform data modeling in Power BI?

Data modeling in Power BI involves creating relationships between tables, defining calculated columns and measures, and optimizing data for analysis. Use the model view to manage table relationships, set data types, and apply DAX formulas. Proper data modeling ensures efficient data retrieval and accurate reporting.

What is DirectQuery in Power BI?

DirectQuery allows Power BI to query data directly from the source without importing it into Power BI. This method is used for large datasets or when real-time data access is required. DirectQuery supports data freshness and reduces memory usage, but it may have limitations on certain Power BI features compared to imported data.

How do you schedule data refresh in Power BI?

To schedule data refresh in Power BI, configure the refresh settings in Power BI Service. Set the frequency and time for automatic data updates. Ensure a data gateway is configured if connecting to on-premises data sources. Scheduled refresh keeps your reports and dashboards updated with the latest data.

What is the use of Power BI Desktop?

Power BI Desktop is a Windows application used for data analysis and report creation. It allows users to connect to data sources, transform data using Power Query, create data models, and design interactive reports. Power BI Desktop provides a robust environment for developing and testing reports before publishing them to the Power BI Service.

Explain the concept of workspaces in Power BI.

Workspaces in Power BI are collaborative environments where users can create, manage, and share content like reports and dashboards. There are two types: My Workspace for personal use and shared workspaces for team collaboration. Shared workspaces enable group access and permissions management, facilitating teamwork and content sharing within organizations.

What is a Power BI app?

A Power BI app is a packaged collection of related reports and dashboards published together for distribution. Apps simplify sharing content with users by providing a single access point. Users can install apps from the AppSource or organizational app gallery. Apps can be updated and managed centrally by the app creator.

How do you create custom visuals in Power BI?

Creating custom visuals in Power BI involves either importing visuals from the marketplace or developing your own using the Power BI developer tools. Here's how you can create custom visuals

Import from Marketplace:

  • Open Power BI Desktop.
  • Click on the "... More visuals" icon in the Visualizations pane.
  • Choose "Import from marketplace" and browse the available visuals.
  • Select a custom visual and click "Add" to import it into your report.

Develop Your Own:

  • Install Power BI Visuals Tools (PBIVIZ) from npm.
  • Use a code editor to develop your visual using TypeScript, D3, and other libraries.
  • Run "pbiviz new" to create a new visual project.
  • Implement your visual logic in TypeScript files.
  • Test your visual locally using "pbiviz start" and debug as needed.
  • Once ready, package your visual using "pbiviz package" command.
  • Import the packaged visual into Power BI Desktop or publish it to the marketplace for others to use.

What is Power BI Embedded?

Power BI Embedded is a service that allows developers to integrate Power BI reports and dashboards into their applications. It enables embedding of interactive visuals and analytics capabilities within apps, providing a seamless user experience. Power BI Embedded is often used to enhance custom applications with rich data insights.

How do you use bookmarks in Power BI?

Bookmarks in Power BI capture the current state of a report page, including filters, slicers, and visual settings. They are used to create navigation, storytelling, and report interactivity. To use bookmarks, configure the desired report state, save it as a bookmark, and use the Bookmarks Pane to manage and apply bookmarks.

What are Power BI templates?

Power BI templates (.pbit files) are pre-designed report files that contain data models, queries, and visualizations without the underlying data. They allow users to create new reports based on existing designs, ensuring consistency and saving time. Templates can be shared and reused across different projects and organizations.

What are the types of filters in Power BI?

Power BI offers various types of filters to help users interact with and analyze their data effectively.

  • Visual-Level Filters: Applied to individual visuals, filter data within a visual without affecting others, using fields or measures.
  • Page-Level Filters: Apply to an entire page, filter data across all visuals simultaneously, helpful for creating focused views.
  • Report-Level Filters: Applied across all report pages, ensuring consistent data filtering experience throughout the entire report.
  • Drill-Through Filters: Allow navigation between report pages while passing filters from the source to the target page for exploring related data.
  • Cross-Report Filters: Filter data across multiple reports within a workspace, enabling interactive filtering between different reports for enhanced analysis.
  • Slicer Filters: Interactive visualizations for filtering data by selecting values from a list or dropdown, can be applied at various levels.
  • Top N Filters: Filter data to display top or bottom N items based on a specified measure, useful for identifying significant data points.

How do you optimize Power BI reports for performance?

Optimize Power BI reports by reducing the amount of data imported, using aggregations, optimizing DAX calculations, and managing relationships efficiently. Use fewer visuals on a single page, avoid complex measures, and leverage query folding in Power Query. Regularly monitor and analyze report performance to identify and address bottlenecks.

Explain the concept of slicers in Power BI.

Slicers in Power BI are visual tools that allow users to filter data on a report page. They provide an intuitive way to segment and explore data by selecting values from a list, date range, or hierarchy. Slicers enhance interactivity, enabling users to focus on specific data subsets and update multiple visuals simultaneously.

What is the use of drillthrough in Power BI?

Drillthrough in Power BI enables users to navigate from a summary report page to a detailed report page focused on a specific data point. This feature helps in exploring and analyzing data at different levels. To use drillthrough, set up a drillthrough page with relevant filters and link it to the main report visuals.

How can you share Power BI reports with others?

Share Power BI reports by publishing them to the Power BI Service and using sharing options like sharing links, embedding in SharePoint, or distributing via Power BI apps. Ensure recipients have appropriate licenses and permissions. Collaboration and sharing are facilitated through app workspaces and Power BI Service’s sharing capabilities.

What are Power BI Dataflows?

Power BI Dataflows are self-service data preparation tools that enable users to create reusable data transformation pipelines. Dataflows use Power Query to connect, transform, and load data into the Power BI Service. They promote data reuse, consistency, and centralized data management, supporting organizational data governance and ETL processes.

How do you implement Row-Level Security (RLS) in Power BI?

Implement RLS in Power BI by defining roles and DAX filters in Power BI Desktop. Assign roles to users to restrict data access based on their identity. Publish the report to Power BI Service, manage security settings, and assign roles to specific users or groups to enforce data access restrictions.

What is a KPI visual in Power BI?

A KPI (Key Performance Indicator) visual in Power BI displays progress toward a measurable goal. It includes a base value, target value, and status indicator (e.g., traffic light colors). KPI visuals help users quickly assess performance against targets, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions.

How do you use Power BI Mobile?

Power BI Mobile allows users to access and interact with their Power BI reports and dashboards on smartphones and tablets. The mobile app provides on-the-go access, enabling data-driven decisions anytime, anywhere. Users can view, share, and collaborate on reports, receive push notifications, and leverage touch-optimized navigation.

What are hierarchies in Power BI?

Hierarchies in Power BI organize data into levels for drill-down analysis. For example, a date hierarchy may include year, quarter, month, and day levels. Hierarchies simplify navigation and data exploration by allowing users to drill down from summary to detailed data views, enhancing report interactivity and insights.

How do you use Power BI Q&A?

Power BI Q&A allows users to interact with reports using natural language queries. By typing questions into the Q&A box, users can quickly find answers and visualize data without needing complex queries. Q&A leverages machine learning to understand user intent and provides relevant visual responses, enhancing data accessibility.

What is the use of themes in Power BI?

Themes in Power BI allow users to apply consistent styling to reports and dashboards. Themes control the color scheme, font styles, and visual formatting, ensuring a uniform look and feel. Users can apply predefined themes or create custom themes using JSON files, enhancing the visual appeal and branding of reports.

Explain the purpose of Power BI Report Server.

The Power BI Report Server is an on-premises solution for hosting and managing Power BI reports and traditional paginated reports. It allows organizations to store, manage, and share reports within their own network, ensuring data remains on-premises for compliance and security reasons.

What are paginated reports in Power BI?

Paginated reports in Power BI, also known as pixel-perfect reports, are ideal for fixed-layout documents like invoices and forms. They are designed to be printed or shared as PDFs, allowing precise control over page layout. Paginated reports are created using Power BI Report Builder and can include tables, charts, and images.

How do you use the Power BI REST API?

The Power BI REST API allows developers to interact programmatically with Power BI Service. It supports operations like embedding reports, managing datasets, and automating workflows. To use the API, register an application in Azure AD, obtain an access token, and make HTTP requests to the Power BI endpoints.

What is incremental refresh in Power BI?

Incremental refresh in Power BI optimizes data refresh processes by updating only the data that has changed rather than reloading the entire dataset. This feature is useful for large datasets and improves performance and efficiency. Configure incremental refresh policies in Power BI Desktop, and publish to Power BI Service for execution.

How do you perform version control in Power BI?

Version control in Power BI can be managed using third-party tools or manual processes. Save Power BI Desktop files (.pbix) with version numbers, use OneDrive or SharePoint for file versioning, and document changes in a version control system like Git. Power BI Service also retains report versions for audit purposes.

What is the purpose of Power BI Service APIs?

Power BI Service APIs provide programmatic access to Power BI Service features, enabling automation and integration with other applications. The APIs support operations such as embedding reports, managing workspaces, datasets, and gateways, and executing data refreshes. They are used by developers to enhance and customize Power BI functionality.

Explain the concept of Power BI Embedded.

Power BI Embedded allows developers to integrate Power BI reports and dashboards directly into their applications, offering users data visualization and analysis capabilities without leaving the application environment. It's a scalable solution with pay-as-you-go pricing, enabling tailored user experiences and informed decision-making within custom applications.

How do you create a Power BI data model?

To create a Power BI data model, import data from various sources, establish relationships between tables, and define calculated columns and measures using DAX. Use the model view to visualize and manage relationships. Optimize the model by setting appropriate data types, aggregations, and hierarchies for efficient data analysis and reporting.

What are the benefits of using Power BI Premium?

Power BI Premium offers several benefits that cater to organizations with advanced analytics needs and larger user bases.

  • Enhanced Performance: Dedicated resources ensure faster report rendering, data refreshes, and query execution, even with large datasets.
  • Large Data Volumes: Supports handling massive data volumes without size limitations, enabling comprehensive analysis of extensive datasets.
  • Concurrency Control: Allows more users to access and interact with reports simultaneously without performance degradation, enhancing user collaboration.
  • Paginated Reports: Enables creation of pixel-perfect, printable reports for structured and formatted data presentation.
  • Advanced AI and ML: Unlocks advanced AI and machine learning capabilities for sophisticated data analysis and insights.
  • Enterprise-Grade Security: Offers enhanced security features, including Azure AD integration and encryption, ensuring data protection and compliance.
  • Dedicated Capacity: Provides dedicated resources for consistent performance and resource availability, crucial for mission-critical applications.
  • Custom Visuals and Dataflows: Allows leveraging custom visuals and dataflows at scale, enhancing visualization and data preparation capabilities for comprehensive analytics solutions.

How do you use Power BI Templates?

Power BI Templates (.pbit files) are pre-designed report files containing the structure, visuals, and data models without the actual data. To use templates, open them in Power BI Desktop, connect to your data source, and load the data. Templates ensure consistency across reports and save time by reusing design elements and settings.

What is the use of the Power BI Publisher for Excel?

The Power BI Publisher for Excel is a tool that allows users to integrate Power BI reports and datasets directly into Excel workbooks.

  • Embed Power BI Elements: Integrates Power BI charts, tables, etc., directly into Excel workbooks.
  • Interactive Analysis: Allows dynamic data exploration and analysis within Excel.
  • Refreshable Data: Ensures data in Excel stays updated with changes made in the Power BI dataset.
  • Sharing Insights: Enables sharing of Excel workbooks containing Power BI elements for collaboration and insights.
  • Seamless Integration: Provides smooth integration between Power BI and Excel for enhanced data analysis and reporting capabilities.

How do you create a measure in Power BI?

To create a measure in Power BI, use the DAX formula language to define calculations based on your data. In Power BI Desktop, right-click on a table, select “New Measure,” and enter the DAX expression. Measures are used for aggregations and calculations, enabling dynamic data analysis and insights in reports.

How do you use the Power BI Marketplace?

The Power BI Marketplace, also known as AppSource, is a platform for finding and importing custom visuals, templates, and apps created by Microsoft and third-party developers. Access the marketplace through Power BI Desktop or Service, browse available items, and import them to enhance your reports and dashboards with additional functionality.

What are the types of data refresh in Power BI?

In Power BI, there are primarily two types of data refresh: scheduled refresh and on-demand refresh. 

Scheduled Refresh:

  • Automated: Data refresh occurs automatically based on a predefined schedule, such as daily, hourly, or weekly.
  • Data Sources: Supports refreshing data from various data sources, including databases, files, cloud services, and APIs.
  • Configuration: Users can set up scheduled refreshes in the Power BI Service, specifying the frequency and time of refresh, along with credentials for data source access.
  • Data Volume: Ideal for refreshing large datasets and maintaining up-to-date reports without manual intervention.

On-Demand Refresh:

  • Manual: Data refresh is initiated manually by users when needed, allowing for immediate updates to the dataset and reports.
  • Ad-Hoc Updates: Useful for scenarios where users require real-time or near-real-time data refreshes for immediate analysis or decision-making.
  • Interactivity: Available in both Power BI Desktop and Power BI Service, enabling users to refresh data on-demand directly within the report authoring or viewing environment.
  • Data Validation: Allows users to validate data changes or troubleshoot issues by refreshing data at specific points during report development or analysis.

How do you troubleshoot performance issues in Power BI?

Troubleshoot performance issues in Power BI by analyzing and optimizing DAX queries, reducing data model complexity, managing relationships efficiently, and minimizing the number of visuals on a report page. Use the Performance Analyzer tool in Power BI Desktop to identify slow queries and visuals, and apply best practices for performance tuning.

What is the use of Power BI Admin Portal?

The Power BI Admin Portal serves as a centralized management hub for administrators to oversee and manage various aspects of their organization's Power BI environment.

  • User Management: Administer user access, permissions, and licenses to ensure proper governance and security within the organization.
  • Tenant Settings: Configure organization-wide settings, usage metrics, and audit logs to maintain control and compliance across the environment.
  • Capacity Management: Monitor and manage capacities, including Premium and Embedded, to optimize performance and resource allocation efficiently.
  • Data Protection: Implement policies for data governance, privacy, and security, including data classification and information protection, to ensure compliance and data integrity.
  • App Workspace Management: Create, modify, and manage collaborative workspaces, facilitating content management and team collaboration within Power BI.
  • Gateway Management: Configure and manage data gateways to establish secure connections between on-premises data sources and Power BI Service.
  • Usage Monitoring: Track usage, performance metrics, and user activity to identify trends, optimize resources, and enhance the user experience effectively.