Testing the Attribute Slicer Power BI Visual

During the Day 1 Keynote of Data Insights Summit (#MSDataSummit), five (plus 1) new Power BI visuals have been introduced. The one that first got my attention was the Attribute Slicer visual. Exactly the functionality a customer requested in the last days – “Isn’t there an autocomplete filter in Power BI available?!”. At that meeting I had to answer with “no” but the Attribute Slicer looks perfect for this kind of filter scenario. But let’s see..

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Sample Data

I’ve prepared a small test table containing city and country names….

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… and imported the data into Power BI

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Download and Import Custom Visual

The Attribute Slicer visual is a custom visual published by Microsoft and available in the visual gallery at powerbi.com (http://visuals.powerbi.com). If you haven’t visited that site so far – take a look at all those great visualizations!

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The Attribute Slicer is currently in experimental state (as of 2016-03-23) but anyhow – I would like to see it in action! Therefore we need to download the pbiviz file and import it into Power BI Desktop.

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Import the custom visual file into Power BI Desktop:

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After the successful import you get a) the following message box..

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… and b) your visualization toolbox is enhanced by the newly imported visual.

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Usage of Attribute Slicer

For my upcoming tests I add a new instance of the Attribute Slicer visual to my report canvas and drag&drop the column CityName

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The visualization itself is divided into two parts: the input-textbox and the list of entries (based on your entered search term).

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Let’s try a simple one: I want to filter for entries starting with ‘B’

image -> works fine

BUT: when I enter a lowercase b – the results list is empty Sad smile.

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Based on the current available version I am not able to change the search functionality to be case insensitive – may a hint for @MSPowerBI to extend the functionality to either search case insensitive or add an option for the user to decide.

Back to the search results for cities starting with ‘B’ –> if you select an entry, this entry is added as a selected entry and the filter looks like this:

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You can add additional filter terms to the selected list (those entries are combined and the other visuals in your Power BI report are filtered accordingly).

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To conclude, the first version of the Attribute Slicer visuals works already fine. There is space for some improvements like a case sensitive / case insensitive option, the UI looks a little bit blurry, and some color choice could be maybe improved. But for the first (experimental) version – a very good start!

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Happy filtering!

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8 Responses to Testing the Attribute Slicer Power BI Visual

  1. Henrik L says:

    Great post, and it’s a very promising visual. I’m having a pretty annoying problem though – when I’m trying to search for an item in a table with 130K rows, the slicer only seems to find the top 50K or something like that. Is that a problem you can confirm? If I for example first filter the data on a different attribute, let’s say the item brand, then the slicer includes all items matching that brand. But without the filter on brand, it seems to just search the top 50K rows, which really sucks.

    Thanks again for your post!

    • francorg01 says:

      Hi, I can confirm it seems it loads only part of the available items.
      Like if it has a max cache size setting…
      It is even more evident using a SSAS live connection as source with data values associated to the filter field.

      Roberto

  2. francorg01 says:

    Great post.

    A very useful way to use visual slicer is to add values (for example sales amount). You immediately see how much every item sold. And if you show more than one slicer (product category, clients country, year, etc. ) you get immediate evidence of who/where/what/when are you selling.

    I hope Microsoft continues to update this visualization: sorting by data values, data values formatting, color options, …

  3. sohail says:

    Hi Sir,

    It would be great if you can enable the count values display in the visual. Thank you!

    Regards
    sohail

  4. Steve says:

    Good article. Thanks.

    I created a model with this visual but was a little disappointed to later find that, unlike the stock barchart, cannot find a setting to allow it to viaualise negative values.

    If you (or anyone else) could find a work-around, it would be most appreciated.

    Thanks

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