Power View: Using Slicers and Tiles

Previously I introduced what Power View is, how to enable it, and how easy it is to create awesome visualizations in just minutes. However, Power View offers so much more in terms of functionality for what you can do with your data, from just adding slicers to creating rich, colorful tiles that can be used to visually browse your data. In this blog post, I intend to show how to create slicer and tiles in your own Power View reports. For this demo, I’m going to use the AdventureWorks tabular database demo available on codeplex, connected to the Inventory perspective.


Slicers exist in Power View reports, exactly as they do in Excel. As an example, I’m going to use this chart as my base that I want to be able to report on, showing total units in inventory and the total inventory value by product class:




Now let’s say that I want to add Product Category as my slicer. I’m going to click on Product Category in the fields list on the right, and drag it into a new field list, as shown below:



Now we have the base we can use for our slicer. Unfortunately, it’s not automatically a slicer, we have to tell Power View that that’s what we want. If we just click on any Product Category right now, none of the other tables will update:




Up at the top in the Excel ribbon there is a button called “Slicer”. This will turn our list of Product Categories into the slicers that we want to see. Click anywhere in the Product Category table and then go up into the ribbon and find Slicer, then click it:



Once you click it, you’ll notice that each of the items in the Product Category list now have a little blue square next to them. This indicates that they’ve been turned into a slicer:




Click one and you’ll notice that now our table updates with each Product Category we select:




Nifty! However, there is something even more exciting in Power View, in a feature called tiles. Tiles allow you to create slicers, but to turn your slicer into something more visually compelling. To start, click on the Product Category name on the right hand side and delete it from your list, by selecting “Remove field”. Then click on the original report that we created to the left showing value by Product Class:




On the right hand side under the field list section, you’ll notice an empty area above the fields we’re using called “Tile By”. Find Product Category, and drag it into that section:




Now we can browse this particular section of the report by each category, with a nice rolo-dex style tile list at the top of the page. Additionally, if we wanted to change how our tiles look, we can go up to the “Tile Type” section in the ribbon and change it appropriately:




Changing this report to “Tile Flow” from “Tile Strip” changes our tile list to look like this:



What’s nice about the tile flow option is that you get the nice same functionality that the Power Pivot Carousel gallery in SharePoint gives you, so it’s very visually appealing to browse. Sweet!


In conclusion, if you want the ability to slice the entire report by a certain attribute, slicers are probably you’re better way to go, as they affect everything on the page. But if you just want the ability to change the parameter in a given “sub-report”, use tiles.


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