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Power BI: Creating an Info Button with UNICHAR()

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Reports are only as useful as they are easily understandable. When making reports for executives and other business leaders, it is vital to ensure the context and insights of the report are easy to understand at a glance. As cultivators of data, we have a responsibility to make sure it is used and interpreted correctly otherwise data can quickly be used to come to incorrect conclusions. When users don’t understand data, they often distrust any data-driven decisions and go back to using instinct to make important business decisions.

While it’s important to give context to reports, the method of doing so may seem cumbersome. Some options include explaining the report to every new user or taking up valuable report space with explanations and contexts. For end user experience, it’s often best to replicate something they are already familiar with like a webpage. Many websites contain options for giving additional details to curious end users, typically they signal these resources with an “i” or information icon. We can replicate that functionality in Power BI by using UNICHAR characters and a hidden page.

The steps below will walk through how to add an information icon to the report, making a tooltip page containing your additional information, and enabling the tooltip to allow users to hover over the icon and see the information.

1. Make the following measure in your measures table:
Info Button = UNICHAR(128712)

2. Create a card visual and add this measure to it. You’ll see the following icon:

3. Create an additional page with a text box containing your additional information.

4. Hide this information page and configure it to be used as a tooltip. You may also want to resize it so that when users view it as a tooltip on the info icon it will cover the entire report. To hide the page, right click on the page name and select “Hide Page”. To get to the page configurations, you’ll need to select a blank section of the page (this avoids any visual configuration settings) and select the format paint brush. For resizing, I recommend setting it as a custom type then adjusting your pixels until it nearly fits your text box. Note: it will automatically align top left, so it’s best to align your text box to top left so as you resize you don’t lose your text box.

5. Add this info page as a tooltip for the card visual containing the info button. To do this, you’ll need to select your card visual, go to the format pane, and turn tooltips on. Once tooltips are on, you can select the type of report page then select the page that you made earlier with your additional information.

Now when you hover over the icon, the tooltip will display your additional information. In the example below, I’ll mess with the pixels more on the info page until it’s the appropriate size for the amount of information I want to convey.

And that’s all there is to it! One valid alternative to this is to make a bookmark that would lead end users to the information page. Personally, I prefer this tooltip method so end users do not lose their place within the report and it is small enough to be put on every page of the report.

Feel free to check out the PBIX used for this blog post in the Data On Wheels GitHub Repo.

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