PowerBi – Making a Navigation Pane

WithYouWithMe - November 10, 2021
Sometimes we want uniformity in our dashboards...

We want all our pages to have a common theme or useability that the customer or end-user can rely on. For me, I like my Dashboards to have a central Navigation Pane that allows the users to not only move through the different Dashboards but also provides a common slicing selection that can be used for most of my dashboards. Of course, there may be times where we need to alter this common pane to accommodate for different visualizations or slicing options, but for the most part the same structure can be used to great effect. 

To get started, create slicers for each filter selection you would like the end-user to be able to filter by. It’s important to note as well that if something I want to Slice against exists in both the Fact Table and the Dimension Table I will take it from the Dimension Table. The general rule that we want to follow is to almost always slice Facts against Dimensions. 

The slicers will make the basis of the Filter Header. 

Next, we need to construct the navigation pane that will house these slicers. I like to choose a basic setup of Navigation Arrows, one for going back one page and the other for going forward a page, a custom “Home” button and a “Q&A” button to allow the end user to ask questions directly of the data. These buttons are then placed on top of a text box to include the title of the page. If you lose your slicers behind the textbox, don’t worry we’ll cover how to edit Layer Order shortly. You may choose to go a different route, what I have found is there are a million different ways to accomplish the same task in Power Bi. If you choose not to have Navigation arrows that is ok, do what you feel will provide the required level of functionality for your dashboard. 

To create the custom “Home” button, simply navigate to Add a button and select a Blank button. This is quite a useful option as you can create a button with a custom image that is linked to an action within the dashboard. 

To link this newly created button to an action, click on the button and go to the Format button pane, the second last option is Action. 

 When the user clicks this button they will be taken to the PowerBi page titled “Home Page”. 

Now a bit of housekeeping

Adding some labels to the navigation arrows and changing the background to match that of the text box. 

Next, we need to change the slicer types to best fit in the navigation pane. In doing so I will also alter the year selector to only show the last 4 years as this data will be most relevant. 

Dropdowns for most of the selections will make for a clean easy to use solution, with buttons for the Years to add some variety. 

Now the issue we face is that the dropdowns have disappeared behind the yellow text box as seen below.  

This can be remedied by changing the Layer Order. This is found under the ‘View’ tab and ‘Selection’. 

Under this Selection menu, we can change the layering order of the elements we have within the Dashboard. We want to move the text box containing the title to the back and move the dropdowns to the front. This is done by clicking and dragging the elements in the side menu into the desired order. 

All that is left to do is to group all the navigation pane elements together to allow us to easily duplicate this to be able to copy and use this on our other dashboard pages. To do this in the Selection side menu select all elements of the navigation pane, group them and name the group to distinguish it from any other groups we may create in the future. 

We now have a complete Navigation Pane that we can utilize throughout the dashboard as we see fit. The Selection and Grouping functions are useful tools that can be mastered to create intricate, multi-layered dashboards and can save you a mountain of time when wanting to re-use large parts of a dashboard across the Power BI file or files. 
I hope you have learnt something new or improved your skills in Power Bi by reading this article. As always feel free to reach out on Discord if you have any questions or want to chat about Data. 

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