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Updating your bookmarks in Power BI... A pain about to be solved!

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

Probably one of the most annoying things about creating bookmarks is... updating them!

However, there is a trick that will make your life so much easier and the process a lot faster.

And the trick is...

GROUP YOUR VISUALS and always select the option "SELECTED VISUALS" when creating your bookmark

Let me get into the details now...

The steps you need to do for this technique are:

> Group the visuals/shapes in your report (create kind of reporting areas)

> Using the Selection Pane, select the groups you want the bookmark to be applied on

> Create a bookmark with the option "Selected Visuals" enabled

> When you want to update a bookmark e.g. adding an extra visual, just drag that new visual to the correct group in the Selection Pane

Let's go for a practical example, imagine the report below:

You want to switch between those two tabs "Line chart view" and "Bar chart view" so you only show either the line chart or the bar chart.

You create your buttons, your line chart and bar chart, and now it's time to create your bookmarks.

There are two ways to go about this, you can either go the "common" way, which is hiding/showing the visuals you want individually from the selection pane and creating a bookmark for All Visuals:

(Which will work to be honest, but will give you some problems if you want to change your bookmark later on)

Or, you can go the smart way, which is grouping your visuals first!

I think you can already see why grouping your visuals will make your life so much easier when creating bookmarks. This way, you can select the entire group in the Selection Pane and hide/show multiple visuals with just one click. How cool is that?

I can't measure how much time this hack of grouping the visuals for bookmarks saved me so far, but it was a lot!

And of course, everything looks way more organised when you have your visuals grouped.

The next trick is to choose "Selected Visuals" instead of "All visuals" when creating your bookmark:

So, we have our visuals grouped, our bookmarks created using the "Selected visuals" option, now we want to add an extra visual to each view. Let's add a KPI below each chart, and see what happens to our bookmarks:

Yep, the new visuals are not really behaving as expected, but if you use bookmarks you already knew this was going to happen.

Now you would probably go to your Selection Pane and redo the bookmarks again, which is so annoying specially if you have loads of bookmarks and visuals, this can become a nightmare task.

However... Because we grouped our visuals and used the option "Selected Visuals" when creating our bookmarks, this task will be so much easier.

The thing is, when you group visuals and use that group in your bookmark, what the bookmark will save is the group, it doesn't matter if you add more visuals to that group after the bookmark was created, it will still have the correct behavior.

Don't believe me? Check the trick below and see for yourself! This is the best hidden gem about bookmarks ever:

Yes, you saw it right! To update the bookmarks I just had to drag the visuals to the correct group in the Selection Pane, and the bookmark magically updated to show the correct visuals!

The reason I chose "Selected Visuals" instead of "All visuals" is because I want the bookmark to take a "screenshot" only to the area were I'm doing the switching. In this case we had only 2 charts and 2 KPIs, but if you have 10 charts and just want to switch between two of them, it's a lot better to build a bookmark that is only going to work for those visuals you want, not all the visuals in the page.

If you don't choose the "Selected visuals" option and you have multiple bookmarks in the same page, the entire process of creating and updating them will become a lot harder because you have to make sure every visual in the page shows/is hidden correctly in the bookmarks. With the "Selected visuals" option, you only need to worry about a group of visuals and make sure that group is working correctly in your bookmark, and not everything that is being displayed on the page.

And again, when we were creating the bookmark, we selected the group and not the individual visuals, meaning that everything in that group will be hidden/show, it doesn't matter if you add visuals later because the bookmark was applied at group level and not visual/chart level.

If you have a lot of bookmarks and visuals to group, you have to be smart with your groupings still, but if you do it right and use this technique, it will save you hours of your time updating bookmarks, believe me!

This is honestly the best visualization trick I found in Power BI lately.

Interested in learning more about Power BI Report Design? Then the Power BI Report Design Bootcamp is for you!

4,268 views1 comment

1 Comment

Oct 27, 2022

If we group visuals then can we still create different bookmarks with different groups of visuals.


You have a button with bookmark to change between bar chart and treemap

You have another bookmark to replace a KPI card with a trending chart

Would that be possible? (Would we be able to create multiple groups and add visuals to multiple groups?)

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