Thursday, 25 January 2018

Power BI - Bookmarking feature update (December 2017)

In an earlier post we explained and showed you how to use the new bookmarking feature (October 2017 update) through an example combining a chart and related information of this chart. Besides that, you can also use bookmarks to switch between two charts in the same area in your report page. Unfortunately, this had its limitations: passing filters and multiple toggles. What has changed in the bookmarking functionality that makes it more user-friendly to use?

Bookmark updates December 2017

Old situation
Shortly after the release in October, we implemented bookmarks at our customer. We used two different charts in the same area in a report page to let our users look at the data from two perspectives, without making a new page or report. This is one of the great benefits of using bookmarking.

Unfortunately we quickly realize that this is a nice added functionality, but still has its limitations. In this post we will show you two examples: the passing of selected filters to another bookmark and multiple toggle buttons in one page.

Example 1: passing of selected filters
The selected filter in one bookmark doesn't work on the other bookmark when you switch from chart. If you select year 2016 in the first bookmark (with the first chart) and clicking on the button for the other bookmark (the second chart), the second chart will show all the data instead of only 2016.

Old - Filters not applying other bookmarks

Example 2: multiple toggle buttons
Multiple buttons in one report page to switch between charts doesn't work. When you have two toggle buttons (left and right area) where you want to switch charts: clicking toggle button number two on the right also effects the button (and the chart) on the left.

Old - Multiple toggle buttons doesn't work

As mentioned before, there are some updates related to the bookmark feature. These will solve the two examples in the old situation we described earlier. With this update, they also give you the ability to create a bookmark with a cross-highlighting state of your report. Before, cross-highlighting was not included as part of a bookmark and you could only save the entire state of a report (without selected filters, selected bar in a chart etc.). Now everything that is in your report can be saved as a part of a bookmark.

For now we will focus on solving the problems in the two examples described earlier about filtering and multiple toggle buttons in one report page.

Create the Report (images)
First, make sure you have the latest Power BI Desktop version. If you are using Power BI Desktop from the Microsoft Store, it updates automatically. Otherwise you can download the latest version of Power BI Desktop here.

The starting point in both reports is the same report from an earlier post. In example 1 we created a new chart on the same spot in the left corner of the chart 'Total Sales and Profit per Month'. We added a toggle button above the chart where you can switch between those two charts. In example 2 on a new report page we also added a new chart on in the right upper corner of the chart 'Total Sales and Profit per State'. We also use a toggle button here. Now we have have two toggle buttons on the same report page.

We created the toggle buttons by our own using Google images and then customized them with Paint.NET. For the text before the buttons, we used the custom visual 'Long Text Viewer'. You can download it here (it is not available in the store).

Result example 1
With this update you now have three categories of types of stuff to save in a bookmark: data (slicers, filters, cross-highlighting etc.), display (hiding visual, spotlight etc.) and current page (which page is related to the bookmark). You can turn these categories on and off by the settings of a bookmark.

New - Turn items on and off

To fix the problem from example 1, you have to uncheck the data category for both bookmarks (charts) which are involved with the toggle button. Now it only effects the buttons and the charts.

New - Selected filters effects other bookmark

Result example 2
Besides those new three categories, there is another option available: Selected Visuals (default is All Visuals). You will find this option below the categories.

New - Selected visuals

To fix the problem from example 2, we use this Selected Visuals. As said before, by default it will bookmark the entire page, but now you can select the visuals (charts, buttons etc.) that you want to include in the bookmark. First, we select all the visuals related to the left toggle button (black and off). You need to repeat this for the left toggle button, but now for all the visuals when this button is on (grey). Repeat this for the toggle button on the right and by the end there are four bookmarks. Do not forget to configure 'Link' in each bookmark for making both buttons work. Finally, select Selected Visuals for all those four bookmarks. To be clear: it seems simple, but it is meticulous work!

Below you will find the making of this solution.

By creating a bookmark with Selected Visuals, note the following:
  • Make sure you do not have a bookmark selected when creating a new one. Otherwise it will overwrite this bookmark with the new selected visuals. You can only deselect the bookmark by making an image visible/hidden.
  • After creating the bookmark with selected visuals, you cannot see which visuals are related to this bookmark. They are no longer marked in gray. 
  • You cannot give the visuals a name. In case of multiple toggle buttons you have at least four times a visual called 'image'. By place them in order you can distinguish them.  
You can download the entire Power BI report with all the examples here.

In this post you saw how the new updates related to the bookmark feature gives you more flexibility to creating bookmarks. Not all the technical changes are difficult (check or uncheck), but this is a huge update that will eliminates uncertainties and confusion among our users.

Unfortunately, there are still some updates needed to make it more user friendly to build/maintain the bookmarks. For example the opportunity to give the visuals a name or show which visuals are related to a bookmark (in case of selected visuals).

If you want more information about creating bookmarks in the first place (the basic), click here.


  1. Thanks for this post, there is very little on the internet about selected visuals, so this has been helpful.

    One thing I would like to note that will be helpful in the ease of creation. Is that you are able to name any visualisation, text field, image etc - if you add a 'title' and then turn off the title. the name will be saved.

    Great Job


  2. Hi Trystan,

    Thank you for your comment!

    Yes now I know that is a good trick, but I was not aware of it during the making. I already mentioned it on the Power BI forum:

    Thanks anyway!

    Kind regards,

  3. Hello,

    Thank you for you post; however, I uncheck the data option(for situation like yours), and now my bookmark is not working at all. Seems like there is no bookmark. Any idea?

    Thank you again

  4. Hay great explanation can I get pbix file

  5. Setting a title of the visual enables a meaningful visual name in bookmarks panel.


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