Q&A (Natural Query Language) is by far one of the features that I find really gives the WOW factor when showing people the capabilities of Power BI. And in my opinion
it is awesome.

So I thought I would give a quick blog post in terms of how best you can leverage this, and hopefully also enable you to be able to WOW people.

The aim of this blog post is to show you how to quickly see and understand how use the WOW features in Q&A

Asking Q&A Questions relating to dates or times

The one thing that I think a lot of people do not realize that Q&A is aware of dates and times.

And by that I mean that Q&A knows when you mean today, it is today’s current date.

It’s always easiest to show with an example.

As you can see above I have asked the question what is my total revenue for today. (Where today’s date is 08 November 2016)

The thing here to take note of is that I do not have anything in my model that defines what “Today” is. Q&A is smart enough to know that today’s date is 08 November 2016.

But the WOW factor is that when you pin the above Q&A question to your dashboard, it will always show the revenue for your current day or date. (NOTE: As long as you are scheduling a refresh of your data)

So what this means is that this particular dashboard tile will always show “Today’s” data without having to go and do any actual filtering or altering of any existing reports. I personally think that for people on the go, they just want to have the ability to have a quick glance at how things are doing without having to interact or filter their dashboard tiles. And this gives them that capability!

And to make it even better, you could then add an Alert, so that when the value is too high or too low, you will automatically get an alert. This makes your dashboard give your dashboard better insights, but also makes it proactive, instead of being reactive.

Other related date or times that you can use

The other dates that I have used in the past are the following:

  • Today
  • Yesterday
  • This Week, Last Week
  • This Month, Last Month
  • This Year, Last Year

As well as time related features

  • Right now
  • Past Minute, Past (x) Minutes
  • Past Hour, Past (x) Hours

Modify your Q&A Question if it is not answering as expected

The other thing that I have found is that whilst Q&A is very good at getting it right, sometimes due to your data, it can be difficult, or not answer the question in the way that you  require.

But the Microsoft Power BI Team has done some great work, and if you are not aware when asking a Q&A question, you do have the ability to actually change what it is inputting into the fields in the Visualizations.

Once again best to show with an example.

I was asking the question as shown below.

Now what I wanted to do, was to rather have the Industry as the Legend and Product on the Axis, and have it as a Treemap visual. (Yes I am aware that I might have been able to change the order around, but it is to illustrate the example)

Now if you look to the right hand side of the screen you will see the Visualizations, Filters & Fields, click on the arrows to expand the fields.

And once done that you now will see the following below.

And now you can manually change your fields, as well as your visualizations to how you want it to look.

As with my example I swopped around the Industry and Product, and then changed the Visualization to a Treemap

So once done my Q&A question now looked like the following below.

I then took this and pinned it to my dashboard.

As you can see in doing it this way, it makes it very easy to get the desired result.


As you can see there are multiple ways to use Q&A as well as to create that WOW factor, and really get people excited about using Power BI.

Finally if you want to view the Q&A tips blog post, please see the link below. It is well worth the read.

Tips for asking questions in Power BI Q&A