Introduction to Power BI Q&A

Note   This article applies to the previous Power BI experience (commonly called Power BI for Office 365), and not to the new Power BI experience. Try the new Power BI. Read more about migrating from Power BI for Office 365 to the new Power BI.

Discover. Visualize. Explore. Interact.

We’re working to improve Q&A, and will continue to update and refine our documentation as we develop the Q&A service and add new features.  If you find errors or have other feedback on the documentation, please let us know!

What is Power BI Q&A?

Use natural language queries to find answers in your own data. Start with a question, and have fun traveling through your data refining or expanding your question, uncovering trust-worthy new information, zeroing in on details and zooming out for a broader view. You’ll be delighted by the insights and discoveries you make.

Power BI Q&A presents your answers in the form of visualizations. As you type a question, Power BI Q&A picks the best visual to display your answer; and the visual changes dynamically as you modify the question.

The experience is truly interactive…and fast! Powered by an in-memory storage, response is almost instantaneous.

See it in action.

Q&A has two components

There are two parts to Q&A.  The first part is the "modeling."  The second part is the "consuming." 

In some companies, employees known as Data Modelers or IT Admins may be the ones to assemble the data into workbooks, create the Power Pivot data models, and publish the workbooks to the Power BI for Office 365 site.  While a second set of employees may be the ones to "consume" the data online.  In other companies, these roles may be combined.

The Help topics are split into:

Excel experience

It all starts with the enterprise data you already have in Excel, or that can be pasted or imported into an Excel workbook.  In each of those workbooks, create a Power Pivot model with the data and tune it to work with Q&A. The better the model, the easier it will be for users to navigate the data. When the model is ready, upload the workbook to an Office 365 Power BI site. After uploading, create some featured questions to help users get started querying the data. 

Online experience

On the Power BI site, users will see all the available workbooks as well as the featured questions.  Users can jump right in by clicking one of the featured questions or can open Q&A to ask their own natural language questions.  When a question is asked, Q&A searches across all enabled workbooks to find the best answer. A user can also “pin” a workbook to get answers from only one workbook.  

Prerequisites, installation, and setup

Excel experience

The ability to add synonyms to data models is automatically enabled in Power Pivot for Excel 2013 Professional Plus. If you have a Preview version of Excel, you will be prompted to upgrade.

Online Office 365 experience

Power BI Q&A is added to your Office 365 site as part of the Power BI app.

See Also

Q&A Forums

Read about Q&A on the Power BI blog to hear directly from the product team

Power BI - Getting Started Guide

Power Pivot for Excel

Power View

Applies To: Power BI, Excel 2013

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