How to Add a Slicer in Power BI

To add a slicer in Power BI, follow these easy steps: 

  1. Navigate to the report page where you want to add the slicer.
  2. Select the Slicer icon in the Visualizations pane.
  3. Choose the field you want to use for filtering from the Fields pane.
  4. Resize and position the slicer on the canvas.
  5. Select values in the slicer to filter your report visuals. 

Slicers vs. Other Filtering Options 

Imagine you want your report readers to explore sales data by district manager, time frame, and other factors. Here’s how slicers compare to alternatives: 

  • Separate Reports/Charts: Creating multiple reports or charts can be cumbersome.
  • Filters Pane: Filters can be less intuitive and require opening menus.
  • Slicers: Slicers provide a user-friendly way to filter data directly on the report canvas. 

When to Use Slicers 

Slicers are ideal for: 

  • Displaying frequently used filters for easy access. 
  • Highlighting the current filter state without drop-down menus. 
  • Filtering by hidden data columns. 
  • Creating focused reports with slicers next to relevant visuals. 

Limitations of Slicers 

  • Slicers don’t support input fields or drill-down options. 

Creating a Basic Slicer (Using the Retail Analysis Sample) 

This guide uses the free Power BI Retail Analysis Sample to demonstrate slicer creation. There are separate instructions for Power BI Desktop and Service: 

  • Download the Sample (Desktop): Open Power BI Desktop and navigate to File > Open report. Select the downloaded Retail Analysis Sample PBIX file and open it in Report view. 
  • Use the Built-in Sample (Service): In Power BI Service (app.powerbi.com), select Learn in the left navigation pane. Under Sample reports, find the Retail Analysis Sample and open it in Edit mode. 

 

Common Steps (Desktop & Service): 

  1. With a new slicer selected, choose the field to populate it from the Fields pane (e.g., District Manager). 
  2. Resize and drag the slicer on the canvas to position it effectively. 
  3. Select slicer items to see how they filter other visualizations on the page. 

 

Controlling Slicer Interactions 

By default, slicers on a page affect all other visuals on that page. You can use visual interactions to: 

  • Exclude Specific Visuals: For instance, you might want a chart showing overall trends to remain unfiltered by slicer selections. 
  • Edit Interactions (Desktop): Select a slicer, then go to the Format ribbon and choose Edit interactions. Choose “None” for visuals you don’t want the slicer to filter. 
  • Edit Interactions (Service): Select a slicer and choose Visual interactions from the menu. Turn on Edit interactions and select “None” for specific visuals. 

 

Filtering Slicers 

You can apply visual level filters to limit the values displayed in a slicer. This doesn’t affect the filtering applied to other visuals when you make selections. 

 

Formatting Slicers 

Formatting options vary depending on the slicer type. Here are some common examples: 

  • Style: Choose between Vertical list (default), Tile (buttons), or Single value. 
  • Sort: Sort slicer items by ascending or descending order. 
  • Background color: Apply background colors to slicer items, especially useful with Tile style. 
  • Responsive layout: Make slicer items resize for different screen sizes (available for Tile and Numeric Range slicers). 
  • Selection controls: Enable “Select all” to select/deselect all items at once. Activate “Single select” to limit selections to one item at a time. 
  • Title options: Edit or hide the slicer title text. 

 

Looking for other tips from our Power BI Development Experts 

 

Hire a Power BI Developer 

For building interactive dashboards and reports that leverage the power of slicers, consider hiring a Power BI developer. Contact one of our Power BI Consultants today to learn more!