A first look at “Visualize the list” in Microsoft Lists

Microsoft is rolling out a new Power Platform integration for Microsoft Lists called Visualize the list. This latest addition creates an auto-generated Power BI report based on the underlying list schema. The auto-generated report provides an excellent starting point for users not proficient with Power BI. In this blog post I will show how to get started with Visualize the list and offer some Power BI tips as I go along. For the purposes of this article I will be referencing an updated version of the Issue tracker template.

Getting started

To create the auto-generated report, click Integrate > Power BI > and then select Visualize the list.

To create the auto-generate report, click Integrate > Power BI > and then select Visualize the list.

Our initial report is shown in the image below. Power BI has created two measures for use within the report:

  • Count of rows (A) is a default measure that is included with all auto-generated reports.
  • Days Old (B) is a number column and is automatically converted to a sum measure. Any number columns would be given the same treatment by Power BI.
  • Choice columns like Priority and Status (C) are included as counts in the Quick summary section and provide different perspectives on the same data.
  • Date columns like Date reported (D) and Due Date are automatically converted into a date hierarchy where report users can group, filter and drill up or down from Year > Quarter > Month > Day.
Default auto-generated report

The initial report is highly interactive and can be dynamically updated by selecting any of the measures and attributes listed in the Your data pane. As an example, if I am more interested in Count of rows and not Days Old I would simply select Count of rows and de-select Days Old. The “Sum of Days Old by Status” changes to “Count of Issue tracker by Status”.

Your data pane.

Add Tooltips

You can add more contextual information to the data visualizations by adding Tooltips. Tooltips are supplemental measures that display on mouse hover. To do so:

  • Click Personalize this visual.
Personalize this visual
  • Click Add a new field under Tooltips.
Tooltips a new field
  • Select your desired measure. In my case I am adding Days Old.
Add a new measure as a tooltip

When I hover over the values shown in my updated chart I see the Days Old measure added to the tooltip. When used conservatively this is a great way to add value to the report experience.

Tooltips added to the mouse hover experience

Modify Attributes

You can modify the attributes of an existing data visualization to help tell the story of your data. In the sample image below, I want to change the visual to see how many issue are assigned to each person.

Sample image that we will change the attributes on.
  • Click Personalize this visual (A).
  • Change Axis to Person or group the issue is assigned to (B).
  • Change Values to Issue (C). This will automatically convert to a count measure.
  • Add Days Old (D) as a Tooltips.
  • Click X (E) to exit.
Personalize the data visualization

The updated data visualization is shown in the image below.

Updated data visualization.

You can modify an existing data visualization type to make the information more consumable by the viewers. In the sample image below, I want to change the visual from a clustered bar chat to a donut chart.

Sample image that we will change the chart type.
  • Click Personalize this visual (A).
Personalize the data visualization

The updated data visualization is shown in the image below.

Updated data visualization.

Show Data Table

As good as data visualizations are sometimes its nice to have a tabular listing of the data to view the complete details. In the Visualize the list click the Show data table button and the data table is shown on the bottom of the report canvas.

Show data table

The nice thing about Power BI reports is the dynamic cross-filtering that occurs when you interact with the values in the data visualizations. In the image below I have click on my name and the rest of the report has filtered to show only my values.

Data table shown.

Publish to the list

Once you have finished customizing the default report you can save and publish it to the list for quick access. To do so:

  • Click Publish to list.
  • Provide a name. I.e. Issue Tracker.
  • Click Publish.
Publish to list experience.

Our report is now available from the Microsoft Lists Integrate menu under Power BI. The report will render in Power BI.

Integrate menu under Power BI.

Summary

The Visualize this list feature is a great way to build a “starter” report, especially for those without Power BI experience or with simple reporting needs. If you are familiar with Power BI Desktop you will find the experience quite familiar. I do wish there were more data formatting features for column types like dates. Be sure to try this feature with your lists, you might be surprised by the insights that it provides and the further analytic questions that it raises.

Thanks for reading!

NY

5 thoughts on “A first look at “Visualize the list” in Microsoft Lists

    1. Hi Jim,

      Thanks for those nice words. As far as I know, it is not supported with the Visualize this list feature. I tried this with the Power BI web-part in SharePoint and it did not work.

      Thanks for reading!

      NY

      Like

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