How to Use the Included Sample Data in Power BI (+Examples)

Written by co-founder Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist.

Microsoft (and Obvience) prepared data samples you can use in Power BI. 

This is good news for first-time users as well as for others who would like to test out Power BI but don’t have any dataset at hand.

But where can you find the samples in Power BI? What types of samples are there? How do you use one?

In this article, you’ll learn about the data samples in Power BI and how you can get them.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Let’s get started! 🤦‍♂️

*This tutorial is for Power BI Online (also called "Power BI Service"). If you have Power BI Desktop, then click here and go to the online version.

Introduction to Power BI Sample Data

If you’re new to Power BI and want to try out, you can use a sample data from Microsoft.

Available sample data in Power BI

Data samples are in content packs which are bundles of dashboards, datasets, and reports.

These samples are also available as downloadable Excel workbook or as PBIX file from Microsoft’s Power BI Documentation.

There are 8 sample data you can get:

  • Customer Profitability Sample
  • Human Resources Sample
  • IT Spend Analysis Sample
  • Opportunity Analysis Sample
  • Procurement Analysis Sample
  • Retail Analysis Sample
  • Sales and Marketing Sample
  • Supplier Quality Analysis Sample
Before we go through the steps in getting the sample data, remember that the samples are for illustration only and are fictitious and are shared solely to demonstrate Power BI functionality.
Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

How to Get Sample Data in Power BI Service

The sample data within the Power BI service are only available in content pack formats.

To get a sample data in Power BI service, click ‘Get data’ or its icon on the lower-left corner:

Then, click the ‘Samples’ link on the bottom part:

Power BI will then show you the available samples you can get.

Simply click on the one you would like to use.

For example, let’s use the “Retail Analysis Sample” by clicking on it:

Lists of Power BI samples

Power BI will prompt you with a little description of the sample as well as if you would like to connect the sample.

Click ‘Connect’ to continue:

Click ‘Connect’ on the sample data prompt

After Power BI successfully loads the sample data, you’ll then be brought to its dashboard along with a notification if you would like to view the dataset.

Congratulations! You can now explore Power BI’s features by using this sample data — create another dashboard or report or even experiment with slicers in Power BI.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

How to Get Sample Data in Power BI Desktop

Getting sample data in Power BI Desktop is also easy. However, the steps aren’t the same as doing it in Power BI Service.

Here’s why:

In the online version, all you have to do is connect with the sample data. There’s no need to download anything or visit another web page.

But in Power BI Desktop, you have to visit the online Power BI documentation and download your preferred sample data.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Fortunately, there’s no need for you to remember any links or whatsoever.

On the Power BI Desktop, click ‘Help’ from tab list above the ribbon:

Then, click ‘Samples’ on the ribbon under the ‘Community’ group:

Your default browser will take you to the documentation page with the list of available sample data you can download as a PBIX file.

Click on the sample data you would like to download.

For example, click the first one — “Retail Analysis Sample PBIX” to download it:

Download the PBIX file of retail analysis sample

After saving the file on your computer, go back to the Power BI Desktop to open the file.

Click ‘File’ on the tab list and select ‘Open’:

Opening a file on Power BI desktop

Now, find where you saved the file and open it.

Your sample data is now open on your Power BI Desktop.

You can now use the sample data to experiment with Power BI Desktop and what you can do with it.

Power BI Service and Power BI Desktop may both be Power BI tools but there are features that only one of them can do.

Conclusion

As you can see, it’s easy to get sample data with either Power BI Service or with the desktop version. Though some of the steps are different, the process is simple.

It’s really nice for Microsoft and Obvience to prepare sample data for Power BI. You don’t have to rack up your brain or your files just so you can have a sample data to test and experiment with Power BI.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto