How to Use Tooltips in Power BI to Enhance Your Workflow

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

Have you tried hovering your mouse over a data point on a Power BI visual?

Did you see a little box pop up filled with contextual information and detail?

In Power BI, that’s called a tooltip.

And it’s possible for you to create a tooltip and customize it.

In this article, we’ll show you how to use tooltips in Power BI to enhance your workflow and impress your audience.

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 Tooltips

Using a tooltip is a great way to sneak in more contextual information and detail about a data point.

It’s especially useful especially with charts where knowing the exact values from the legends and labels alone is almost impossible.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

In Power BI, as soon as you create a visualization, a tooltip is also added.

By default, it only shows the data point’s value and category.

Check out the area chart similar to the one shown below found on Microsoft’s free retail analysis sample “District Monthly Sales” report:

Then, try hovering your mouse over a random data point.

A tooltip of a random data point on an area chart

That nice little box you see is a tooltip. In the next section, we’ll show you how you can add more information to that box.

Creating a Customized Tooltip

To add another information on your tooltip, all you have to do is add a field on the ‘Tooltips’ bucket.

For example, the current tooltip houses 2 fields:

  • This year sales
  • Last year sales

In addition, you would also like to know in a glance the ‘Gross Margin This Year’.

Drag its field from the fields pane to the tooltips bucket on the visualizations pane.

And voila! 😀 Try hovering your mouse over the same point as you did earlier. Do you see the new information added?

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto
Adding a new tooltip to an area chart

Awesome!

Customizing The Tooltips

It’s also possible to customize the tooltips in Power BI.

Unfortunately, it’s not that much.

To customize the tooltip, right-click a field inside the ‘Tooltips’ bucket. You could also click on the down arrow inside the field box.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

For example, right-clicking ‘This Year Sales Goal’ will bring out different options:

  • Remove field
  • Rename
  • Move
  • Move to
  • Show value as

Another field — ‘Goals’ — was added so the ‘Move’ option would appear. This option allows you to either move up or down the field when shown on the tooltip.

The options you have when customizing a tooltip

What the options do are easy to understand.

If you’re using Power BI Desktop, you’ll see another option: ‘New quick measure‘.

A tooltip option unique only to Power BI Desktop

Clicking on it would open a window about quick measures.

Here, you can select a preset calculation, run it, and use the result as a tooltip.

In any case, see that the calculation you’re doing gives you the result that you would want to show in the tooltip.

Wrapping it up…

Tooltips in Power BI are a great way to enhance the experience when consuming content. There’s no need to know the dataset behind the reports if you could see the details you need on a certain data point.

When creating a tooltip, make sure that the fields you are adding are important and relevant. Your consumers will appreciate it more if you would be able to give them important pieces of information about the visual.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto