R Visualizations Now Available in Microsoft Power BI

R Language in Power BI

The R language is now in the visualizations pane of Power BI


Well, this is exciting–Power BI, which is part of the Office 365 E5 suite, now supports reports and dashboards with R visuals. The new R visuals are fully integrated into Power BI service reports and can be filtered, cross filtered and pinned to dashboards. This underlying R language does not need to understood by the Power BI users viewing the dashboards.

How are the Visuals Created?

Authoring of R visuals can be done in Power BI Desktop, then published to the Power BI service. Authors will notice that in the Visualizations Pane, there is an R icon they can select. After inserting this R visual type on the report canvas, the author can then drag data into the values fields and paste the R script into the R script editor pane. Once this is done, the new report containing these R visuals must be published to the Power BI service.

Generating R visuals can be pretty simple. In the photo below, notice the correlation plot only requires a single line of R code: corrplot(M).


R visuals report in Power BI

A single line of R code displays a correlation plot


Check out an R script user visit prediction visual compared to actual visits in this example:


R Predicted values in Power BI

R script prediction of user visits over time compared to actual visits


For the most part, R visuals behave like any other visual in the Power BI service—users can filter, slice, and pin them to a dashboard to share them. One difference to note is that R visuals cannot be used to filter other visuals.

If you feel like toying with R visuals in Power BI, Microsoft has actually made a sample Power BI Desktop file (.pbix file) available to allow users to experiment.

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